The Canadian Championship's all-Canadian Premier League Qualifying Round 2 continues this week, as all three ties head west to wrap things up in the second leg of this two-legged round of Cup action. Six CPL sides Cavalry FC, Forge FC, Valour FC, HFX Wanderers FC, FC Edmonton, and York9 FC are vying for a spot in the third round, where MLS and USL matchups await.

Leg 2 action begins Tuesday night with Cavalry and Forge, followed by Wednesday's double header.

Canadian Championship — Round 2 (Leg 2) Cavalry FC vs. Forge FC (1-1 agg.) June 11 — Spruce Meadows (9:30 p.m. ET, 7:30 p.m. MT) Watch Live:

We begin the week's fixtures on Tuesday with the highly-anticipated rematch between the CPL's top two teams. After a controversial last-minute penalty gave Cavalry a late equalizer, the home side will walk into Spruce Meadows with the upper hand, since a scoreless draw would see them through on away goals.

It's 1-1 on aggregate, so this tie could truly be anyone's at this point. The Vancouver Whitecaps of MLS await the winner of this tie, which could be another heated affair.


Find what worked: Forge are the only team in the CPL to get a lead on Cavalry this season. They out-shot and out-possessed the league leaders, and limited the Cavs to just two shots on target. They found a way to keep any shots against to low-percentage areas, and they'll have to do it again now.

Maintain control: This matchup is quickly turning into a great rivalry in the CPL, which leads to some entertaining soccer. Still, both sides need to be careful not to give away free kicks in dangerous areas or do anything rash to hurt their own team.

Keep it tight: Cavalry have no reason not to play a compact, if conservative, game on Tuesday. Forge needs a goal more than they do, so the Cavs should be happy to absorb some pressure and look for a goal on the break, especially since a more wide-open game suits Forge better than them.

Canadian Championship — Round 2 (Leg 2) Valour FC vs. HFX Wanderers FC (1-2 agg.) June 12 — IG Field (8:30 p.m. ET, 7:30 p.m. CT) Watch Live:

The wind shifted in an instant at Wanderers Grounds last week as an early lead for Valour vanished almost immediately with a pair of quick goals from HFX. The Wanderers now take a paper-thin 2-1 lead into Winnipeg where they'll have a tough job ahead of them against a revved-up home side.

The winner of this tie would move on to play the USL's Ottawa Fury, and a matchup with Toronto FC waits just beyond that in the semi-final round.


Stay the course: For the most part, Valour FC were the better team in Leg 1, with a stretch of about 10 minutes ultimately dooming them on the night. Rob Gale's side doesn't need to change anything dramatically; if they continue their fluid, possession-based game the goals will come.

Never say die: They have the lead now, but that doesn't mean HFX might not fall behind if Valour nick an early goal at home. The Wanderers have battled back from behind in three straight games, though, so they can never be counted out.

Road trippin': HFX are 3-0-1 in CPL games at home this season, but 0-3-0 on the road. In fact, they haven't scored against CPL opposition away from Wanderers Grounds. Valour, however, have been less-than-stellar at IG Field, with one win from three games. This would be a perfect time for the Wanderers to finally get something going on the road.

Canadian Championship — Round 2 (Leg 2) FC Edmonton vs. York9 FC (1-3 agg.) June 12 — Clarke Field (9:30 p.m. ET, 7:30 p.m. MT) Watch Live:

The Eddies find themselves in a deeper hole than any other team in this round of the competition after losing 3-1 on the road to York9. They did manage to find one away goal (and they were dismayed to see a second disallowed), but their defensive weaknesses were exposed.

With their work cut out for them, FC Edmonton return home. Right now, it's York9 that look poised to take on the Montreal Impact in QR3, but a 2-0 win for the Eddies at Clarke Field isn't entirely out of the question.


Set-pieces: All three of York9's goals in Leg 1 were the exact same: headers off corner kicks. That's a very obvious area of improvement for Jeff Paulus' Edmonton side, whose tall defenders have generally done well on set-pieces this year. The Eddies have to do better than that in the air, and can't lose track of men in the box.

90-minute effort: York9 were no short of dominant at times last Wednesday. They controlled the ball high up the pitch, they stretched out the defence, and they generated chances. Toward the end of the game, though, they started to slip and had to weather a storm of pressure. Jimmy Brennan's side need not chase goals necessarily, but they do have to neutralize their opponent more convincingly for a full 90 minutes.

Open the floodgates: FCE's Kareem Moses admitted last week that Oumar Diouck's goal the Eddies' first in five games got a monkey off their backs. That particular pressure is now off, but the questions of where goals will come from remain. Edmonton needs at least two goals in this game, so they'll be hoping that their late push in Leg 1 will spark their attack in Leg 2.

Continue reading...