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Brave Cavalry FC beat Whitecaps, but are eliminated from Canadian Championship on away goals

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Cavalry FC went out of the 2024 Canadian Championship on away goals despite a brave 1-0 quarterfinal second leg win over Major League Soccer’s Vancouver Whitecaps in BC Place Tuesday night.

The tie ended 2-2. But Vancouver Whitecaps won the first leg 2-1 in Calgary two weeks ago, and advanced to the semifinals thanks to the two goals they scored on the road.

“I think right now, what I’m feeling is proud,” said Cavalry FC coach Tommy Wheeldon Jr. following the game. “Probably, the disappointment will come through when I watch the game again, how close it could have been. We just needed one more goal.

“One more goal. The reality is we’ve been separated by the Worldie from Johnson in the first leg.”

Cavalry FC earn first half lead

The MLS side began the match with an air of confidence and nearly improved their series lead early when Cyprian Kachwele forced a finger tip save from Cavalry FC keeper Marco Carducci 

Cavalry FC

Cavalry FC’s Marco Carducci makes a save as his club beats Vancouver Whitecaps 1-0 in their 2024 Canadian Championship quarterfinal second leg match at BC Place in Vancouver Tuesday, May 21, 2024. But the Whitecaps advanced to the next round on away goals. Photo: Salman Bhanji/Total Soccer News

But the Canadian Premier League’s Cavalry FC began Tuesday’s match knowing they needed to score at least twice to overturn their first leg defeat. And as a result the visitors soon began to grow into the match.

Their first clear opportunity fell to Cavalry FC’s William Akio in the 30th minute. The 25-year-old forward forced a save from Whitecaps keeper Isaac Boehmer when a deep cross put him through on goal with only the keeper to beat.

And it was Akio who eventually earned his club a deserved goal two minutes later. The left-winger drove at the Caps’ defence before sending in a low cross that was diverted into his own net by the unfortunate Ranko Veselinović.

The Whitecaps seemed to recover but were not able to breakdown a resilient Cavalry FC rearguard. Centre back Daan Klomp earned particular praise from his manager. The impressive Dutch defender produced many important tackles and blocked shots throughout the game.

“I thought Daan Klomp was outstanding,” said Wheeldon Jr. “For me, he was the best player on the pitch by a country mile. He got on the end of everything and progressed the ball very, very well.”

And it was Calgary’s club who carved out one last genuine chance before halftime. Malcolm Shaw met a Lleyton Brooks cross with his head in the third minute of stoppage time. But Trinidad and Tobago striker sent his effort over Boehmer’s cross bar.

“I think we need to apologize to our fans for our performance,” said Vanni Sartini, Whitecaps coach. “That was shameful.”

Whitecaps respond in second half

Sartini responded to his club’s poor first half performance with two substitutions at the break. First team regulars Ryan Gauld and Brian White replaced Cyprian Kachwele and Mathias Laborda.

The second half began brightly, with both clubs exchanging a couple half chances in the first three minutes. But the Whitecaps look the more likely to score, benefiting from the introduction of captain Gauld.

Giuseppe Bovalina probably should have scored in the 62nd minute, but saw his fluffed effort deflected for a corner. And Carducci made another full-stretch diving save two minutes later, this time to his right.

Cavalry FC beat Vancouver Whitecaps 1-0 in their 2024 Canadian Championship quarterfinal second leg match at BC Place in Vancouver Tuesday, May 21, 2024. But the Whitecaps advanced to the next round on away goals. Photo: Salman Bhanji/Total Soccer News

But Cavalry FC kept their hosts honest. Australian winger Lleyton Brooks pulled a shot past Boehmer’s near post in the 66th minute after some neat build up play.

Cavs keeper Carducci was again called into action when he bravely gathered the ball at the feet of onrushing Ryan Raposo in the 75th minute.

And the Cavs nearly capitalized on their keeper’s good play, but Cavs midfielder Jesse Daley saw a terrific effort saved by Boehmer after making some space for himself in the Caps penalty area.

But that’s as close as the Canadian Premier League club got to repeating their upset over the Whitecaps 2019. The Whitecaps will now face the winner of Pacific FC vs Atlético Ottawa in the semifinals.


About Author

Photographer and Writer | Stuart Gradon is soccer journalist and web communications professional. He covers Cavalry FC of the Canadian Premier League and Canada's national teams. He has also worked on assignment at FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015 and FIFA World Cup South Africa 2010.

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