2021 Canadian Championship -- Preliminary Round HFX Wanderers vs. AS Blainville August 17, 2021 at 6:30 pm ET/ 7:30 pm AT Wanderers Grounds, Halifax, Nova Scotia Watch Live: OneSoccer.ca // Tickets available here



MATCH PREVIEW

Two of Eastern Canada’s top clubs will face off Tuesday in a one-of-a-kind Canadian Championship matchup when Québec champions AS Blainville visit HFX Wanderers FC at Wanderers Grounds in a one-leg preliminary round tilt. Blainville, four-time consecutive Première Ligue de soccer du Québec winners entering their third Voyageurs Cup, heads to Nova Scotia looking to pull off an upset against a Wanderers side hungry to avenge back-to-back league losses to York United and Atlético Ottawa. Stephen Hart’s Wanderers side may be primed to find some momentum in cup football just as they did in their last CanChamp back in 2019, where they advanced to the third qualifying round, besting Vaughan Azzurri and Valour FC before falling 5-4 on aggregate to Ottawa Fury. Meantime, Blainville has also historically proven a difficult team in Voyageurs Cup play, besting League1 Ontario side Blue Devils FC (CPLers Anthony Novak of Cavalry FC and Diyaeddine Abzi of York United scored in that tie) in 2018 before falling to Ottawa and gave York9 FC, now York United, a difficult tie in 2019. Several high profile CPLers have come through AS Blainville in recent years including Wanderers players Omar Kriem, Stefan Karajovanovic, Pierre Lamothe, and Samuel Salter. Omar and Stefan featured for Blainville in their last Canadian Championship soirée – the 1-0 two-legged defeat to York9 FC. Cavalry FC standout winger Mo Farsi played both legs of that matchup. "Blainville is a good PLSQ team, one of the best and this year they have a lot of young players," Lamothe said before the match. "In a match like that, they will come very hungry – they will give everything." "I see it as a big game," fellow former Blainville standout Karajovanovic added. "There are lots of talented players there and in PLSQ – good tactical and technical level as well… There's so much intensity in that league with guys eager to move on or show themselves." The winner of Tuesday’s one-match tie will take on CF Montreal of MLS in the quarterfinal.


3 THINGS TO WATCH:

  • Blainville a team to watch: CanPL coaches will have their eyes peeled on Tuesday’s tilt as the next Farsi, Abzi, or Karajovanovic could appear for the Montreal-area side. The perennial PLSQ contenders won the 2020 title with current Wanderers striker Sam Salter winning the golden boot on a goal-a-game clip. This season hasn’t started as well as expected, with the side going 3-2-1 through the first six matchdays. The core of the side – featuring all-time leading goalscorer Pierre-Rudolph Mayard and club captain Bila Dicko-Raynauld – remains but COVID-19 effects and the ever-moving talent pipeline has left the team at midtable with two games at hand. Despite the turnover, longtime striker and former Montreal Impact standout Mayard leads the team this season with three goals.​
  • Will Wanderers rotate?: Each club handles cup competition differently – how will Stephen Hart approach Tuesday’s affair as the favourites? FC Edmonton fielded a much weaker side against Cavalry FC on Sunday and, reading between the lines, looked prepared to bow out of the Voyageurs Cup early. Hart played a top side against Ottawa on Sunday – previously injured Peter Schaale and Jérémy Gagnon-Laparé started their first matches in over a month while Jems Geffrard made a return to the lineup after extended duty with the Haitian national team. Is that a hint at potential changes or is the opportunity of playing MLS side CF Montreal too much to pass up? Blainville coach Emmanuel Macagno appears to expect a full-strength side...​
  • Blainville coach expecting difficult task: Speaking to Marc Tougas for PLSQ’s website, coach Emmanuel Macagno appears to be taking a more pragmatic approach to playing away at Wanderers Grounds: "To wait (without attacking) is a trap… Of course, we’ll try to close the spaces to not concede a goal, but we’ll also play our card when there are situations to do so. We’ll try not to only play in front of our penalty area… unless they’re very strong and force us to." Blainville captain Dicko-Raynauld echoed that sentiment, adding: "If we look at the matches we’ve played (in the Canadian Championship), the difference has really been a fraction of a second, where they’ve managed to score their goals… It’s important that the level of concentration is at 100 percent for the whole match."​

ALL-TIME SERIES

HFX Wanderers wins: 0 || AS Blainville wins: 0 || Draws: 0

Previous match:

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