First and second in the Canadian Premier League’s Spring campaign, Forge FC and Cavalry FC came out as competitive rivals and created some memorable tilts along the way: two injury-time goals, a Canadian Championship tie, a late-season title-decider and a bench-clearing scuffle. They matched up well in the Spring as early-season contenders, still finding their footing. Fast forward to the Fall session and, well, it’s playing out in a similar fashion. Forge, just behind Cavalry in the standings, look to grab points off the CPL’s high-flying side. Sound familiar to you? But it’s a new campaign – as far as a split season goes – and with it emerges new notable talent, matchups worth discussing, injuries and player changes. It also brings new competitions and new tests worth discussing. Cavalry and Forge have engaged in notable runs in the Canadian Championship and CONCACAF League respectively, showing their value to an even greater extent. So, as the CPL's top two sides prepare to do battle for the first time this Fall season on Sunday at Tim Hortons Field (3:30 p.m. ET, 1:30 MT, on OneSoccer), here’s a look, position by position, at how they compare this time around.

Triston Henry has settled in as Forge’s no. 1 quite well after some dicey mid-season performances, with a man of the match performance against CD Olimpia in the CONCACAF League a recent example of this. Henry faced Cavalry once in league play, earning a five-save clean sheet. Cavalry’s goalkeeping standard, despite Henry’s recent form, is a cut above their top of the table rivals. Marco Carducci has played well above his years, proving a veteran presence at the back. He’s been an impressive shot-stopper too, as shown in the Volkswagen Premier Performer tally. Niko Giantspolous has been performing at a similar level as well. Could he start for the Cavs Sunday? WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Cavalry could try to test Henry, as Antigua GFC did in CONCACAF League, with tricky out-swinging balls. At six feet tall, Henry isn’t the biggest ‘keeper, and he has made a few mistakes this season.

Forge’s addition of David Edgar has given their backline a much-needed injection of solidity. A veteran leader, the 32-year-old Canadian international was key in Forge’s staunch defensive performance against Olimpia, his first start since joining the club earlier this month. Despite a series of injuries, Cavalry’s defensive unit is still trending in the right direction, collecting two goals in four games. However, they have shown cracks in their armour – especially at right fullback, previously occupied by Dean Northover. Still, with Jay Wheeldon, Mason Trafford and Dominick Zator all healthy, their centre back core is healthy and thriving. Plus, they offer an aerial threat in the opposing box. That's helpful when you have Nico Pasquotti's long throw in your arsenal... WHAT TO WATCH FOR: If fit, David Edgar could be the great equalizer. As a rare oversized defender in Bobby Smyrniotits’ deck, he could be an adequate answer for Dom Malonga.

Elijah Adekugbe and Nik Ledgerwood present one mean midfield pivot for Cavalry. Just watch their midweek match against York9 FC. Forcing the Nine Stripes to slide balls up the wing, the heart of Cavalry’s midfield is proving sturdy and a perfect complement to a third attack-minded midfielder, a la Julian Busher or Sergio Camargo. How Ledgerwood and Adekugbe handle Kyle Bekker will be the key for Forge. He has had goalscoring success against Cavalry – netting twice as a trailing midfielder entering the box late – and his passing and chance creation have been above average, too, completing 80.7% of passes in the Cavalry half, the highest percentage Bekker has against any CPL side. WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Cavalry’s third midfield piece, whether it be Sergio Camargo or Julian Busher, will be crucial. Both in form, watch to see how they get space, and what they do with it.

Forwards have been the focal point over the first four meetings between Forge and Cavalry. Nine goals have been scored over their four matches, two coming from Dominique Malonga. Yes, Forge fans, the same Cavalry striker that sunk Forge’s Canadian Championship run with a pair of goals in that tightly contested tie. Notching a brace on Wednesday, Malonga is in top form. Forge are without their reverse Cavalry boogeyman, Emery Welshman, who picked up a goal and an assist versus the Cavs during his short time with the side. Strong and physically-imposing Anthony Novak is a noble replacement, and is in form, but it's unknown how he will match up against Cavalry’s aforementioned centre back core. WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Here comes Anthony Novak’s first big league test since emerging as the starting no. 9 in Hamilton. With goals against Valour FC and Pacific FC, and an important role played midweek against CD Olimpia, how will he match up against one of the CPL’s toughest backlines?

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