Last weekend, I asked HFX Wanderers FC coach Stephen Hart if he thought the Spring season was pretty well over. With 15 points out of five league games, had Cavalry built an insurmountable lead?

"I still would like to have a good run at the first season, or whatever is left of it," Hart said. "I’m not a person who’s going to give up on something and say let’s worry about something that’s way in the future."

Sure, coaches will always talk bravely. They will always talk about putting up a fight until their teams are mathematically eliminated.

But, when it comes to Valour FC, FC Edmonton, and Hart’s Wanderers, they might be showing their cards this weekend. We may just get some insight into how their coaches truly feel about their chances to make valiant spring season comebacks.

FC Edmonton hosts Valour, while HFX hosts Pacific FC. But the Eddies, Valour, and the Wanderers are all in the Canadian Championship, and have to play Cup games on Wednesday.

If we see these teams rotate squads on Saturday so they can have "A" teams ready for Wednesday, these will be large statements of intent. We will see if any — or all — of the three coaches prioritize the Cup over the league. Or, for the teams that do start their "A" teams Saturday, we know they believe the fight is still on, and they’ll figure out Wednesday when it comes.

Now, Hart might be a bit of an exception to this, as he’s dealing with so many injuries and knocks that he might not have the luxury of rotating. Eddies coach Jeff Paulus is dealing with a team that’s played just four times and needs games to build chemistry, too. So, there are mitigating factors at play.

But the truth is harsh. HFX is 11 points behind Cavalry. Both have five Spring season games left on their schedules. HFX would need to win four out of five, and have Cavalry lose four out of five, to be close. And Wanderers would also need help in the standings because they’d need to jump five other teams to get to the Cavs.

The Eddies are also 11 points behind, but they have a game in hand. What’s an extra game when the gap is 11 points, though? Paulus suggested earlier this season that, in a 10-game Spring season, if one team gets up by six points or more over the field, what basically amounted to a two-game lead would be insurmountable. Valour is nine points back, with five games left.

When you have a long look at the league table, your heart tells you that all three coaches should now be prioritizing the Cup. On Saturday, when we see the starting lineups, we’ll know which of those three bosses agrees with us.

It’s hard to imagine we’d be at this point at basically the halfway mark of the Spring season. But, with Cavalry running the table (so far) and five of the seven teams sporting losing records, the standings look, well, bizarre. A team that has lost three of its first five matches (Valour) is in third place. Third.

But a Cup competition is a great motivator — and it wipes a lot of slates clean. The chance to play MLS competition or the Ottawa Fury in the next round would be more than an adequate consolation prize for a team that may decide to treat Saturday’s regular-season games with discretion.

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