The much bandied about treble is on the table for the Cavalry.
Three goals in 10 minutes late in the second half powered the Cavs to a 3-1 victory over FC Edmonton to lock up the Canadian Premier League fall competition title in the regular season finale Saturday afternoon at Spruce Meadows’ ATCO Field.
“We made the analogy before the game that it’s like a golf game,” said Cavalry head coach Tommy Wheeldon Jr. “We’ve won the front nine, we’ve won the overall and we just needed to win the back nine with a par on the last hole.
“We did exactly that, three points.”
Cavalry, the spring season champions as well, trailed Forge FC by two points in the fall standings entering the final fixture. With three points, the Cavalry (11-2-5) vaulted over Forge with the two teams set to square off in the two-leg CPL finals, starting Oct. 26 in Hamilton and wrapping up Nov. 2 at Spruce Meadows.
“It’s going to be a tough road because Forge are an exceptional side and deserve to be in the final with us,” Wheeldon Jr. added. “We’re looking forward to it.”
It took a second-half surge to lock down top-spot in the 18-game fall competition.
The hosts were in control, but had nothing to show for it on the scoreboard before the 75th minute when its persistent press paid off.
Sergio Camargo broke the deadlock with a deft touch with the outside of his right foot on a low cross from teammate Jose Escalante.
“For sure there was pressure, we wanted to win this game to ultimately give us the fall season,” Camargo said. “We handle that pressure the right way. We’re a good team, we play under pressure every time we play because we’re always looking to win and that’s what makes us special.”
Four minutes later, substitute Jordan Brown doubled the lead with style, hammering in a powerful strike from well outside the box off the crossbar and just over the goal line.
Escalante added the third goal from the spot, making Eddies goalkeeper Dylon Powley go the wrong way on the penalty kick in the 85th minute.
The visitors got some late consolation when towering 6-foot-6 striker Easton Ongaro won a header in the box in the 89th minute to secure Edmonton’s first goal of the season against the Cavalry, in the fifth Al-Classico of the campaign.
“I’ve got to give credit to our players,” Wheeldon Jr. said. “Our players just refuse to lose. For us this was a dress rehearsal to play in a meaningful game where we can win something so it puts us in good stead for next week.”
The Cavalry’s dominance in the Alberta derby is a big part of its fall and spring titles. The Cavs earned four wins and a draw in the five meetings and outscored the Eddies by an 8-1 count to comfortably take the Wildrose Cup, the title created by the supporters group of both teams.
“They deserve it as much as anyone,” said Camargo of the supporters. “They were our 12th man the whole season so it’s as special for us as it is for them.”
For more information go to cavalryfc.canpl.ca