Cavalry FC – Match Report vs. Pacific FC (30/06/2022)

Cavalry F.C played Pacific F.C to a thrilling 3-3 draw in CPL action. Both teams had a player sent off in the first half and the extra space meant there were lots of chances for both teams. The teams both lined up in a 4-2-3-1. 

Ratings:

  • A1 – Very good, could play higher
  • A2 – Strong potential to play higher
  • B1 – Good, strong player at level
  • B2 – Potential to be a strong player at level
  • C – Average for the level, rewatch
  • D – Below average in this match

Aribim Pepple

  • Nationality: English/Canadian
  • Age:19
  • Date of Birth: 25/12/2002
  • Current Club: Cavalry F.C
  • Career: Calgary Foothills, Cavalry F.C, Getafe (Y)
  • Position: Striker
  • Preferred Foot: Right

It may have been Pepple’s last match in a Cavalry shirt, as he has been linked with moves back to Europe following his brief but highly productive return to the CPL. It was not necessarily the most aesthetically pleasing performance of all time but at the end of the day, Pepple scored a goal and was a regular threat throughout the match. 

Pepple looks supremely awkward with the ball at his feet. He often struggles with getting the ball out from under his feet and looks a bit like he could fall over at any moment when dribbling. This did sometimes work out for him because defenders were occasionally bamboozled by his swaying movements but usually, he got pushed off the ball quite easily. He is not a dribbler. Likewise, quite a lot of his passes went astray, even ones you would hope to be quite simple. He was not totally devoid of good moments, there were a couple of good outlet passes. But I would say passing is a weakness for him. 

But all of that didn’t really matter because Pepple’s off-the-ball movement is exceptional. People, by my count, had five shots in this match. Four of the Five were inside the penalty area with Pepple having totally avoided any attempts to mark him. Part of this could be attributed to poor defending by Pacific F.C but it happened so frequently (and has for each of Pepple’s CPL appearances this season) that you have to give Pepple props for how hard he is to track. Movement like that is generally enough to guarantee at least a decent career for a striker. 

Pepple is not lightning quick but he has enough speed to be a bit quicker than your typical lumbering centre-back. He’s not the strongest physically but he’s 6’0 and at only 19 still has a lot of time to grow into his frame. 

Rating – A1

Pepple has had one unsuccessful European stint with Getafe. Looking at some of the weaknesses he showed in this game, I can see how he didn’t catch on in La Liga. But he’s basically unstoppable in CPL so he could probably do well at an intermediate level. Pepple has been linked to transfers to English League 1 and Championship teams (Pepple was born in England but raised in Canada) and I can definitely see him being a success at those levels. Whether he can go higher than that will depend on if he can get a little bit better in possession. 

Karifa Yao

  • Nationality: Canadian 
  • Age: 21
  • Date of Birth: 28/09/2000
  • Current Club: Cavalry F.C (on loan from CF Montreal)
  • Career: CF Montreal (Y), Cavalry F.C (Loan)
  • Position: Centre Back
  • Preferred Foot: Right

It was a bit of an up-and-down match for Yao. For the majority of the watch, he was quite solid. But he was also at least partially at fault for two goals against.

It was a bad start for Yao as he gave the ball away to allow Djenairo Daniels to score an easy goal. It was a bit of a slow pass from Marco Carducci but Yao was slow to react and didn’t seem to realise that Daniels was coming. This sort of error does happen from time to time, even to the best defenders. But concerningly, Yao did not look that comfortable with the ball at his feet. This was especially the case early in the game. Yao did not seem to trust his ability to hit a progressive forward pass under any kind of pressure, usually opting to just play the ball to one of his fellow centre-backs. This would lead to Pacific being able to put pressure on Cavalry’s backline as they struggled to get the ball forwards. Now, Yao was in the centre of a back three so it was quite often the case that changing the point of the buildup by playing a simple pass to another centre-back was the best option. But there were also plenty of times when it would have been better to play a forwards pass and he passed up the opportunity. As the game progressed he played a couple of very nice long-range passes. So the ability to play progressive passes is in his wheelhouse. Perhaps it’s just a matter of confidence. 

Defensively Yao was mostly solid. He is very strong in the air, rarely losing any aerial battles. He was also generally well-positioned and did a good job of sweeping up attempts at passes behind the Cavalry defence. But, as with his passing, another error lead to a goal. On Pacific’s late equalising goal Yao appeared to just kind of wander away from Alejandro Diaz who scored the goal. Cavalry seemed to be employing a zonal marking system and perhaps everything got messed up by both teams being down to 10 men. But Yao’s decision was still very confusing. 

Rating – B1

Pretty much everyone on my Twitter timeline who follows the CPL has been raving about Yao. In this match, I could kind of see what they were getting at but you can’t give a player an A rating when he made such serious errors. I would also worry a bit about how his on-the-ball skills would translate to MLS. 

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