Match Preview — Cavalry FC vs. Pacific FC: Tridents head to Spruce Meadows for 2023 playoff rematch

2024 CPL Regular Season — Match #12
Cavalry FC vs. Pacific FC
April 28, 2024 at 3 p.m. MT / 2 p.m. PT
ATCO Field in Calgary, Alberta
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The third weekend of the 2024 Canadian Premier League season comes to an end at ATCO Field on Sunday, as Cavalry FC host Pacific FC in their CPL home opener.

Cavalry, who benefitted from a late Kris Twardek own goal to pick up a point in the capital last weekend, also played midweek in the Canadian Championship against Vancouver FC. Despite going down to ten men against the Eagles just after the hour mark at ATCO Field, Cavalry found an extra gear and scored the lone goal of the match just moments later off the head of Tobias Warschewski.

With their home record a major source of pride for the Cavs, they will want to get off to a good start on Sunday against a Pacific side they eliminated from the playoffs on this very pitch in October.

Pacific, meanwhile, have had over a week between matches, beating Valour FC 2-0 last Friday night at Starlight Stadium. The Tridents were boosted by some bold substitutions at halftime, scoring twice after the break to pick up their second consecutive win to open the 2024 season, and second clean sheet.

These Cavalry and Pacific sides have had some great battles over the years, in the regular season, playoffs, and Canadian Championship, but in 2023 the rivalry was tilted significantly in Cavalry’s favour. While the Tridents won the cup game between the two on penalties, Cavalry had the advantage in CPL action. After drawing their first league meeting of the season 1-1, Cavalry won the next three regular season meetings, including a 3-0 win on the final day of the season as they also celebrated with the CPL Shield that Pacific let slip through their fingers in the weeks prior.

Their sixth and final meeting of 2023 came in the aforementioned playoffs, where Cavalry beat the Tridents 2-1 at ATCO Field to book their spot in the CPL Final, which they went on to lose to Forge FC.


  • Can Cavalry build on Canadian Championship victory midweek?: Cavalry picked up their first competitive win of 2024 on Tuesday night, beating Vancouver FC 1-0 in their Canadian Championship preliminary round match at ATCO Field. After Shamit Shome was sent off around the hour mark for a poor challenge on Vasco Fry, Cavalry looked to be in some trouble against an Eagles side that has been very good offensively to start their league campaign. Instead, however, it was the Cavs who found the game’s first and only goal just five minutes after the red card — a towering header from Tobias Warschewski over VFC goalkeeper Callum Irving. It was a gutsy, resilient win for a Cavs side that picked up just one point from their two-game Ontario road trip to start their league campaign, and one that they will hope kicks them into high gear against a high-flying Pacific FC side that they beat four times in 2023 — including in the playoff semifinal.


  • Pacific look to continue perfect defensive record: Two games, two wins, zero goals conceded. It hasn’t been a flawless start to the season by any means for James Merriman’s Pacific FC side, but they were able to pick up a couple of good results at Starlight Stadium against the Halifax Wanderers and Valour FC. They beat the Wanderers 1-0 in their season opener, and Valour 2-0 last time out, but while it’s hard to expect them to continue that trend with a 3-0 win over the Cavs, it laid a strong foundation for what they hope will be another strong performance in Calgary on Sunday. Emil Gazdov has looked very sharp in goal for the Tridents, giving confidence to a backline that includes one of the league’s best defenders in Thomas Meilleur-Giguère, his young centre-back partner Paul Amedume, and newcomer Aly Ndom, among others. This defensive unit took a hit with the loss of Amer Didic to Atlético Ottawa, but the early returns from the new-look backline are promising.


  • Strong start key for both teams: All of Cavalry’s goals in all competitions to begin 2024 have come in the final 30 minutes of matches, and two of Pacific’s three came after drastic changes at halftime of last week’s win over Valour. It is important for both teams on Sunday to get off to a strong start in the first half, and try to have more control over the game than they have at times early in this 2024 season. Slow starts to games are a trend that Pacific in particular have been dealing with since last season, and it cost them a lot of points in the second half of 2023, as their place atop the table slipped away and into the hands of the Cavs. Both sides will come out firing in this one — Cavalry as they always do in front of their home fans at ATCO Field, and Pacific to try and spoil the party in the Cavs’ 2024 CPL home opener, and maintain their perfect record.


Cavalry wins: 14 || Pacific wins: 8 || Draws: 4


October 21, 2023 — Cavalry FC 2-1 Pacific FC


They start at home, they usually start well — I think at one point during last season they were 11 points ahead of us. It’s a marathon not a sprint. We’ve got a good record against them at home here, but we know they’re coming in with confidence so we’re looking forward to that.” — Cavalry FC head coach Tommy Wheeldon Jr

“We focus on ourselves. We know Cavalry, we know them well, we know how they play, we know what it’s like to go there and play there. We’ll be well prepared and we need to attack the game and focus on ourselves.” — Pacific FC head coach James Merriman