Welcome to CPL50, a series where we’ll reveal the top 50 players from the 2021 Canadian Premier League regular season, as voted on by a panel of coaches from all eight teams and media from OneSoccer and CanPL.ca. For more information on the voting process and method, click here.
Second place in the CPL50 is this season's Player of the Year and Golden Boot winner, HFX Wanderers talisman Joao Morelli. The Brazilian forward really found a home in Halifax this year, scoring a league-high 14 goals in 21 contests. He was, undoubtedly, the league's most valuable player, having scored half of his club's goals this year. In games where Morelli started, the Wanderers had six wins, five draws, and five losses (23 points in 16 games). Without him in the XI, they had two wins, six draws, and four losses (12 points in 12). Unfortunately, Morelli missed a chunk of time toward the end of the season, which may have doomed the Wanderers' campaign to get into the playoffs. In the four games he missed in October, the club scored just one goal, as they ultimately went on to miss the fourth spot by one point. Morelli scored six braces this year as well, occasionally taking over matches completely to earn a result for his side. He was the best finisher in the CPL in 2021, demonstrating his top-tier ability to get into good places in the box and put the ball on frame from anywhere. The Wanderers first signed Morelli in early 2020, and he scored four goals in eight contests at the Island Games. He settled in Halifax after playing at a number of different clubs around the world, including Middlesbrough and Fleetwood Town in England, FCI Levadia in Estonia, and Ituano in his native Brazil. Morelli recently signed a contract extension with the Wanderers, to keep him in Halifax through 2023.
The rest of the CPL50 countdown is available here. Five more players will be revealed per day until December 22.