Cavalry delivers 'great performance' to defeat nemesis Forge, snaps string of draws

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Finally, another win for Calvary FC …

Made extra special in that it came over nemesis Forge FC.

Toby Warschewski’s fifth goal of the Canadian Premier League campaign was the difference for the home side in a 1-0 victory on ATCO Field at Spruce Meadows.

A much-needed one for only the second ‘W’ of what has been half-full, half-empty season for Calgary’s professional men’s footie side.

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“Mr. (Ron) Southern used to always say, ‘If you want it badly, you get it badly,’” said Cavalry gaffer Tommy Wheeldon Jr., recalling the words of Ron Southern, who co-founded Spruce Meadows with his wife, Margaret. “So we didn’t want it badly — we wanted it greatly. And I think that was a great performance.

“We had a reflection of … ‘What are we missing? We’re missing goals, we’re missing making blocks’ … And so we said, ‘Look, let’s lean into who we are in possession. Let’s make them uncomfortable. And I thought we did.”

Cavalry FC vs. Forge FC
Cavalry FC’s Sergio Camargo tries to go around Forge FC’s Malik Owolabi-Belewu on ATCO Field at Spruce Meadows on Saturday, June 8, 2024. Photo by Jim Wells /Postmedia

Warschewski’s goal in the 59th minute — combined with goalkeeper Marco Carducci’s second clean sheet of the 2024 CPL campaign — snapped a Cavalry run of four straight draws.

They were also fit to be tied after drawing in six of the league season’s first nine matches.

And against Forge, a one-goal lead never seems safe — and wasn’t until the final whistle blew.

“We have to be brave, because Forge always has a chance or two,” said Wheeldon, who watched Carducci make a brilliant save late off a Forge free kick from just outside the area. “Probably that game was the least they looked like scoring a goal in any of their games this season, so credit our boys on both sides of the ball.”

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For a long time, despite immense pressure by Wheeldon’s crew, it was looking again like another draw for the Calgary club.

Early on, Cavalry was all over Forge, forging more than a couple of chances to take the lead. Included were opportunities in tight on goalkeeper Christopher Kalongo by defender Eryk Kobza — on an awkward half-volley attempt — and midfielder Charlie Trafford — on a header off a corner kick — mostly set up on sublime deliveries by right winger Fraser Aird.

The attack-minded trio of Warschewski, Lleyton Brooks and Sergio Camargo provided plenty of pressure, too.

Cavalry FC vs. Forge FC
Cavalry FC’s Fraser Aird gets a shot away in front of Forge FC’s Daniel Parra on ATCO Field at Spruce Meadows on Saturday, June 8, 2024. Photo by Jim Wells /Postmedia

“We just trust ourselves,” Warschewski said. “We created chances in the first half. So we knew we could create chances in the second half, too. We believed in ourselves, and we deserved the goal.”

Indeed, the home side continued to pressure in the second half, and it finally paid off with Warschewski’s strike — a nice knock-in after Aird delivered a pass along the ground into the penalty area from the right corner of the field.

“It was a great play from us … from left side to the right side in two passes,” Warschewski said. “It was a great ball in front from Fraser.

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“The ball was just in front of me, and I tapped it in. If he shows up every game like that, he’s got a great impact for our team.”

The impact of the win boosts Cavalry on the CPL table to 2W-6D-1L and just one point — suddenly — back of the logjam in second place.

With the loss — a third in four league tilts — Forge falls to 4-1-3 and sits in a pileup with Vancouver FC and Pacific FC on 13 points.

Atlético Ottawa (5-3-0) is rolling along in first at 18 points.

Cavalry FC vs. Forge FC
Cavalry FC’s Daan Klomp (left) and Forge FC’s Kwasi Poku battle for the ball on ATCO Field at Spruce Meadows on Saturday, June 8, 2024. Photo by Jim Wells /Postmedia

“I think we were too sloppy on the ball,” said Forge star Alexander Achinioti-Jönsson.

“It was poor,” agreed Forge boss Bobby Smyrniotis. “It wasn’t very good. A lot of easy mistakes. We just made uncharacteristic mistakes. It’s something that doesn’t happen very often, but it happened (Saturday).”

“We worked hard for that,” added Warschewski. “And I think from first minute to 90th minute, we deserved that win.”

Next up for Cavalry is a visit to the Okanagan to help showcase the CPL in a potential expansion market. That Father’s Day game goes against host Vancouver next Sunday at Kelowna’s Apple Bowl (3 p.m., OneSoccer,

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Malcolm Shaw scored just six minutes into his start with Trinidad & Tobago in World Cup qualifying action, helping his mother’s homeland side escape elimination with a 7-1 win over Bahamas in Saint Kitts & Nevis. The Cavalry forward also scored in the 66th minute of the must-win contest in Concacaf World Cup qualifying for Caribbean countries. “That’s an embarrassment of riches for when we go to Kelowna next week,” said Wheeldon of learning of Shaw’s performance. “We’re delighted for Malcolm.” … Cavalry’s Starting XI was: goalie Carducci; defenders Aird, Kobza, Daan Klomp and Tom Field; midfielders Trafford, Camargo, Shamit Shome and Diego Gutiérrez; and forwards Brooks and Toby Warschewski … The club’s subs were: goalie Jack Barrett; defender Callum Montgomery; midfielders Lucas Dias, Jesse Daley, Max Piepgrass and Niko Myroniuk; and forward Willy Akio … And the Cavs’ scratches were: goalie Mitchell Barrett (thumb); defenders Michael Harms, Bradley Kamdem Fewo and Caden Rogozinski; midfielder Maël Henry (hamstring); and forwards Shaw and Ali Musse (ankle).

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Tommy Wheeldon Jr.
Cavalry FC GM/head coach Tommy Wheeldon Jr. celebrates a 1-0 victory over Forge FC on ATCO Field at Spruce Meadows on Saturday, June 8, 2024. Photo by Jim Wells /Postmedia

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