The Canadian Premier League Shield is coming to Spruce Meadows.
Cavalry FC (14-7-5) locked up the CPL regular season title on Saturday after taking care of business with a 1-0 road victory over York United in the afternoon then got some help on the out-of-town scoreboard in the evening with second place Pacific being held to a 3-1 loss to get its firm grasp on the trophy.
“This club puts so much into this, the Spruce Meadows group they do such a good job for us,” said Cavalry midfielder Charlie Trafford. “At the end of the day, they’re trying to build the game here, but we’re a professional team and they demand trophies, we say such good things about our fans and what they bring to us, but at the end of the day, they demand trophies.
“And the gaffer, he’s here to win trophies, that’s why we’re all here.”
As the regular season champions, the Cavalry earn the opportunity to host the CPL playoff semifinal on Oct. 14 against the No. 2 seed with a shot at a direct qualification into the championship match under the format introduced for the 2023 season.
Additionally, the regular season title winners earn automatic entry in the 2024 Concacaf Champions Cup. The competition will feature the likes of Lionel Messi and Inter Miami and the Vancouver Whitecaps out of the MLS as well as Mexico City’s Club América.
“Every game matters because it does, whether you get a trophy and qualification into the champions league and that’s fantastic,” said Cavalry FC head coach Tommy Wheeldon Jr. “I always think the purists enjoy the long haul of the 28-game season and the supporters love the excitement of the playoffs and we have both, let’s lean into it because it’s brilliant.
“I like the way the draw is made because it puts more weight on the 28-game season than on someone having a good three, four games lightning in a bottle kind of run.”
In the Sept. 23 clash at York, the Cavs found the breakthrough six minutes before halftime.
Striker Myer Bevan found room behind the defence and cut across a well-placed cross for Sergio Camargo to tap into the net for the attacking midfielder’s sixth tally of the campaign.
Marco Carducci earned his seventh clean sheet of the season and his fourth in the past nine games as the Cavs’ team defence has solidified during the stretch drive.
“We’re seeing what we saw when he went through his cancer battle, a remarkable human being that’s a talented footballer,” Wheeldon Jr. said of the goalkeeper. “What he’s got now is a new lease on life, there’s a calmness to him, there’s a composure to him. He can play with his feet, he can come out and take big shots or blocks or crosses.
“It’s remarkable to be on this journey with him.”
The season series concludes with the Cavalry taking nine of 12 points from York United in four meetings.
After starting the season winless in its first five road matches, the Cavs bucked the trend and finished with a 6-4-4 record away from home.
“That’s something we talked about in the offseason, that we want to perform better on the road,” said Camargo, to OneSoccer post-match. “Last year we had 17 total points and this year we got to 22, we’ve patched our mark that we wanted to get to and we’ve kept our good record at home.
“We knew if we did both of those things that was going to put us in a good position to win the league.”
It’s back to Spruce Meadows for the final two Cavalry fixtures with Valour FC visiting ATCO Field on Sept. 29 and Pacific FC arriving for the regular season finale on Oct. 7.
For more information, visit cavsfc.com.