Final Score: Cavalry FC 0-0 HFX Wanderers Game of the 2021 season: 9 CPL match: 144

Match in a minute or less

Both HFX Wanderers and Cavalry FC picked up their first clean sheets of the season on Saturday after an end-to-end match finished 0-0.

HFX looked sharper offensively than in previous matches, coming close to scoring on multiple -- none nearer than Joao Morelli's close-range shot at the end of the first half that he sent just wide of the far post. Cavalry's defense and midfield impressed once again, but they failed to score for the first time this season, and were denied a third consecutive victory.

Christian Oxner and Tyson Farago were solid in either net, with both turning away goalscoring opportunities throughout the match.

Three Observations

Elliot Simmons and Mason Trafford slot in well for David Norman Jr. and Daan Klomp​

After picking up a knock midweek, David Norman Jr. missed out on Saturday's match, but his replacement at the base of midfield Elliot Simmons again impressed for Cavalry FC. It was a second start of the season for Simmons, who scored off the bench in Cavalry's 4-1 win over Ottawa on Wednesday, and he was again effective in a midfield trio, this time alongside Nik Ledgerwood and Joe Di Chiara. Against his former club, Simmons led the team with 76 completed passes, with a team-high 42 of them coming in the Wanderers' half of the pitch. He also led his team with five tackles and one block in a well-rounded performance. Also coming back into the starting lineup was centre-back Mason Trafford, replacing Daan Klomp and pairing and slotting in alongside Karifa Yao. Trafford had 2 clearances, an interception, and gained possession 6 times for Cavalry in this one, as well as a couple of chances to make a difference at the end of the field, but neither of his shots could find the back of the net -- including a header on target in the second half that was stopped by Christian Oxner. He had a lot of praise for his centre-back partner Yao and his fellow defenders after the match. "I love Karifa, I think he's an unbelievable talent," said Trafford. "I think he'll be a big player in the future, what is he, only 20 years old? "All of our centre-backs can play, we're lucky in that regard. We have a really good centre-back core and he's a huge part of that. I'm really proud of him." Wanderers attack shows signs of improvement After looking outmatched for parts of their first two matches, HFX's attack seemed more dangerous again on Saturday night. While they had less shots on target (2) against Cavalry than they did in either of their previous matches, they were getting into more promising positions down the two wings. Joao Morelli and Alex Marshall were getting into good areas on either flank, while Wanderers right back Morey Doner came flying down the right wing on multiple occasions. He was causing trouble for the Cavalry left side all night, and curled in a handful of crosses into key areas -- but none of them were met by the head of a teammate. Marshall came close to scoring again in this one, chipping a shot over an oncoming Tyson Farago, but it didn't dip back down and floated onto the top of the net. As he did in their last game, Joao Morelli narrowly missed his first goal of the season, firing a shot wide of the post at the end of the first half. He knew again that he should've scored, and looked frustrated with his effort, a representation of the match as a whole to some extent as both sides came agonizingly close to finding a goal. Clean sheet for Tyson Farago in his return to the CPL Playing in his first match for his new club, and his first since a 2–0 loss to Pacific FC (when he was a member of his hometown Valour FC) on October 19th, 2019, new Cavalry backup goalkeeper Tyson Farago put up a strong performance. Farago made a pair of important saves in this one, also claiming one ball into the box and completing 19 of his 24 passes. "He was good, he earned it," said Cavalry head coach Tommy Wheeldon Jr. after the match. "He's been doing a lot of great work with Marco (Carducci) and our goalie coach Jordan Santiago. We've brought him in for a reason, we wanted someone with a bit of experience -- he's played eight years as a pro, he's a terrific guy around the locker room, he's worked extremely hard. "He was a bit unfortunate to not be retained during 2020, and as soon as we needed a second goalie, he was top of our list, and he hasn't disappointed. Today he's made some big punches, big catches, and his footwork's great -- he can really stretch the play when it's needed. Player of the Match Elliot Simmons, Cavalry FC Simmons anchored Cavalry's midfield, and was solid on both sides of the ball. What's next? Cavalry FC will take on Forge FC on July 8th (8 pm ET/ 7 pm CT) in the latest chapter of one of the league's most entertaining rivalries. HFX Wanderers have an extra two days off, and will next play against FC Edmonton on July 10th (2 pm ET/ 1 pm CT). All matches are available on OneSoccer.

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