Cavalry FC – Match Report Vs. Forge FC (28/10/2023)

Cavalry FC were beaten in the Canadian Premier League final (again) by Forge F.C. (also again) by a score of 2-1. The match was quite tight, finishing 0-0 after 90 minutes. Cavalry took the lead in extra time but two goals, including an Olimpico, managed to hand Forge the trophy for the 4th time in 5 CPL seasons.

Eryk Kobza

Player profile:

  • Nationality: Canadian 
  • Age: 21
  • Date of Birth: 23/11/2001
  • Current club: Cavalry F.C
  • Career: University of Calgary Dinos, Sokol Ostrada, Podlaise Biala Podlaska
  • Position: Centre-back
  • Preferred foot: Right

Eryk Kobza played as a centre-back for Cavalry in this game. He has previously played in the midfield quite a bit but as the season has progressed he has more or less become a full-time centre-back. Kobza does most of the centre-back stuff you would hope for. He is strong in the air, aided by a sizable 6 ‘1 frame. He’s quite good when facing dribblers, aided by long legs that allow him to reach to recover the ball.

Kobza is extremely good on the ball, helped no doubt by his experience playing in the midfield. He was comfortable playing the ball with both feet. He had an expansive passing range, able to switch play, break lines, and even play the ball in behind the opposing defence. In fact, he was able to bypass almost the entire Forge team with passes on several occasions. But, Kobza has one particularly glaring weakness. He frequently gets in trouble when trying to step out from the backline and make aggressive defensive plays. This was particularly the case when Kobza was getting tight to an opponent who had his back to him. Kobza was turned very easily several times, often being fooled by an opponent’s feints or being overly aggressive on one side of the opponent, allowing them to easily slip out the other way. This may be a result of being less familiar with the centre-back position and the different types of defending it requires compared to a defensive midfielder.

There was also a slightly odd moment where Kobza let a long ball bounce (always the wrong move) and then sent a very limp header back to his goalkeeper, almost causing a goal against. This only happened once but it’s another moment that is perhaps indicative of a lack of familiarity with playing in the centre of defence. 

Rating – A2

There is a lot to like about Kobza and I think he could reach MLS eventually. But if he were to make that jump now I think his weaknesses would get him in trouble. He’s a pretty obvious pickup for the MLS Next Pro teams of either Vancouver Whitecaps or Toronto F.C. as he’s a U-23 Canadian who has shown well at a professional level. That’s not really a step up in terms of level of play but it probably would improve his chances of reaching MLS. He also has Polish citizenship and has played in Poland previously, which could open doors for him in Europe. 

Daan Klomp

  • Nationality: Dutch
  • Age: 25
  • Date of birth: 10/08/1998
  • Current club: Cavalry F.C
  • JVOZ, NAC Breda, FC Oss, Helmond Sport
  • Position: Centre-back
  • Preferred foot: Right 

Klomp is a little bit older than most players we cover but he was named the CPL player of the season and there has been some buzz in Canadian soccer circles about his MLS potential. Klomp also played as a centre-back in this game but with a bit of a twist.

When Cavalry were in possession he would often rotate with Charlie Trafford and take up a role in the midfield to receive passes between the lines. He did not end up actually receiving the ball all that often but I think it shows how Cavalry wants him involved in every phase of play. As the play advanced he would often continue his forward escapades and make runs into the box. It’s not often I talk about a centre-back’s off-the-ball movement but Klomp’s is genuinely very good. He often forced defenders to follow him, creating space for other Cavalry players but he was also a major offensive threat in the air. On the defensive side of things, Klomp was also very good. He’s not the flashiest defender but he never looked to be in any real trouble. He was strong in the air and always well-positioned such that he never had to make a desperate tackle.

Klomp is not conspicuously powerful physically but he’s very good at using his body to push opponents off the ball or shepherd them out of play. Klomp is quite good at playing line-breaking passes from the centre-back position. This leads me to believe he could have been more impactful when he rotated into the midfield if the ball had come to him more often. 

Rating – A1

Could Klomp play at a higher level? Yes, I think he could. But would he specifically be a good signing for MLS teams? In most cases, my answer is no. The main reasons for this are his age and nationality. MLS has limited spots for foreigners and the jump from CPL to MLS is considerable, though not insurmountable. To use one of those limited spots on a 25-year-old who may or may not be nailed on starter does not make a lot of sense to me. Perhaps he could be worth a punt for a team with very few international players, like Nashville. But Klomp could definitely play at an intermediate level. The A-League would be an interesting destination or leagues in Europe that are somewhere between CPL and MLS. 

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