Is Dominick Zator's move from Cavalry FC to York United the biggest player swap in Canadian Premier League history? The 26-year-old Calgarian joined The Nine Stripes on a two-year deal on Monday and was then subsequently loaned out to Swedish second-tier side Vasalunds IF. Zator emerged as one of the Canadian Premier League's best defenders in a Cavalry shirt, becoming the club's all-time leader in matches and minutes played, while earning a call-up to the Canadian men's national team along the way. A mixture of technical ability, defensive solidity, and a penchant for a wicked header put Zator on John Herdman's radar and further solidified his place among the CPL's top players, which makes his York move that much more significant. Here's Zator's CPL career so far, told by the numbers.
RELATED READING: CPL off-season roster tracker - Who’s in and who’s out for 2021?
3,325 – Minutes played in CPLDominick Zator's 3,325 minutes played in the CPL is second-most in league history. Zator, who is sandwiched between Forge FC stalwarts Daniel Krutzen (3,432) and Kyle Bekker (3,323), missed only one game in a Cavalry uniform – a dead-rubber, 2019 Spring season tilt with Pacific FC. The Calgarian's experience in the CPL should prove valuable to the Nine Stripes, who cut ties with five of their top-six all-time minutes accumulators this off-season (goalkeeper Nathan Ingham remains, with 2,880 minutes).
6.17 – Combined xG & xAAbove all else, Zator is a threat on set pieces. If you combine expected goals (xG) and expected assists (xA) – let's call this "expected chances" – Zator recorded a staggering 6.17 in 2019, which was nearly double the nearest defender (3.84). He has also recorded the most headed shots (21) across the CPL's first two seasons. Zator has scored some crucial goals with those headers, too, including in their historic victory over MLS side Vancouver Whitecaps in the Canadian Championship, and in their inaugural game at Spruce Meadows. His lone goal at The Island Games – soaring through the air in the first half against Forge FC – was the opening goal of the tournament. He has a knack for coming up big when it counts.
49.88 – Successful passes per 90 minutesNo CPLer completed more passes on average at The Island Games than Zator. SportLogiq calculates the centre-back made 49.88 passes per 90 minutes – well above the league average of 34.62 for defenders – and led all players in 675 completed passes. The stats speak to an underrated side of Zator's game: Controlling possession and creating attacking opportunities from the back. He finished second among CPLers in touches (811) on Prince Edward Island, too, proving to be a lynchpin at the back who is valuable for just about any professional club.
Various defensive statisticsCheck any defensive category and Zator's name will pop up near the top. In 2019, Zator led the Cavs in interceptions (51) and clearances (77) while making the second-most blocks (12). At The Island Games, Zator took on and won the most tackles (15) and duels (52) for the Cavs, further proving his ability as a dependable defender.
Stats provided by the Canadian Premier League's soccer operations department.