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CanPL Island Games Week 2 Recap and Highlights: Valour FC impress early; 5 teams still seeking win No. 1

After an exciting first week, the Canadian Premier League’s Island Games are continuing to provide great entertainment over in Charlottetown, PEI.

Valour FC Head Coach Rob Gale during his side’s match versus Atletico Ottawa
Canadian Premier League/Chant Photography

BURLINGTON, Canada—After an exciting first week, the Canadian Premier League’s Island Games are continuing to provide great entertainment over in Charlottetown, PEI.

Cavalry FC lead the way again after week two, helped by two more wins and have all-but-secured a spot in the second round. They sit atop the standings with 10 points through four matches, two above second-place Forge FC. Perhaps surprisingly, Valour FC are in third with four points, while York9 FC round out the top four with three points after drawing all three of their matches thus far.

Only Cavalry (twice), Forge (twice) and Valour (once) have won a match thus far at The Island Games. Every club has drawn at least once, with York9 joining Cavalry and Forge as the only three clubs to remain unbeaten.

Here’s a breakdown of what went on in week two of the Island Games.

Day 4: Week 2 begins

The only game on day four, August 18th, was contested by Pacific FC and York9 FC.

It was Pacific FC who would have the best of the chances for the first sixty minutes or so, after Alessandro Hojabrpour headed a brilliant Marcel de Jong cross wide in the first half, and Marco Bustos and Victor Blasco missing chances just after the break.

Trying to add a spark to his side, Y9 Head Coach Jim Brennan brought on Michael Petrasso for his club debut, also bringing on former Real Madrid youth player Alvaro Rivero, and 10 minutes later, that substitution would prove to be a good one. After a long pass up the pitch, Rivero controlled the ball before firing it into the net for his first goal with the Nine Stripes, giving them the lead.

It looked as though York were going to take the three points, but a late equalizer from Pacific grabbed themselves a point. Lukas MacNaughton got a slight touch following a corner, beating Nathan Ingham, and tying the game, and the match would end 1-1.

Day 5: Valour crush the new kids on the block

There were two matches on Wednesday, with Valour FC playing Atletico Ottawa and HFX Wanderers taking on Forge FC.

The early game featured expansion side Ottawa taking on a Valour side looking to bounce back from a 2-0 defeat to Cavalry, and bounce back they did. Valour’s late onslaught saw them put four past their opponents in the biggest win of the season thus far.

After Milovan Kapor was sent off following a second yellow-card-worthy offence — Ottawa’s second red card in their first two matches — Fraser Aird opened the scoring for Valour from the penalty spot in the 65th minute, his first CPL goal. The floodgates were open, and the Winnipeg-based side would also add goals in the 78th, 91st and 92nd minutes, scored by Andrew Jean-Baptiste, Dylan Carreiro and Jose Galán,respectively.

It was a big win for Valour, and has them in third place going into week three.

The other match on Day 5 saw HFX Wanderers take on Forge FC.

Paolo Sabak gave The Hammers the lead from the penalty spot in the 16th minute, after HFX goalkeeper Jason Beaulieu ran over Kwame Awuah while going to punch the ball. It was a heavily-debated penalty call, but Sabak converted it and that was the end of that.

Immediately after half-time, Wanderers forward Akeem Garcia tied it up at 1-1. After a perfect through ball from Alex Marshall, Garcia ran onto the pass and calmly finished past Triston Henry, earning his side a point in a match that would end 1-1.

Day 6: ‘AL Classico’

On Thursday we saw the 6th edition of the AL Classico — the heated rivalry between FC Edmonton and Cavalry FC. FC Edmonton had never beaten Cavalry going into this match, and it would stay that way, as a pair of goals from Jordan Brown sealed a victory for the Cavs.

On the first goal, a brilliant cross from budding star Mohamed Farsi was deflected by Oliver Minatel, right into the path of Brown, who redirected it past Connor James to give his side the lead.

In the second half, on-loan Toronto FC II left back Terique Mohammed, who was having a decent match up to that point, was sent off for a reckless challenge on Farsi in the 49th minute, a straight red card.

The Eddies didn’t give up, managing to hold off Cavalry until the final moments of the match when they conceded a penalty, allowing Jordan Brown to pick up his second goal of the night and seal a 2-0 victory in the 5th minute of stoppage time.

