Canadian Premier League — Match #90 Cavalry FC vs. Forge FC October 9, 2019 — ATCO Field at Spruce Meadows (9 p.m. ET/7 p.m. MT) Watch Live: OneSoccer.ca
Less than a month before they meet in the CPL Finals, the top two clubs in the league will converge in Calgary this week for the first of two late Fall season clashes between Forge FC and Cavalry FC. With this pair of teams squaring off twice with the Fall title on the line, fans will be treated to a fascinating preview of what’s to come in Finals 2019.
These two sides have a fairly eventful history between them this year. Fans will remember a riveting Canadian Championship tie, which saw Forge midfielder Alexander Achinioti-Jonsson pull on the gloves to face a last-gasp penalty in leg one after goalkeeper Quillan Roberts drew a red card. The Cavs came out on top in that one, but Forge has had the upper hand in CPL meetings, with two wins to Cavalry’s one. Forge is the only club in the league to beat the Spring winners at Spruce Meadows, which is something they’ll hope to do again this week and in Finals 2019.
These sides will meet one more time in the Fall season as they shift back to Hamilton next Wednesday, October 16 (7:00 p.m. ET, on OneSoccer) for one last opportunity to feel each other out before their pivotal Finals contest. Forge will have one fixture in between, though, as they make a stop in York Region next Saturday to play York9 FC again (3:30 p.m. ET, on OneSoccer).
KEYS TO THE MATCH
Keep your head: These two clubs will have seen more than enough of each other come season’s end, with Finals 2019 set to be the eighth and ninth meetings between Forge and Cavalry. With familiarity comes animosity in soccer, though, and the teams that have dominated the rest of the CPL this year have had some incredibly heated matches as they jostled for supremacy. A total of 17 yellow cards, ,and one red card, have been dished out across their five meetings (all competitions). The problem though, is that poor discipline this late in the season could impact the Finals, with Forge’s Bertrand Owundi and Cavs’ Nathan Mavila both in danger of missing leg one should they see yellow this week.
Cards close to the vest: Both Forge and Cavalry have rotated their lineups significantly over the past few games. A lot of that stems from the coaches’ efforts to keep their players as fit as possible deep into this long season, but there’s also an element of mind games at play here. Neither side wants to reveal too much of their plan for neutralizing the other in the CPL Finals, so perhaps these two upcoming contests will feature significant trickery in squad rotation. It’ll also be a good opportunity for certain players on both sides to make a case for selection in those final lineups.
Own the middle: Depending on how the sides line up, this matchup could feature (arguably) the two best midfielders in the league butting heads, in Forge’s Kyle Bekker and Cavalry’s Julian Büscher. How those two deal with each other could be pivotal; York9 demonstrated on Sunday how Bekker can be shut down by pressuring him when he receives the ball (rather than strictly man-marking him), which is something Büscher certainly has in his toolbox. Bekker and whoever lines up beside him (Elimane Cisse and Alexander Achinioti-Jonsson, perhaps) will also need to take away Büscher’s forward passing options.
Cavalry FC: Marco Carducci; Dominick Zator, Mason Trafford, Joel Waterman, Nathan Mavila; Nik Ledgerwood, Julian Büscher; Nico Pasquotti, Sergio Camargo, Oliver Minatel; Dominique Malonga
Forge FC: Triston Henry; Dominic Samuel, David Edgar, Daniel Krutzen, Klaidi Cela; Elimane Cisse, Alexander Achinioti-Jonsson, Kyle Bekker; Chris Nanco, Anthony Novak, Marcel Zajac