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Cavalry FC meets Nemesis Forge, ‘running in’ with positives in place

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Tommy Wheeldon Jr. considers the next nine games of Cavalry FC’s campaign to be the ‘run-in’.

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These are the final nine games of their Canadian Premier League’s 2022 regular season – the ones that help finalize whether the Cavalry are one of the top four teams to ultimately challenge for the championship.

And even though his troops have had a tough time – four defeats in the last five games – he likes where they sit with the final third of the schedule to play.

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No doubt for good reasons too, the most important being a fairly clean bill of health and a slew of house dates to come.

“Thank you very much, we’ll take that,” said the cavalry gaffer. “We have consciously tried this year to manage our team so that we don’t have any long-term injuries before the break-in. We have six games out of nine at home, so it’s on our terms. And that’s how we wanted it at the end of the season.

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“So we’re looking in the right place, and we need it for the run-in.”

It starts Friday night against — and rightfully so — nemesis Forge FC at ATCO Field in Spruce Meadow (7 p.m., OneSoccer, OneSoccer.ca).

The Cavs’ clutch contests in the CPL — this one included — always seem to involve the Hamilton-based team.

“You know it’s going to be a close game,” Wheeldon Jr. said. “It’s going to be 96 minutes. And you can’t give them an inch.

“They are excellent with recruiting. They have played in Concacaf more than 10 games. They have the experience of the big game that we want. To get there, we have to beat what’s in front of us.

Easier said than done, as Forge went 8-3-5 in all-time meetings with the Cavalry, with many of those wins coming at crucial times.

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“I think in 16 games – someone showed me the other day – only one was decided by more than one goal,” the Cavs coach continued. “A lot of times if you look at it, it was decided by an odd goal or a controversial decision. And I just hope that the refereeing will be perfect (Friday), because it will be very difficult for whoever is in the middle.

For example, this year’s heads-up — a 2-2 draw on April 16 and a 2-1 decision on July 27 in Forge’s favor — have been controversial.

“In the 94th minute (April 16), the foul on (the Cavs) Victor Loturi is not given, then everyone talks about the goal of (David) Choinière (highlight) (to equalize Forge),” said Wheeldon. Jr. “If it’s home, we get that foul.

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“And you watch when Woobens Pacius’ hand hits him (for the equalizer on July 27), and a foul is not given. So if we play our way and get the official who is as sharp as we want, I think it will be a good game.

“I think there’s been a lot of favoritism towards them so far.”

Those results helped Forge rise to the top of the CPL – with 35 points with an impressive 11-2-4 record and currently boasting a six-game winning streak.

Meanwhile, Cavalry’s swoon made it 9-4-6 with 31 points in fourth place in the CPL table, just five points ahead of Valor FC (7-5-6). The top four clubs at the end of the season qualify for the playoffs.

But the Cavs went through a busy part of the schedule, with seven games in 25 days, and had time to practice for this game like never before last month.

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“We just kind of ran out of steam,” Wheeldon Jr. said of the recent tough times. “It’s been tough for the guys, and it’s been one of the hottest summers…and the way we play, we have to be at our maximum. Rest away from the cameras, away from the game, away from competitions and be able to sharpen the ax (it’s important). »

And it helped them get closer to full health, to boot.

Only forward Myer Bevan (hamstring) and long-term injured defender Tom Field (knee) and forwards Anthony Novak (ACL) and Fraser Aird (ACL) are unlikely to be available for selection.

“I thought when (Forge) came to town last time they gave us their best version – and that’s a damn good team – and we weren’t at ours,” Wheeldon Jr. added, who was also without captain Mason Trafford. (knee) and Jose Escalante (suspension) the last time his team faced Forge. “Now I think we’re getting closer to our best group of players available. So it’s going to be a different beast this time around. It’s the in-form team. We’re looking to get that kind of performance back against them.

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“We have everything we needed to accomplish (in training last week), and we will be in the best possible shape for the break-in.”

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Tyson Farago has called it quits after a car crash and ensuing back injury derailed his CPL campaign. The 31-year-old goalkeeper, who posted four clean sheets in five appearances for the Cavalry last year, was unable to fully recover after the vehicle he was driving was rammed for the offseason. “Tyson, we sympathize,” said Wheeldon Jr. “It was a long-standing injury that arose weeks before the start of pre-season. 1. We’re following his progress as he regains full health and wish him well…. Cavalry has signed 20-year-old Canadian-Nigeria winger Goteh Ntignee to a long-term contract. in Alberta, joins the club as an under-21 forward after playing his youth career with East Side Memorial FC of the Calgary Minor Soccer Association, he then left for the Pacific Elite Soccer Institute under of former Calgary Mustangs head coach Thomas Niendienf, then played in the USL PDL for the Victoria Highlanders before moving to Germany, where he joined FC Lokomotiv Leipzig, a German fourth-tier club.” Goteh is a dynamic young striker who can integrate rer anywhere on the front line and has a good sense of goal,” Wheeldon Jr. told System. He has developed well and spent time abroad in Germany, and we are delighted to have the chance to work with him over the next two seasons and beyond. Ntignee added: “I am grateful to have the opportunity to play for Cavalry FC. I am delighted to play for a professional club near my home and be part of this team. I hope to have a big impact for the club. … Alejandro Diaz was transferred from CPL’s Pacific FC to Sogndal Football in Norway’s second division on Wednesday. The club’s record sale is currently the second-biggest transfer in league history, with the potential to become the biggest CPL transfer ever based on conditional performance targets.With 13, Diaz leaves the CPL as the league’s top scorer this season.

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