2022 CPL Regular Season — Match #61 Pacific FC vs. Cavalry FC July 22, 2022 at 7:00 p.m. PT/10:00 p.m ET Starlight Stadium in Langford, British Columbia Watch Live: OneSoccer.ca & TELUS Ch. 980 // Tickets available here

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Two high-powered attacking teams go head to head once again this Friday night to open the weekend in the Canadian Premier League as Cavalry FC head to Vancouver Island to take on Pacific FC. Tommy Wheeldon Jr.'s Cavalry enter this match, for the first time since April, with a bitter taste in their mouths, having lost 1-0 at home to York United on Tuesday to end a club-record 11-game unbeaten streak. Prior to that, they'd been a perfect 5-0 at home this season, but it was their second loss to York (and their third loss overall this year) and they'll therefore be hungry to return to the winning ways they know so well. The Cavs still sit atop the CPL standings with an 8-4-3 record and 28 points, and their 27 goals scored on the season is good for second place in the league. They've earned at least a point in their last six away matches, and they'd hope to continue that trend this week against a tough opponent. Pacific, meanwhile, have been building up some strong form of their own lately. They too played their most recent match against York United, but James Merriman's side were more successful in their game, going to York Lions Stadium last Friday and winning 4-2, as Alejandro Díaz's hat-trick helped Pacific erase two York leads. As it stands, the Tridents are third in the league table with seven wins, five draws, and four losses, with 26 points (level with second-place Atlético Ottawa). Just two back of Cavalry, Pacific thus have a chance to return to first place for the first time since mid-June. Merriman's team has mostly been very good at Starlight Stadium this year, having won their first four home games in a row, but they haven't won any of their last four, with three draws and a frustrating 3-0 loss to HFX Wanderers in roughly the past two months. One of those draws came against Cavalry, in what was actually Pacific's most recent home match on June 30. That was a wild affair, in which Pacific went up 2-0 in the first half before Cavalry scored three to take a lead of their own. Díaz eventually scored an equalizer in the 74th minute to secure a 3-3 draw and a point for both sides. That game also saw a pair of red cards handed out, to Cavalry's David Norman Jr. and Pacific's Manny Aparicio -- both of whom will be available once more on Friday. Also of note in Langford this weekend is that Pacific will be celebrating Pride at this match, with $5 from every ticket sold going to the Victoria Pride Society (a donation that's being matched by Volkswagen Canada, as well as Pride rally towels available at the game for the first 1,500 fans to arrive at Starlight Stadium.
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  • Aparicio's return looms after false start in last Cavs clash: Last time these two sides met, much was made of Pacific FC midfielder Manny Aparicio making his return to the squad after missing the entirety of June with an injury. Aparicio came off the bench in the 20th minute of that game, but he was sent off just nine minutes later after a scuffle with Cavalry's David Norman Jr. Prior to his injury, Aparicio had been assembling a genuine Player of the Year case on Van Isle, running the show as Pacific and driving them to a 5-2-1 record with him in the lineup. In the five games he missed with injury, Pacific went 0-2-3, clearly struggling to link their midfield and attack without Aparicio's engine and creativity. On Friday, a healthy Aparicio should feature with his two-game suspension from that last Cavalry game now served. "He's worked very hard to come back and to get fit and get healthy," Pacific boss James Merriman said. "It's great to have him back in the group and in the team."​
  • Ruthlessness in attack expected from both sides: This contest features a pair of teams with a strong array of attacking options at their disposal. Pacific, who have played the last three games with a new-look 4-4-2 attacking setup, have now scored 10 goals in their last three matches. They've been far better at getting players into the box with this front four of Gianni Dos Santos, Alejandro Díaz, Djenairo Daniels, and Marco Bustos -- plus Josh Heard, whether he starts or comes off the bench. Cavalry, meanwhile, have been lethal with the likes of José Escalante and Sergio Camargo playing very well in attack recently. They're also a constant threat from set-pieces, with defenders like Karifa Yao and Daan Klomp who can get a head to most crosses to score. Both managers will hope for a less chaotic game than the last time these sides met, but both teams nonetheless offer a lot in attack. "[Pacific] are high on confidence, they're scoring goals for fun, but if they put men forward, they leave gaps behind them. So we've got to be very astute with it," said Tommy Wheeldon Jr. on Thursday.​
  • Must temper emotions in high-leverage contest: Both James Merriman and Tommy Wheeldon Jr. noted in their prematch press conferences that they would quite prefer for this game to finish 11 versus 11, unlike the last meeting which saw both sides reduced to 10 men for the last hour of the match. Manny Aparicio and David Norman Jr. were both sent off early in that game, and both José Escalante and Kunle Dada-Luke went on to pick up yellow cards that would see them also suspended for their team's subsequent game. In such an important game for both sides, with major league table implications, it's easy for tempers to run hot and emotions to bubble over, but both teams will feel they have to avoid getting sucked into post-whistle extracurriculars or conceding unnecessary fouls. "Hopefully both sides can play with 11 men on the pitch, I think then it'll become a different game," said Wheeldon this week. "It's new for us all when you're down a man on a bigger pitch."​


Atlético Ottawa wins: 2 || Valour FC wins: 4 || Draws: 0

Previous match:

June 1, 2022 — Valour 0-1 Atlético Ottawa


"You know the intensity and the fight and the consistency with the way Cavalry approaches games, so we need to know that and we need to match that intensity, match that fight -- which we did last match, we came out very strong and on the front foot. It's both teams that like to attack and play for 90 minutes, and neither team is going to stop." -- Pacific FC head coach James Merriman

"[Pacific] have got a great attack, they've got a good home record. They can mix it different ways, they can be physical when they need to be, they can be defensive when they need to be. I think this year they're a bit different in that they've lost a little bit of defensive structure they had in the past, and maybe gone a bit more gung-ho with a more attack-minded approach." -- Cavalry FC head coach Tommy Wheeldon Jr.

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