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Opinion: New Cavalry FC signing will push Escalante forward, where he belongs

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Cavalry FC announced the signing of left-back Bradley Kamdem Monday.

“Bradley is a brilliant addition to our squad,” said Cavalry FC head coach Tommy Wheeldon Jr in a club statement. “He is a very intelligent defender, with a lovely left foot and outstanding athleticism.”

And Kamdem will fill a void Cavalry FC’s coach has been dealing with since the start of the 2023 season.

But Kamdem’s signing should also have a significant ripple effect, as Wheeldon Jr can now unleash winger José Escalante further forward, where he belongs.

Escalante willing to serve as defender when needed

Wheeldon Jr has played Escalante as a left-sided defender in all of Cavalry’s first three games of the 2023 season, due to necessity. Calgary’s club began the season without an experienced natural left-back.

Having Escalante’s tenacity, and willingness to serve, at left-back was his solution for the left-sided defensive gap.

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And Escalante has performed this role for Cavalry FC previously. He sat back as a left-sided defender when Cavalry FC  for much of the 2021 season, when the club had similar issues at full-back.

But Escalante is best deployed further forward as a dedicated winger where his pace, skill, and combativeness can more frequently influence the attack.

Cavalry FC better served by attacking Escalante

The stats back this up. Escalante scored four goals in each of the two seasons he was deployed as an attacking winger, in 2019 and 2022. He also tallied nine assists total during those seasons. And Escalante picked up the fans’ player of the year award in 2022 as an orthodox winger.

Compare this to only the single goal and three assists he garnered in 2021, and it’s easy to see why Cavalry FC fans would rather see their fiery Honduran winger further forward.

Love him, as Cavalry FC fans do, or hate him, as almost all other CPL fans do, there’s no denying the benefit of an Escalante in full-on attack mode.

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Cavalry FC is certainly a better team with Escalante breaking into the opposition’s penalty area.

But it can also be argued that the Canadian Premier League, as a spectacle, is also better served with Escalante, with his antics and aura of chaos, regularly threatening opposing defenders.

Few players get fans up on their feet, whether to cheer or jeer, as consistently as Escalante.

Escalante is an entertainer. And entertainers need to be on the mainstage.

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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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