Pacific FC and Cavalry FC will have something in common tonight at 7 p.m. PT in Calgary in the quarter-finals of the Canadian Championship. Both Canadian Premier League clubs have beaten the Vancouver Whitecaps of Major League Soccer in the competition for the Voyageurs Cup. Island-based PFC made it to the first-ever BC Derby and Cavalry FC in 2019 last month.
But that is exactly what the Cup game is all about, which over the years has been littered with defeated Goliaths and heroic little Davids around the world.
“These are two CPL teams that have knocked the Whitecaps out of competition for the last two times. It shows how our league is growing and such results will drive the league, ”said PFC head coach Pa-Modou Kah.
The winner of PFC-Cavalry FC reaches the semi-finals of the Canadian championship and meets the winner of today’s quarter-finals between the seven-time champions Toronto FC of the MLS and York United of the CPL.
On the other side of the draw, Forge FC of Hamilton defeated Valor FC of Winnipeg 2-1 in an all-CPL quarterfinal duel and awaits the winner of today’s game in Halifax between the HFX Wanderers of the CPL and CF Montreal of the MLs.
The sometimes blatant monetary discrepancies between the teams show why fans all over the world view cup games, which are called cup ties in global football jargon, with such fascination and intrigue. The Toronto FC team player payroll this MLS season is $ 17 million, second only to Inter-Miami at $ 17.8 million. CF Montreal is an MLS 11 placed $ 12.3 million and the Whitecaps is an MLS 27. and last place of $ 8.7 million. In comparison, CPL teams have a salary cap for seasonal players between 650,000 and 850,000 Cdn.
A place in the CONCACAF Champions League is at stake for the Voyageurs Cup winner.
Cup games around the world have a very special feel. PFC is trying to avoid that emotional roller coaster ride, although the duel between the CPL-leading Tridents (10-3-6) and the runner-up cavalry (9-4-5) appears to be a blast.
“Some teams play for the occasion, but we don’t,” said Kah.
“We’ll treat it like a normal game.”
However, PFC rested many of its usual starters on Sunday in the 1-1 CPL draw on Sunday at Starlight Stadium against basement resident Atletico Ottawa.
Cavalry, who defeated FC Edmonton of the CPL 2-0 in the opening round, won the quarter-final home date against PFC with a coin flip. The Tridents, who annoyed the Whitecaps 4-3 in the first round in front of 5,000 spectators at Starlight Stadium, would have liked to have their home crowd backed, but are not concerned about Cavalry’s home advantage at ATCO Field at Spruce Meadows.
“It’s a cup game and we play it at home or away. The game is the game, ”said Kah.
It’s the latest iteration of one of the CPL’s best match-ups.
“We know the cavalry has Al Classico [the name given to its games against Alberta-rival FC Edmonton]but PFC Cavalry is a brewing rivalry and all the games between us are exciting and fun, ”said Kah.
He said he wasn’t expecting anything else tonight.
PFC leads the season streak 2-1-1, but Cavalry FC leads the all-time streak 6-3-2.
– With a file from The Canadian Press
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