Cavalry ruthless against Vancouver in collecting first win of CPL campaign

Offence finds its footing, led by strikers Toby Warschewski and Charlie Trafford, in no-doubter over visiting Vancouver FC

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Tommy Wheeldon Jr. wanted ruthlessness from his offence.

The Cavalry FC gaffer got that — and then some — Friday night in a 3-1 no-doubter over visiting Vancouver FC at ATCO Field.

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In pleading for his footie charges to finally score its first win of the 2024 Canadian Premier League campaign, they responded in kind — and in electric fashion — highlighted by Toby Warschewski’s brace and Charlie Trafford’s first-ever goal for his hometown club.

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“It was a fun one,” said Trafford, moments after the good-vibes night at Spruce Meadows. “I thought it was very good. We go get three — coulda had more probably.

“It felt comfortable — it felt clinical.”

Indeed, dominant Cavalry (1-2-1) could’ve made it worse for Vancouver FC (2-0-2) in front of 2,876 fans.

“We had a bit of something from everyone,” said Wheeldon on his 45th birthday. “And I actually thought it could’ve been more.

“I like the way they responded.”

Just like two weeks back to kick off the Canadian Championship with a 1-0 victory over visiting Vancouver FC, it was Warschewski with the goal to crack open scoring.

And — again — it came off his head, as he directed a perfect delivery from well out — again — by teammate Fraser Aird to — again — beat goalkeeper Callum Irving.

The Aird-to-Warshewski connection is shaping up to be exciting execution for Cavalry.

But the excitement in the 26th minute was nothing compared to that of the next goal — Trafford’s terrific run-and-touch in the 38th.

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Cavalry FC
Cavalry FC’s Charlie Trafford celebrates his first-half goal against Vancouver FC on ATCO Field at Spruce Meadows on Friday, May 3, 2024. Photo by Jim Wells /Postmedia

“I can’t remember it — blacked out, I think,” said the 31-year-old Trafford, of a dazzling effort that saw him collect the ball at midfield and sprint all the way into the box before left-footing it strong into the far side beyond Irving.

“It was brilliant to see,” said Wheeldon of the veteran’s goal. “I think he thought he was Paul Pogba, and he kept going and going and going.”

“Space just kept opening up,” continued Trafford of his first goal in 50-plus games for Cavalry. “I don’t think their team knew why I was up there. I enjoyed it — I’m not going to lie about it. I’ve been getting a lot of stick not scoring yet here, so I have to start running forward with the ball.

“People thought it was going to take me longer than (cousin) Mason (Trafford) to score my first goal, and I couldn’t let that happen.”

The Cavs kept up the pressure to start the second half, eventually scoring again after Lleyton Brooks’ shot was stopped by the arm of defender Matteo Campagna in the penalty area, giving the hosts a free shot from the spot. Warschewski stepped up and made no mistake on the penalty kick, labelling it high past the veteran Irving in the 60th minute.

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At the other end, it was nearly a third-straight clean-sheet for Marco Carducci, who — again behind brilliant defence — surrendered just a Moses Dyer 81st-minute goal on a cross into the box that saw the striker run through the Cavs goalie on the play.

The win pulls Cavalry even with Vancouver FC in the standings on points — each with six apiece in behind the three current front-runners in Forge FC (3-0-0), Atlético Ottawa (2-1-0) and Pacific FC (2-1-0).

And next up for the Cavs is the other VanCity crew — Major League Soccer’s Vancouver Whitecaps — for a much-anticipated home leg of the two-game Canadian Championship second-round series Tuesday at ATCO Field (7 p.m., OneSoccer,

Cavalry FC vs. Vancouver FC
Cavalry FC keeper Marco Carducci collides with Vancouver FC’s Moses Dyer on ATCO Field at Spruce Meadows on Friday, May 3, 2024. Dyer received a yellow card. Photo by Jim Wells /Postmedia


Cavs attacker Ali Musse went down early and was taken out after the club’s first goal. “It wasn’t good,” Wheeldon said. “He turned on it and got caught. I don’t think it was a nasty tackle or anything. It was just a bit of an innocuous (collision) between him and Davey Norman, and he couldn’t run it off. We’ll have to assess him. He could be doubtful for Tuesday, unfortunately.” Defender Tom Field also came off halfway through the game and could also be sidelined for the Whitecaps game … Cavalry’s Starting XI was: goalkeeper Carducci; defenders Aird, Field, Daan Klomp and Bradley Kamdem Fewo; midfielders Trafford, Sergio Camargo and Shamit Shome; and forwards Brooks, Musse and Warschewski … The club’s subs were: goalie Jack Barrett; defender Callum Montgomery; midfielders Lucas Dias, Max Piepgrass and Diego Gutiérrez; and forwards Willy Akio and Malcolm Shaw … The Cavs’ scratches were: keeper Mitchell Barrett; defenders Eryk Kobza (pinched nerve), Michael Harms and Caden Rogozinski; and midfielders Jesse Daley (leg), Niko Myroniuk and Maël Henry (hamstring).

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Cavalry FC vs. Vancouver FC
Vancouver FC’s Paris Gee stops Cavalry FC’s Lleyton Brooks on ATCO Field at Spruce Meadows on Friday, May 3, 2024. Photo by Jim Wells /Postmedia

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