The bete noire. The bogey team. No matter where your team is in the standings, there's that one team that makes you lose sleep the night before the game. For some reason, your side just doesn't match up well with that one team that drives you crazy. It might not necessarily be your most heated rival; instead, it's the team that always seems to get the better of your side. If you are a bogey team, you are Arsenal's Stoke City. You are Juventus's Genoa. You are France to Brazil's World Cup hopes. So, in this column, let's look at each Canadian Premier League team's most hated match-up. Well, sort of. There's an exclusion. With Cavalry FC having only two losses — and, arguably, both of those coming after the spring season title was all but wrapped up — we're excluding coach Tommy Wheeldon Jr.'s men from this exercise. Or, we could just make Cavalry everybody else's bogey team and head home. (We're not doing that)

A lot has been made of Edmonton's fall-season visit to Hamilton in sweltering conditions, where the visitors played a conservative game, got credit with one shot on target but won 2-1 thanks to an own-goal decider. A narrative emerged that somehow Edmonton rode its luck in that game. But look at the bigger picture. Forge beat FCE rather handily in their first meeting. In the three games since, Edmonton has two wins and a draw. And, in the draw, you could argue it was Forge who was lucky to get a point, as the Eddies conceded a comical goal thanks to a collision between goalkeeper Connor James and defender Amer Didic. Truth is, in their last three games, FCE has found a way to limit Forge's talented midfield. They've often forced midfield dynamo Tristan Borges to have to beat two men. And the Eddies have used their size advantage to come up with set-piece or headed goals to make the difference.

Valour has a modest 18 points thus far. But seven of them have come out of games with the Eddies. In the last three meetings against each other, FCE has managed to secure just one point — and that includes two fall-season matchups. If the Eddies fail in their effort to get the second spot in the CPL Championship, it will be the team's failure to beat Forge that will be their undoing. Michael Petrasso has stood out in two of the Valour wins, running at defenders, scoring and drawing penalties. Through the NASL years, FC Edmonton had players who consistently plagued them; no more than Tommy Heinemann, who scored against the Eddies in the Canadian Championship and came up with some big match-deciding goals in league play. Petrasso's not quite at Heinemann level yet, but he's getting close.

This is the point where it's OK to say that the writer of this article must be drunk. That's because York9 pumped six goals past the Wanderers the last time they met. But, and this is an awfully big but, that 6-2 result marked the first time coach Jimmy Brennan's men got the best of the Halifax club in four tries. And, that six-goal outburst came when Wanderers were in the midst of a brutal road trip that saw them travel more than 18,500 km in three weeks. The Wanderers were tired, depleted and ripe for the picking. But in three other matches where the scales were more balanced, York scored just once in 270 minutes against the Wanderers. So, there's an argument to be made to throw out the 6-2 as an outlier and use the other three matches as the baseline measure for this season series.
PACIFIC FC: Hates to face FORGE FC

They've only played twice so far, and the sample size is small, but Forge has scored three times in each encounter, and has taken all six points. If there is a silver lining for Pacific, it's that Emery Welshman is no longer in the CPL. The former Forge striker scored in each of the two previous matches against coach Michael Silberbauer's men. They play each other on Sept. 4 and Sept. 28, so the question will be if the Hamilton side can continue their trend of turning games against Pacific into goal-fests.

This is where the "can't pick the Cavalry" rule really comes into play. That's because Wanderers Ground has been a fortress for coach Stephen Hart's men, save for when Cavalry comes to town. The Cavs are undefeated in three visits out east. So, the next choice comes with a bit of a caveat. Wanderers have lost both of their matchups to the Eddies, but both games were at Clarke Stadium. One of those losses came right at the end of the spring season, and the second came as part of that brutal road trip that was discussed in the York9 section of this article. So, even though FCE has six points out of two meetings with HFX, and haven't conceded a goal either, the team has yet to make the trip out to Nova Scotia.
VALOUR FC: Hates to face FORGE FC

If you want one big reason why Valour finished at the foot of the spring-season table and didn't get off to a flying start in the fall campaign, look no further at the Winnipeg season's inability to beat Forge. In the derby between the two founding members of the CPL, Forge has two spring-season wins, two fall-season wins, and has outscored Valour 10-3. And, well, Kadell Thomas's late July goal where he danced through two Valour defenders, then chipped the ball over Valour goalkeeper Tyson Farago and centre back Jordan Murrell … well, that play alone is enough to scar Valour fans for the remainder of the season.

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