Day 7: The champs and York9 stay undefeated

Two of the three Ontario-based teams were in action on Saturday, with York9 taking on Valour FC and Forge up against Pacific.

The earlier game featured The Nine Stripes, who after drawing their first two matches, were looking to pick up their first win of the season, and a Valour side coming off that impressive 4-0 victory over Ottawa.

The day didn’t start well for York9, who lost Michael Petrasso in the 37th minute. He was making his first start for the team after recently recovering from an injury, and making his debut off the bench in the previous match. Valour also lost a player through injury, as Brett Levis was forced out of the game in the second half.

This match was pretty uneventful, and ended 0-0, as neither side was conceding an inch to their opponents.

Forge FC vs Pacific FC was a bit more exciting, as a very, very late winner from Kyle Bekker sealed all three points for The Hammers in the other game on Saturday.

Forge, playing their fourth match in just 10 days, didn’t show their fatigue, as a Chris Nanco goal got his side off to a quick start, taking advantage of an error from Pacific goalkeeper Nolan Wirth. Eight minutes later, Jamar Dixon equalized, finishing from close range after the ball bounced around the box following a corner. The ball fell right to him, and he made no mistake.

Just when it seemed as though the match was going to end in a stalemate, some 97th minute magic from Mo Babouli, who is having a great start to the tournament, saw him make some space for himself before playing a low cross to Kyle Bekker. Bekker hit it first time, past Wirth and into the net, giving Forge the lead, and a victory, with just seconds remaining.

Day 8: Eddies comeback, Cavalry win again

Sunday was another big day for the Alberta-based sides, as both FC Edmonton and Cavalry FC picked up points in exciting fashion.

Up first, FC Edmonton were taking on Atletico Ottawa, and got off to a dreadful start as Francisco Acuna, Ottawa’s standout player so far this season, found the back of the net just 22 seconds into the match.

After Malcolm Shaw picked off a poor pass by Erik Zetterberg, Acuna closed in on goal and fired the ball into the net for his first Canadian Premier League goal. He’d also double the lead 14 minutes later with a perfect strike across goal that beat Connor James and into the bottom corner.

Ottawa looked as though they were going to pick up a 2-0 win for their first victory in club history, but with moments left in the match, The Eddies turned it all around. First, Keven Aleman found the back of the net in the 88th minute to make it interesting, but they weren’t done yet. With the clock counting down, Hanson Boakai sprinted through some defenders before picking up a loose ball and passing across to Easton Ongaro, who finished an easy tap-in, tying the game and earning a point.

FC Edmonton were also hit hard by the loss of the first captain in club history, Chris Kooy. He was 38 years old and lost a battle with cancer before the match, which hit everyone, including Head Coach Jeff Paulus, who gave an emotional interview after the match where he discussed Kooy’s ”passion, integrity and emotion”.

Finally, to finish off week two, Cavalry FC took on HFX Wanderers, looking to all-but-secure a spot in the second round of The Island Games. With a 2-1 victory, they did just that, giving them 10 points from four matches, two points above second-place Forge FC.

Nathan Mavila opened the scoring in the 29th minute with a long-distance effort from the wing that found the back of the net. Only Mavila can tell you if he meant it as a shot or a cross, but it ended up in the back of the net anyway.

HFX had a few good chances throughout the match but couldn’t take advantage of any, and Jordan Brown made it 2-0 for Tommy Wheeldon Jr’s men in the 90th minute.

The Wanderers would pull one back in the 92nd minute through Akeem Garcia, but Cavalry would hold on and pick up all three points.

Upcoming Schedule

Aug 25 - Tuesday — (8:00 pm EDT)

Pacific vs Valour

Aug 26 - Wednesday (1:00 pm EDT)

York9 vs Forge

Aug 26 - Wednesday (8:00 pm EDT)

Edmonton vs HFX Wanderers

Aug 27 - Thursday (8:00 pm EDT)

Atlético Ottawa vs Cavalry

Aug 29 - Saturday (12:00 pm EDT)

Valour vs Edmonton

Aug 29 - Saturday (3:00 pm EDT)

HFX Wanderers vs York9

Aug 30 - Sunday (12:00 pm EDT)

Cavalry vs Pacific

Aug 30 - Sunday (3:00 pm EDT)

Atlético Ottawa vs Forge