2021 CPL regular season (The Kickoff) — Match #6 Atlético Ottawa vs. Cavalry FC June 30, 2021 at 10:00 pm ET/ 9:00 pm CT IG Field in Winnipeg, Manitoba Watch Live: OneSoccer.ca

Atlético Ottawa takes on Cavalry FC at IG Field on Wednesday evening in Winnipeg ,with both sides coming off a season-opening victory and looking to make two wins in a row at The Kickoff.

The only previous match between those two teams was last August during the Island Games, when Ottawa topped the Cavs 2-0 thanks to goals from Ben Fisk and Malcolm Shaw just three minutes apart midway throughout the second half.

Cavalry impressed against York United on Sunday in a 2-1 victory, with goals coming from José Escalante and Sergio Camargo, while three newcomers were given club debuts in the starting XI including defenders Daan Klomp and Tom Field as well as former Forge striker Anthony Novak.

While Wheeldon Jr. was more than pleased with his group's performance against the Nine Stripes, he's trying to keep a level head as they prepare for an organized Ottawa group: "It's a regular professional season, so we can't get too high or too low during the ups and downs."

Ottawa fought to the final minutes against Edmonton on Saturday to eventually win 1-0 courtesy of an 82nd minute winner from Victor Martinez. While it was hotly contested affair by both teams, Atlético looked the more structured outfit and were full worth for a positive result in the end. It was a performance in the eyes of the Cavs manager reminiscent of Atlético Madrid, and one that will pose problems for his group if they start slow from the opening whistle on Wednesdsay.

"I think they do what their parent club does right, they start the game at you," Wheeldon Jr. said of Ottawa's win against the Eddies. "They're very tactically astute, you've got to be patient with them and we learned that the hard way in the Island Games."

Unfortunately for Ottawa, they'll be down at least one key player on Wednesday, though: Ryan Telfer, who was a key part of their attack against FC Edmonton, has been called up to the Trinidad and Tobago national team's Concacaf Gold Cup squad and thus won't be available.

In the only midweek match featuring two winners from the opening weekend, both sides will be eager to stay perfect and retain their early position atop the CPL table.


  • Triple M midfield trio: One of the major strengths Ottawa displayed in their opening win against the Eddies came in the midfield battle — largely thanks to the cohesion of Chris Mannella, Ben McKendry and Victor Martinez. The three central figures showed an organization clearly born of preseason familiarity as their ability to find one another in tight spaces gave FCE all sorts of trouble in the middle of the park. Mannella and McKendry both completed over 85% of their attempted passes while Martinez ultimately found the decisive finish with a lovely left-footed curler from outside the box. Quickly earning a reputation as the 'M&M&M' unit, the trio could be one Mista leans on throughout the Kickoff.​
  • Klomp dominant in debut: Replacing Dominick Zator at the back was one of Wheeldon Jr.'s biggest tasks of the offseason and in newcomer Daan Klomp, it appears he just might have a candidate. Klomp led all players on the pitch against York United in several notable categories including successful passes (61), clearances (6) and interceptions (4) — his 80 touches were second only to his defensive partner Mason Trafford with 82. While his name was relatively unknown before this season, Wheeldon Jr. says he was part of a crop of offseason additions identified specifically for their compatibility to Cavalry: "They play how we want to play, we want to play out of the back, we want to be tough when attacks come and I thought Daan Klomp was outstanding (against York.)" So far so good for the Dutch defender who could become a staple at the back for the Cavs.​
  • Less of a leash for starpower? While both teams picked up wins in their previous match, both Mista and Wheeldon Jr. clearly put some thought to the congestion of this run of matches when selecting their starting XIs and in substitution decisions. Cavalry in particular limited minutes for some of their more exciting attacking options as Mo Farsi and Sergio Camargo settled for just 45 apiece. Ottleti were slightly less cautious as they afforded 65-70 minutes for Mannella, Ryan Telfer and Malcolm Shaw in their attack before leaning on the bench to see out the closing 20'. As Wheeldon Jr. told reporters ahead of the match on Monday, his side "weren't going to reveal their cards right away" given this isn't tournament football. However, in a scenario where all three points are up for grabs late in this one, it will be interesting to see if one of or both managers are willing to throw caution to the wind to try and nab six points from a possible six to open the season strong.​


Atlético Ottawa wins: 1 || Cavalry FC wins: 0 || Draws: 0

Previous match:

August 27, 2020 – Atlético Ottawa 2-0 Cavalry FC


"Cavalry's a great team. Maybe we need to improve our rhythm with the ball, because their strikers, they have a very good press when they have the ball." — Mista, Atlético Ottawa coach

"They (Ottawa) may have the upper hand in terms of fitness levels at this point. but we've got a couple aces up our sleeve that we wish to play as well." — Tommy Wheeldon Jr., Cavalry FC coach

Make your match picks prior to kickoff at canpl.ca/predictor for a chance to win prizes, including the grand prize of a trip to the 2021 CPL Final!

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