The Al Classico was a tale of two halves.
One dominated by host FC Edmonton.
The other mastered by visiting Cavalry FC.
The difference was the home side still doesn’t have a goal to show on its turf of Clarke Stadium, while Cavalry FC proved it can score anywhere, with three goals during a 10-minute span in the second half to secure a 3-0 victory Saturday afternoon.
Sergio Camargo had the first two goals for the visitors, and Nico Pasquotti followed up with insurance in the 77th minute, sending the Cavs to another win in the Canadian Premier League. They are a perfect 6-0 on the season — this one coming in their home red jerseys despite being on the road.
The Eddies, meanwhile, drop to 1-4-1, sustaining another loss to their provincial rivals. On May 18, the Cavs scored a 1-0 victory at Spruce Meadows in the first instalment of the Al Classico.
This one hurts most since it eliminates them from contention for the CPL’s spring season title.
But the Cavs are rolling onward to that honour as the league’s first-place team.
“We weren’t awake in the first half,” Camargo told OneSoccer.ca. “In the second half, we came out with a bite that we needed to face these guys. These guys always give us a battle. So we knew we were in a fight, and we came out hungry in the second half.”
Oumar Diouck had the best first-half chances for the Eddies but couldn’t find the net behind Cavs goalkeeper Marco Carducci.
Cavs defenders, including Jay Wheeldon and veteran Mason Trafford, constantly found ways to block severe threats by Diouck & Co.
Amer Didic also had a few opening-half opportunities to convert, but those home-side tries missed the mark, including a well-struck header off a corner kick in the 38th minute.
“Not a great first half for us,” Cavs head coach Tommy Wheeldon Jr. told OneSoccer.ca post-game. “It wasn’t that we were nervous. I think you have to credit FC Edmonton.
“We corrected it. I had to make a change just before halftime, putting Joel Waterman in at midfield, and we started cutting off the lines and pressing them a little bit higher and then we got possession of the ball.”
And it eventually led to goals in machine-gun-like fashion.
The strike by Camargo in the 66th minute proved to be the difference.
The play started with a fantastic defensive effort by seasoned defender Mason Trafford, who went low to head a ball away from danger. That started Dominique Malonga away on a rush for the Cavs, and he ran deep in FC Edmonton territory before making a short feed to Camargo into the box, who booted the ball home past Eddies goalkeeper Connor James.
Trafford also helped set up Camargo’s second strike five minutes later. He controlled a ball in the offensive penalty area off a botched Cavs corner kick and passed it to teammate Jordan Brown, whose shot from about 12 yards out was blocked but rolled to an unmarked Camargo for an easy tap-in.
“I tell ya … you’re starting to see why Sergio Camargo is one of our foundational signings,” Wheeldon Jr. told OneSoccer.ca. “He scored in the last game and scored another couple here.”
Just five minutes later, Nico Pasquotti followed up his initial shot that got caught up in traffic, collected and hammered the ball that goalie James couldn’t handle and pounced on the rebound for another simple tap-in.
After that, Carducci secured a clean sheet with a fingertip deflection lasered to find the top corner late in the match.
“Edmonton was the better team (early) — you have to give them credit for that,” Wheeldon Jr. told OneSoccer.ca. “But we were the better team from about the 30th, the 35th minute on, and then the result is probably a fair result.”
Including Canadian Championship action, Cavalry FC is now undefeated with a 9-0-1 record overall … The Cavs remained without captain Nik Ledgerwood (MCL) for the Al Classico, and defender Chris Serban (ACL, MCL, meniscus) has yet to suit up this season. Healthy scratches from the Cavalry lineup were M/D Victor Loturi, M/D Mauro Eustaquio and F Gabriel Bitar … York9 FC (1-2-3) took advantage of an own-goal by visiting Pacific FC (1-4-2) on Saturday for its first win of the CPL season. The 1-0 result in North York, Ont., eliminated Vancouver’s Pacific FC from spring season title contention. Also Saturday, Winnipeg’s Valour FC (3-4) visited Hamilton to play host Forge FC (5-2-1), and the second-place forge put up a 2-1 victory to keep pace with the Cavs … Next up for Cavalry FC is a cross-country flight to Nova Scotia to play HFX Wanderers FC on Wednesday in Halifax (4 p.m., OneSoccer.ca).