As the Canadian Premier League's 2022 season reaches the midway point for most teams, the faculty at have seen fit to evaluate each club's first half of the campaign. All five panelists have assigned a letter grade to every side for their body of work so far, with some advice and areas for improvement for the remaining half of the year as well. Two report cards will be released per day over the course of this week. Up next: Cavalry FC.


Cavalry FC

Record so far: 7W, 4D, 2L (25 points)

First Half Summary:

Alexandre Gangué-Ruzic: It’s been a near-perfect start to the season for Cavalry. First in the table, undefeated in 10, with the most goals for, and a very good defensive record, they’ve hardly set a foot wrong in most games, especially as of late. They can beat you in a multitude of ways, and are doing so each week, often finding a way to leave the pitch fully deserving of all of their spoils, as reflected by their position in second on the xG difference chart. Plus, they’re getting contributions from all of their roster, from Marco Carducci to Aribim Pepple, and everyone between. Not bad for a team that has dealt with a whole host of key absences. GRADE: A Benedict Rhodes: So much has gone right during the first half of the season for Cavalry that it’s sometimes hard to forget that they’ve been without some of their key players. Anthony Novak and Tom Field got injured before the season began, Fraser Aird was ruled out for the year after picking up an injury, and Joe Mason hasn’t been available as often as he or the club would have liked. Their depth has been key, and despite the absences, an incredible run after a shaky start to the season sees them in the mix once again. GRADE: A Charlie O'Connor-Clarke: Cavalry have always been good at rolling with the punches, and that's just what they've done in 2022 with how they've continued to thrive despite such a litany of absences. Tommy Wheeldon Jr. has this side playing attractive, direct football, but they've also become the deadliest team in the league from set-piece opportunities. Aribim Pepple's emergence as one of the brightest young stars in the country has been a welcome surprise, too. Also, Victor Loturi's move to Ross County is another testament to how Cavalry can balance being competitive with a commitment to youth. The Cavs haven't lost since their third game of the year, and they're deserving of top spot. GRADE: A Kristian Jack: Sat alone in a quiet corridor outside of the press conference room at York United, Tommy Wheeldon Jr. pondered what had gone wrong. It was April 22nd and his team hadn’t won any of its first three games. Home is where the heart is and a return to Spruce Meadows, coupled with the return of the inspirational Marco Carducci, on May 1st saw the team scrap the back three and they have not looked back since. Cavalry remain unbeaten in their last 10 games (a club record) since the loss at York and are the dead-ball destroyers of the CPL, scoring 12 goals from set pieces in those 10 games, which has helped ignite an attack that struggled for goals in 2021 (17 of 28 games saw them score one goal or less). GRADE: A Mitchell Tierney: After a slow first few matchdays, Cavalry has proven to be the deepest team in the Canadian Premier League. It feels like each week a new star emerges for them, be it Marco Carducci, Joe Mason, Ali Musse, Daan Klomp, Myer Bevan, Elijah Adekugbe, Aribim Pepple, José Escalante… the list continues to grow. They are undefeated since April for a reason. GRADE: A

Second Half Outlook:

Alexandre Gangué-Ruzic: Now, all that’s left for Cavalry to do is to keep on rolling as they have, all while managing the slight retooling that a couple of moves in and out have cause, which is something to monitor. Other than that, however, things look pretty good for them, as they’ve got a heavy slate of home games, no other competition to worry about, and lots of time to continue to grow. Because of that, there is no reason why they can’t just make the playoffs, but push to clinch first place, too, as they’re arguably the team to beat in the CPL right now. Benedict Rhodes: As Tommy Wheeldon Jr likes to say, it’s a marathon and not a sprint. Cavalry have always been a strong regular season team, but are yet to jump over the hurdle in the playoffs. They’ll almost certainly remain in the top four, so the challenge now is to peak at the right time toward the end of the campaign. Charlie O'Connor-Clarke: As others have mentioned, there's really only one thing that would make Cavalry consider 2022 a successful year: playoff success. They've been in the top two of every CPL table to date, but have nothing to show for it. The key now will be ensuring there's enough left in the tank later in the year -- they went through a bit of a lull in early fall last season, but they'll hope to maintain their high-energy style down the stretch this time. Wheeldon will probably also want to see a little more production from open play, although it doesn't necessarily matter how goals are scored as long as they're going in. Most importantly, they'll be praying for better fortune in the injury department. Kristian Jack: The switch to a back four has seen players like Ali Musse, Aribim Pepple and Jose Escalante blossom in the final third, but can striker Joe Mason become as reliable and healthy for the rest of 2022? Scoring goals from set-pieces and having the likes of Carducci, Daan Klomp, Karifa Yao and the Traffords bringing real stability has been a terrific recipe for success so far, but it will be the playoffs, as ever, that will determine the success of this team and in close games a time will come when they need a true poacher’s goal to take them to glory for the first time. Mitchell Tierney: Cavalry has been here before, and more than ever now has the long-term plan in mind. While they would love to finish top of the table, and that is a real possibility, what matters is being at their best when October rolls around. The playoffs are what this team really has in its sights, so with that in mind, the second half of the season is really about finding which combination of players will give them the best success should they get there.

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