Exactly one year ago, the Canadian Premier League was born, as Forge FC and York9 FC battled to a 1-1 draw in the league’s inaugural game on April 27, 2019. Heading into the unknown with seven inaugural squads last April, CanPL.ca attempted the impossible: Predict the best starting lineup for each CPL side. A brand new league, brand new teams, and some brand new professionals. Before a ball was kicked. Everything could go wrong. Truth be told, CanPL.ca made some clever choices considering the infancy of the league (Peter Schaale, Daniel Gogarty, and Elliott Simmons come to mind). But there were some strange picks, some of which will leave you to remark, "what were they thinking?" Let's take a look at CanPL.ca’s seven projected starting XIs for the CPL's inaugural squads and see how close they came to fruition. SELF-ISOLATION HELP: 10 soccer books to read || 7 CPL matches to re-watch || 5 soccer movies to check out
Forge FC – Accuracy rating: B+

CanPL.ca got Forge FC's Day 1 lineup mostly right – eight of 11 players took the pitch for the inaugural game. Triston Henry, Giuliano Frano, and Alexander Achinioti-Jonsson were the exceptions. Henry's inclusion over the more experienced Quillan Roberts was the most out-of-place selection, but one that came as a surprise to many observers at the time so, you know, give us a break. Biggest miss: Henry was Bobby Smyrniotis' no. 1 goalkeeper from the beginning.
Cavalry FC – Accuracy rating: A+

Wow! Look at how smart we were! Cavalry FC's projected best XI was near-perfect... considering the formation. Julian Buscher, Nik Ledgerwood, and Elijah Adekugbe were their best central midfielders, and placing Canadian national team member Dominick Zator on the left of defence was awfully shrewd. Only Jordan Brown remains a debatable choice in this two-up-top alignment after Oliver Minatel's impressive seven-goal campaign. Biggest miss: Wingers Nico Pasquotti and José Escalante are regrettably missing from this group, leaving nine goals and nearly 50 appearances on the table. In a 4-2-3-1, perhaps CanPL.ca would have considered Escalante, at the very least.
York9 FC – Accuracy rating: C+

While a good guess, this CanPL.ca’s projected best XI for York9 FC was a ways off. Michael Cox would be replaced by Rodrigo Gattas by May, Roger Thompson's injury problems kept him from the lineup and… where's Goalkeeper of the Year nominee Nathan Ingham? Biggest miss: Goalkeeper Matt Silva made one appearance for York9 FC. Enough said.
Pacific FC – Accuracy rating: B-

Huh. Let's start with the positives; 10 of 11 of these players started at Westhills Stadium's historic opener last April and this defensive unit was 100 per cent accurate compared to that opening day lineup, too. But, who put Terran Campbell in the centre of midfield? And why is Victor Blasco in a defensive role? Biggest miss: An attacking trio of Marcus Haber, Issey Nakajima-Farran and Ben Fisk was a good guess at the time; Canadian men's team experience, proven scoring records, etc. But by midway through the season, Haber and Nakajima-Farran were overtaken by PFC's young core and, by extension, making this projected XI antiquated.
FC Edmonton – Accuracy rating: D+

"Who is Easton Ongaro?" This FC Edmonton projection falls just short enough to find frustrating. For one, Jeff Paulus' top-choice backline had Jeannot Eusa at left fullback. Son Yong-chan likely would have landed a starting gig if not for a brutal injury, too. Also, there are some big, big names missing. Biggest miss: Never mind Easton Ongaro, who had yet to sign with the Eddies when this projected XI was published, what about Oumar Diouck on the wing? Does Edem Mortotsi make an FCE best lineup by 2019's end?
Valour FC – Accuracy rating: C

Of course, there are more than a few caveats worth noting with this obsolete projected XI: Glenn Muenkat takes the place of a yet-to-be-signed Marco Bustos, Josip Golubar was out injured by May, Stephen Hoyle ended up leaving the club soon after, and who saw the rise of Tyler Attardo coming? Still, this is just too inaccurate to give any decent grade. No love for Martín Arguiñarena? Maybe Dylan Carreiro deserved a spot? Would mid-season signing Jose Galan make a Valour best XI by season's end? Biggest miss: Arguiñarena. Not including the veteran Uruguayan fullback from Day 1 sells this group short.
HFX Wanderers FC – Accuracy rating: B+

Considering the supporters player of the year Matthew Arnone had yet to sign and Chakib Hocine spent most of the season injured, the backline is a good guess. The midfield is an interesting hodgepodge that still misses Andre Rampersad and standout winger Mohamed Kourouma, both of whom had exceptional seasons. Wingers Akeem Garcia and Diego Gutiérrez were solid choices for an XI, just not in a Christmas tree lineup like this. Biggest miss: Kouamé Ouattara only played half-a-dozen matches for the Wanderers.

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