CAVALRY FC 3
PACIFIC FC 2
The Vancouver Whitecaps might want to think twice about starting anything less than their MLS regulars against Cavalry FC on Wednesday in Calgary.
The Canadian Premier League spring champions started out the fall season Saturday much as they ended the spring campaign, with a 3-2 victory over Pacific FC before 2,399 fans at Westhills Stadium.
PFC gave the Cavalry all it could handle, but it wasn’t enough. Moral victories don’t show up in the standings.
“Calgary is not the championship team for nothing,” said PFC head coach and former Danish international Michael Silberbauer.
PFC made only two defensive mistakes in the first half, but Cavalry punished both of them, as good teams do.
“They made us chase the game,” Silberbauer said of Cavalry’s 2-0 first-half lead.
“Our second half showed we can compete against the best.”
Cavalry showed no complacency, despite having a berth into league final sewn up because of the spring-season title at 8-2.
“The boys like winning and want to win the fall season, as well,” said Cavalry head coach Tommy Wheeldon Jr.
Cavalry also dispatched PFC in the first round and Forge FC in the second to advance to meet the Whitecaps in the third round of the Canadian Championship for the Voyageurs Cup.
“I grew up in the country [England] of the FA Cup,” Wheeldon said.
“It’s a great opportunity to play an MLS team and our boys are fully deserving of it. It should be a cracker. We are going to try to catch them by surprise. I think we’ll play well against them.”
PFC pressed in the second half, but a goal by captain Ben Fisk to make it 2-1 was answered almost immediately by Sergio Camargo’s second goal of the game and fifth road goal of the season.
“You felt the stadium deflate a little bit [after the 3-1 goal],” said PFC captain and Canada-capped Fisk. “We got hit on the counter-attack a lot.”
Cavalry would need that goal as Terran Campbell headed home a smart Jose Hernandez pass at 81 minutes to again make it a one-goal game.
“We’ve played our best football recently, including the second half today,” Fisk said. “We are going to be a good team in the second half of the season.”
PFC (0-1 in fall and 3-5-2 in spring) beat Cavalry 3-1 last Monday in the last game of the spring season, but Cavalry had rested seven starters, having already clinched the spring championship.
Camargo scored off a midfield turnover, then Nico Pasquotti in the first half Saturday for Cavalry. Saudi Under-20 player and PFC prodigy Ahmed Alghamdi, only 17 and three weeks out of high school, learned a cruel defensive lesson at the pro level on Pasquotti’s goal, which appeared to be offside. Alghamdi looked to go upfield after what he thought was a Cavalry turnover, so Pasquotti was left unguarded at the far post and headed in the cross. “I told Ahmed to keep his head up [proudly]. It’s what being a pro is all about,” Fisk said.
PFC hosts Forge FC of Hamilton next Saturday at Westhills.