2021 CPL regular season — Match #102 Cavalry FC vs. Valour FC October 30, 2021 at 3:30 pm ET/1:30 pm ET ATCO Field at Spruce Meadows, Calgary, Alberta Watch Live: OneSoccer.ca & TELUS Ch. 980 // Tickets available here

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Cavalry FC and Valour FC will meet in an all-important playoff matchup Saturday in Calgary. The home side Cavs are in the hunt for a crucial home-field advantage in the already-clinched playoffs while Winnipeg is staring down an underdog story for the ages – all set to be played in an ice-cold Calgary (more on that later). Valour is coming off of potentially their biggest win in recent memory on Tuesday when Phil Dos Santos’ group thrashed HFX Wanderers FC 3-0 at IG Field. A monumental result of itself, but made bigger by the fact Winnipeg staved off elimination and came within striking distance of the fourth and final playoff spot with the win. Saturday’s match is a must-win for the Winnipeg side with two matches remaining (including away to FC Edmonton) – they’re three points back of the Wanderers on fourth place while fifth place York United sit two points ahead with a game at hand. “We understand the moment we’re in,” Dos Santos said. “We're in a good place, the team is confident even considering the loss we had in Ottawa before Halifax." Cavalry, meanwhile, was the first team to clinch a CPL playoff spot in 2021 following a dramatic 2-1 win over Pacific FC last week. Tommy Wheeldon Jr.’s side is in the midst of a six-match unbeaten run and are real candidates to surge ahead for the top spot in the regular season – a neat crescendo aided by an ever-healing group of players that now includes Joe Mason and Tom Field with Mason Trafford, Nik Ledgerwood, Oliver Minatel, and Ali Musse on the mend. Can Calgary continue that rise? Especially going into their final two matches of the season against their two CPL top three competitors in Pacific (at home, Sunday Nov. 7) and away to Forge FC (away, Tuesday Nov. 16)?

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  • Snowy & cold day set for Calgary: Calgary and, in this case by extension, the CPL has been spared from wintry weather so far this season – Saturday will likely be the end of that trend, with freezing temperatures on the heels of a significant snowfall Friday. Environment Canada is calling for snow to fall throughout the day, ending up with between five and 10 centimetres of snow to land by overnight. Tomorrow will see a high of 0 with a windchill closer to -11 in the morning. Perfect weather for some football, right?
  • Valour riding a high: It’s hard not to discuss Valour’s fortunes without mentioning their result against Halifax – a swashbuckling affair that saw a Winnipeg side run their tail off for 90 minutes. Dos Santos will have bottled that energy in his side but, as he explained before the match, the team also has to show a level of discipline against a bruising and similarly high-octane Cavalry team with a rare week’s rest: "We don’t need to feel like we need to solve everything very early in the game… We will need to be disciplined defensively without backing off – there's a fine line there – I never want to ask our team to not to be aggressive and step on the opposition but we need to understand there are moments where we’ll be low and Cavalry will have possession… We just need to manage that better."
  • Valour playoff hopes hinge on Saturday: Meanwhile, Dos Santos has reason to believe his team can make the playoffs in a season-defining two-game set, adding: "I have to be bold to say that if we win the next two games, we will be in the playoffs," he said, qualifying as a "very personal" prediction. "Even if we have four points, we have a chance." If either Halifax or York can reach 38 points – with a win and a draw for the former or a win and two draws for the latter – they’ll eliminate a Winnipeg side that wins out. What’s notable, though, is Valour have an advantage when it comes to tiebreakers which, in the 2021 CPL season, stand in the following order; Total number of wins, goal differential, goals for, away goals differential, away goals for, home goals differential, home goals for, most U-21 Domestic Player Minutes during the regular season, and, finally, and unlikely coin toss or drawing of lots (tie of three or more Teams). Valour has more wins (nine) and a better goal differential (0) than both HFX and York, due to their red hot start in the Winnipeg bubble.


Valour FC wins: 0 || Cavalry FC wins: 6 || Draws: 3

Previous match:

Oct. 5, 2021 — Valour FC 0-0 Cavalry FC


"I think it's gonna be a difficult game for us. We’re going away to a place that’s difficult for everyone... But we also understand who we are, as a team, and the moment and importance of a result. Cavalry is going to come out with that energy as they look for the top seed in the playoffs. It’s up to us to manage that, too." - Valour FC head coach, Phillip dos Santos

"The next game is always the most important because in a slew of games that we’ve had, you never can take your eye off the next game. This is why we play the game. We’re in the running. We’re (three) games away from the season ending. And as thick and as congested as it’s been, this is the exciting time of the year." - Cavalry FC head coach Tommy Wheeldon Jr.

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