Week 1 of The Island Games is in the books, and lot has happened since the Canadian Premier League kicked off its 2020 regular season on Aug. 13. We’ve seen newcomers such as Cory Bent, Mohamed Farsi and Molham Babouli put in bright performances that demonstrate why they have bright futures ahead of themselves in the CPL. In the "new faces in new places department," Marcus Haber (Cavalry FC) and Marco Bustos (Pacific FC) have already had big impacts for their new clubs after making notable off-season moves. Belgian midfielder Paolo Sabak (Forge FC), Mexican creator Francisco Acuña (Atlético Ottawa) and Jamaican attacker Alex Marshall (HFX Wanderers FC) have added a touch of international class to the league. There’s been so many standout players through the first week of the CPL season, but who’s been the best from Week 1 of The Island Games? CanPL.ca's Charlie O'Connor-Clarke, Marty Thompson and John Molinaro, and OneSoccer's Armen Bedakian offer their thoughts. RELATED READING: 2020 CPL regular season: The Island Games
Mohamed Farsi - Cavalry FC

At the very least, Farsi is the player I've been most impressed by thus far. The 20-year-old seems to do something impressive every time he gets the ball, no matter which flank he's playing on (one start on the left, one on the right, and a cameo at left wing in Cavalry's first game). Farsi won a key penalty in both of his first two CPL games, and earned an assist against Valour FC, and provided the perfect cross for Cavalry's first goal against FC Edmonton. His energy and pace seems to make Cavalry a lot more dangerous; Farsi is looking to play the ball forward every time he gets it, whether it's with a pass into space or on his own with pace and power. His ability to either cross the ball on a dime or dribble towards the goal requires a defender's attention at all times, and he still manages to beat them anyway. The fullback was dominant at the PLSQ level, so his success shouldn't necessarily be surprising given Diyaeddine Abzi's rise last year with York9 FC. Still, we might not have expected him to be undroppable in the Cavalry lineup already. – By Charlie O'Connor-Clarke
Francisco Acuña - Atlético Ottawa

No CPLer has made a debut at The Island Games quite like Francisco Acuña. Atlético Ottawa’s No. 10 was an obvious man of the match winner against York9 FC – and worthy of his selection to the Gatorade Team of the Week. The 32-year-old gave Y9 defenders fits as a floating attacking creator, shifting across the midfield and covering an incredible amount of ground. He provided the assist for Malcolm Shaw’s goal – the second in club history – after completely dominating York9 in the first half with an incredible 29 passes in the attacking third. The Nine Stripes simply couldn’t handle him. But, as impressive as that first match was, that’s all we know about Acuña. His powers were limited in Match #1 after Ottawa’s red card – and he was taken off in their second game against Valour FC, (marked out of the match or due to fatigue, depending who you ask). That doesn’t take away from his debut – and the promise of the Mexican being one of the best in the CPL in 2020. – by Marty Thompson
Daniel Krutzen - Forge FC

Five players have been on the pitch for all 270 minutes of Forge FC's first three games at The Island Games. Daniel Krutzen is one of them, which says something about how much he means to the team and how highly is valued by coach Bobby Smyrniotis. The Belgian centre back is a major reason why Forge has only conceded one goal from open play; he's recorded a team-leading six interceptions, won 18 duels (no Forge player has more) and made eight defensive clearances (second only to David Edgar). Krutzen has effectively teamed up with Edgar in the centre of a sturdy Forge defence that has been difficult for opposing teams to break down. Much more than a solid defender, the Belgian is also an effective distributor of the ball. Krutzen has completed over 85 per cent of his passes in his last two outings, and has been at the top (or near the top) for Forge in total passes completed in the opponent's half in each of his team's three games. – by John Molinaro
Dominick Zator, Cavalry FC

How is Dominick Zator even playing in the Canadian Premier League in 2020? The Cavalry FC defender remains an ever-present and dominating threat in and around the six-yard box, and has rarely put a foot wrong on the back-end, too, making short work of FC Edmonton's shorter, speedier wingers without much afterthought in the Cavs' 2-0 win on Thursday. That Zator, who was already such a standout player in the league's inaugural season last year, has only seemingly improved his level of defensive dominance doesn't bode well for opposition attackers at The Island Games. But I'm baffled that he's even in Charlottetown in the first place, and not pulling on another red shirt back in Toronto at BMO Field. Frankly, Zator's showings over three matches indicate, to me, that he's not just the best defender in the Canadian Premier League; that much, we already knew. No, his ability to combine effortless defending with a penchant for goal-scoring makes him one of the most undervalued defensive options in all of Canadian soccer. Vancouver Whitecaps, Toronto FC, Montreal Impact ... hello? Do I need to buy him for you? Speaking frankly based on some "MLS is Back" performances, January can't come soon enough for the big three. – by Armen Bedakian

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