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CanPL Island Games Week 3 Recap and Highlights: Cavalry falter, while Pacific rise

We have a new leader atop the standings at The Island Games as we get into the final week of Stage 1 of the CanPL season. What’s going down?

Canadian Premieir League/Chant Photography

We have a new leader in the standings at The Island Games, as Forge FC overtook Cavalry this week after the Cavs lost twice in a row for only the second time ever.

FC Edmonton continue to struggle, and were officially eliminated on the weekend, but will look to finish the season strong and perhaps play a part in where other teams finish.

York9 remain the only unbeaten team left at The Island Games, currently with one win and four draws thus far.

As week 4 of The Island Games is set to start tonight with FC Edmonton looking for an upset against The Nine Stripes, here's what happened in week 3.


Day 9 — Pacific get in the win column

Pacific FC became the 4th team to win a match at The Island Games, beating Valour FC 2-0 on Tuesday, August 25 to kickoff week three.

Striker Alejandro Diaz opened the scoring with his first goal for The Tridents, in just the fourth minute. After an attempted clearance from on-loan Toronto FC defender Julian Dunn, Diaz fired home what would end up being the game winner.

Victor Blasco sealed the victory in the 83rd minute, scoring on Valour goalkeeper James Pantemis from close range to make it 2-0.

It was Pacific's first win of the season, and saw Marco Bustos win his first match against his former club.

Day 10 — York, HFX pickup first wins

York9 FC and HFX Wanderers joined Pacific FC in the win column on Wednesday, beating Forge FC and FC Edmonton, respectively.

Up first, York took on Forge in a high-scoring 905 Derby, full of goals from set pieces. Kyle Porter opened the scoring for The Nine Stripes following a free kick from Manny Aparicio, pouncing on a rebound to make it 1-0. Porter was directly involved in the next goal as well, as it was his corner kick that Joseph Di Chiara put past Forge goalie Triston Henry to double the lead going into halftime.

Immediately after the break, Forge responded. Halftime substitution Chris Nanco brought The Hammers within one in the 49th minute following an excellent run, and just three minutes after that, Alexander Achinioti-Jonsson equalized.

Despite the sudden shift in momentum, it was York9 who would take the three points in this one, as Di Chiara scored his second of the game, from another set piece. After Achinioti-Jonsson conceded a penalty for a handball, Di Chiara scored the winning goal from the penalty spot.

In the second game of the day, HFX Wanderers took on FC Edmonton.

FC Edmonton had the first good chance to score, with a penalty in the 27th minute. Tomi Ameobi stepped up to take it, but HFX goalkeeper Christian Oxner turned his shot away, keeping it scoreless.

Akeem Garcia gave the Wanderers the lead in the 34th minute, after Andre Rampersad intercepted a pass and played a perfect ball between the defenders. Garcia ran onto it and made no mistake, calmly slotting the ball past the goalkeeper. João Morelli doubled the lead before halftime with his first of the game, putting his team up 2-0 after 45'.

Morelli volleyed home his second goal after the break, as a dangerous Wanderers attack picked apart the FC Edmonton defence.

The Eddies would pull one back in the final stages of the match, as Marcus Velado-Tsegaye fired the ball into the top corner from long range.

The result was a combination of an impressive HFX attack and another poor FC Edmonton performance. The Eddies sit bottom of the league, and while they have dealt with injuries, have failed to meet the high expectations some had for them.

Day 11 — Ottawa win their first match, defeat Cavalry

History occurred on Thursday as Atletico Ottawa picked up the first win in club history, and became the 4th club to win their first match of the season this week.

After a disappointing late collapse to FC Edmonton in their previous match, Ottawa were looking to bounce back in a big way against another Alberta side — Cavalry FC.

Bounce back they did, picking up a huge 2-0 victory thanks to goals from Ben Fisk and Malcolm Shaw. Soccer wasn't the most important thing on Thursday, however, as after other leagues across North America were postponing games in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, the CPL followed with a powerful message of their own.

After the match resumed, it would take until the 61st minute to find a breakthrough, as Fisk opened the scoring. Three minutes later, Shaw fired a 30-yard shot over Marco Carducci to give the expansion side a lead they wouldn't cough up.

It was the first win in club history, and one that will have been a confidence boost for Mista's side, who haven't had the easiest start to life in the CPL.

Day 12 — FC Edmonton lose again, Y9 remain unbeaten

FC Edmonton have had a pretty tough tournament thus far, and that continued on Saturday against Valour.

After an opening hour of scoreless soccer, with both teams desperately in search of points, it was Valour who took the lead first. Daryl Fordyce's 61st minute penalty was stopped, but he pounced on the rebound to give his team the lead.

The Eddies equalized about 10 minutes later as on-loan Toronto FC II left back Terique Mohammed found Easton Ongaro, and the striker headed it home. This match seemed destined for a draw, but in the 88th minute, Masta Kacher smashed in the winner following a corner kick.

The late game on Saturday saw York take on HFX, and as has become a trend over The Island Games, featured another very late goal.

Y9 took the lead in the 21st minute after Manny Aparicio fired a perfect free kick into the top corner, giving his side what looked like for most of the match, the winning goal. HFX didn't go down without a fight, however, and equalized in the 91st minute as Omar Kreim scored a free kick of his own.

The Wanderers didn't lose the match, but lost promising attacker João Morelli in the 22nd minute after he elbowed Joseph Di Chiara in the neck. He was originally suspended for three games, but a successful appeal means he'll only miss two.

Day 13 — Forge take top spot with win, Cavalry loss

We had a new leader atop the standings after week 3, after a Forge win against Ottawa and a Cavalry loss to Pacific.

Up first it was The Tridents taking on Cavalry. Pacific scored both of their goals within minutes of each other, as Marco Bustos and Alejandro Diaz scored in the 22nd and 26th minutes, respectively. First, Bustos opened the scoring with a left-footed strike following a Jamar Dixon interception, while moments later Diaz doubled the lead following a cross from Victor Blasco that found him close to the goal.

Cavalry's Nathan Mavila continued his surprising push for the Golden Boot from left back, scoring from the penalty spot 10 minutes after halftime, bringing the Cavs back within one, but they couldn't complete the comeback, losing a second regular season game in a row for only the second time in their history, and falling out of first place in the table.

Forge FC took on Atletico Ottawa in the final match of the weekend, and beat the new guys comfortably to take first place going into the final week of the first stage of the tournament.

Daniel Krutzen gave Forge the lead with a headed goal in the 35th minute, what would end up being the winning goal. Krutzen also played a big part in earning The Hammers a clean sheet, and with moments left in the match, David Choinière sealed the points with a tidy finish.


Standings (as of Sept. 1, 2020)


What's next?

Here's the schedule for the final week of stage one at The Island Games:

Sep 1 - Tuesday - 8:00 pm EDT

Edmonton vs York

Sep 2 - Wednesday - 1:00 pm EDT

Valour vs HFX

Sep 2 - Wednesday - 8:00 pm EDT

Pacific vs Ottawa

Sep 5 - Saturday - 12:00 pm EDT

Forge vs Valour

Sep 5 - Saturday - 3:00 pm EDT

Cavalry vs York

Sep 6 - Sunday - 12:00 pm EDT

HFX vs Ottawa

Sep 6 - Sunday - 3:00 pm EDT

Pacific vs Edmonton