Cavalry finally find net — and win column — again in CPL bubble

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Finally, a goal.


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Then another one.

And with that, Cavalry FC ended its goal-less and winless skid that’s plagued the Calgary club for the last few weeks in ‘The Kickoff’ bubble of the 2021 Canadian Premier League campaign.

Yes, the Cavs (3-2-2) finally got off the mat Saturday night in Winnipeg, where they got goals from a pair of newcomers in a 2-1 victory over HFX Wanderers FC (1-3-2).

“Always good to get back to winning ways,” said a relieved Cavalry GM/head coach Tommy Wheeldon Jr. “The boys earned it with some clever tactical play.”

Indeed, brilliant build-up was big for the team on this night.

But finally there was finish up front.

That came courtesy of a off-season additions Anthony Novak — late in the first half — and Ali Musse — early on in the second. It was the first goal for each attacker.

And another new forward to the club, Ahinga Selemani, did nifty work to set up both goals.

“Delighted that the front three had a positive output, as their work leading to this was deserving,” said Wheeldon Jr. “We shifted things tactically with our formation to put another attacker higher up, as we moved to a 3-4-3 formation.”

Novak finally kicked his first goal in a Cavalry kit in first-half stoppage time.

The strike off the close post, after being sent in all alone on a perfect chip-pass from Selemani, ended the club’s four-plus game run without a tally.

Then in the 52nd minute, Selemani worked hard to free up the ball in the penalty area, and Musse collected it before changing direction and chipping a shot that glanced off an HFX defender and past goalkeeper Christian Oxner.


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Cavs midfielder Joe Di Chiara was huge in helping set up both goals, as well.

“I thought the front three worked tirelessly,” continued Wheeldon Jr. “And what’s pleasing is two out of that front three get a goal and the other one gets an assist, so credit where it’s due.”

The struggling Wanderers, who celebrated a nil-nil draw the last time out against the Cavs on July 3, proved to be just what the Calgary side needed.

But even with Cavalry controlling the game, they still got one back late — on a goal by Samuel Salter off a turnover — spoiled goalkeeper Tyson Farago’s clean sheet and made things tight in the closing minutes.

“We knew HFX would keep going and make things tough for us,” added Wheeldon Jr. “They are well-organized, very physical and a game fresher than us.”


The Cavs’ Starting XI was: Farago; defenders Mason Trafford, Daan Klomp and Karifa Yao; midfielders Di Chiara, Mo Farsi, Nik Ledgerwood and Jose Escalante; and forwards Novak, Musse and Selemani … The defence was solid when needed Saturday night. “Sometimes the best form of defence is attack,” Wheeldon said. “Now and again when you throw on defensive players you’re just shutting up shop, putting the bunker, and you invite Halifax on. They’re a physical side, they’ve got a lot more energy, so why not go the other way?” … Next up is a rematch Thursday (6 p.m., with reigning two-time champ Forge FC (3-3), which saddled the Cavs with their first of two straight losses — their only drops of the season so far — a few weeks back.

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