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CPL Corner-week 8 by Brett Lubkiwski

The Summer of Canada Soccer is here! The CANWNT/CANXNT had their Olympic send off series against Mexico, the CANMNT kick off a pair of massive European friendlies this week and finally the main events of Copa America and Paris 2024

BUT! The biggest event of the month is taking place Thursday night in Toronto! Footy Prime’s “One Night Stand” is happening live from Nickel 9 distillery in Toronto. All of your favourite FP crew members will be there and your least favourite person in the FP family won’t be, because I am unable to attend. 

I hope everyone has the best time and enjoys the live show. I will be patiently waiting for my bottle of One Ball Gin to arrive when Carrie brings it back to Vancouver.

But I’m here to talk about the CPL and once again it’s been a great weekend. There were a couple of howlers which shows the predictable unpredictability of this league.

You really never know who is going to win, lose or draw on any given day. Possibly the biggest and most notable example of this, has been Valour FC. Just when you think they may never win again, suddenly they go undefeated in their last three matches, picking up their first clean sheet of the season against Vancouver FC.

I’ve been really tough on Valour this year, but today it’s time to give this team their flowers and talk about what’s helped them get the ship out of the Bermuda Triangle.

Home Sweet Home: Did anyone else realize Valour spent the entire first quarter of the season playing on the road? The travel was vicious, with coast-to-coast matches in every single stadium. They picked up four points to end the road trip before their home opener against VFC-and in front of 4,262 fans at Princess Auto Field, they gave their most complete performance of the season. 

Band of Brothers: This team is really starting to play as a unit. Philip Don Santos said the team is playing much more disciplined, defending well and willing to pay the price to win battles on the pitch and limit mistakes.

Team morale is very high right now. The Winnipegers are gritting their teeth and fighting for one another to get back into the discussion of making the playoffs for the first time in club history.

An Australian Tail, Swibel Goes North: Making the move to Canada has been brilliant for Jordi Swibel’s career. This guy was playing semi-professional football in Australia’s second tier last year for the Marconi Stallions. He led the league with 15 goals in 28 appearances, and is keeping up that scoring prowess in Winnipeg with 4 goals so far, equaling the team high set for all of last year.

Swibel is the #9 that has been missing in Manitoba since the departure of another player from Oceania, New Zealand’s Moses Dyer. He will need some scoring help though going forward as right now Swibel’s 4 goals makes up 50% of team goals this season.

What do you think? Can Valour actually make the playoffs this year? Success in the Paris of the Prairies would be quite the story after watching this team hit rock bottom. But like they say, sometimes you have to hit the bottom before you can claw your way out of that hole.




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