Late goal, tough-to-swallow officiating keeps Cavalry FC from road win

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The bottom line isn’t always the storyline when Cavalry FC takes to the pitch in Hamilton …

Even with timely highlight-reel goals on display.

That was true again Saturday afternoon, when the Cavs came away with a point — but deserved more arguably due to erratic officiating — in a 2-2 draw with host Forge FC.

“We’re gutted not to win,” said Cavalry attacker Ali Musse, after the result left the Calgary side winless through two games to kick off the Canadian Premier League campaign.

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“It stings because we dropped two points,” continued Musse. “Inconsistent (officiating) to say the least. I don’t want to say too much because I don’t want to get in trouble, but it was very questionable and I think it should get looked at.”

His coach agreed, with Tommy Wheeldon Jr. telling OneSoccer post-game he felt a blatant call was missed that should’ve given Musse a penalty kick in the 67th minute, which perhaps would have meant the difference in another testy match between the CPL arch-rivals.

“I’ve got to be careful about what I say, haven’t I?” said the Cavs GM/head coach, whose side was flagged for four yellow cards and 18 fouls compared to one and nine respectively for Forge by referee Filip Dujic. “There’s eyes and ears at Canada Soccer. But what I do know is they are doing a very thorough review process, which is part of it, because Filip’s a promising young official and I do hope that this game is one he learns a lesson from. 

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“I’d like to see it myself, but I felt — and this is only my opinion — that there were a lot of 50/50 (calls) that favoured the home side. From a referee that’s from Ontario, I think that’s hard to stomach, when you come to a tough environment anyway.”

Indeed, with swirling wins afoot and as a home to a winning tradition in Forge, it’s never easy to escape with points from Tim Hortons Field.

It didn’t look promising early, either, for visiting Cavalry, which saw defender Daan Klomp fail to clear a cross properly, instead watching helplessly as it dropped into a spot just outside the penalty box leading to the first goal of the game — in just the third minute — for the hosts. It was Alessandro Hojabrpour stepping into a ball hard and rocketing it to the left of Cavs goalkeeper Julian Roloff. 

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But from there, the Cavs were full marks for the game, deserving a win — thanks to two first-half answers from Joe Mason and Musse — before a heartbreaking goal was forged in the 90th minute by Hamilton hero David Choinière.

Again, Cavalry was looking for a foul on the play, feeling Victor Loturi was clearly impeded in front of the box by Forge captain Kyle Bekker on the edge of the penalty area prior to Choinière firing it into the top corner.

“They scored two unbelievable goals — like goal-of-the-season contenders — so you can’t really complain about that,” said Wheeldon Jr. “But I think our tactics were spot-on. It’s a tough game sometimes, isn’t it? You don’t always get what you deserve.”

Cavalry’s own two goals were crackers, too. 

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Mason cleaned up a rebound after Forge goalie Triston Henry couldn’t handle a close-in hot-shot by Musse in the 31st minute. The Cavs attacker — and star for his side — collected a ball 10 yards out and turned and fired on the full volley, allowing a roaming Mason to jump on the Henry bobble.

Only eight minutes later, Musse then struck for his own goal, burying a shot from the top of the box after working his way into position with the ball.

After Roloff turned back dangerous Forge threat Tristan Borges with his chest in the second half, a third goal seemed probable for the visitors. The best chance to sew up a triumph came from newcomer Myer Bevan, who marked his debut by extending his foot out to get a golden chance in tight on a Jose Escalante pass deep into the box, but the redirection went right to Henry.

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That missed opportunity set up Choinière’s late howitzer, which curled away from Roloff and off the far post and in.

“It was a great game — we’ve got a lot of respect for (Forge boss) Bobby (Smyrniotis) and his coaching staff,” said Wheeldon Jr. “He always puts out a good team. They’re never down and out. So they’re going to have moments in the game. When Myer Bevan should have scored for us right near the end, you knew that was probably going to be the chance (to put them away) and you knew that they were going to keep going — and they did.”

They scored, to boot, leaving both Cavalry (0-1-1) and Forge (0-1-1) still searching for first wins on the 28-game schedule.

“It’s their home opener,” added Wheeldon Jr. “There’s fireworks, and they’re singing songs — they’re trying to put on a show. I thought we came here and disrupted a lot of that. 

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“It was a brilliant game — I thought we rose up after they scored in the first half, and I thought that we had a moment in the final 10-15 when we should’ve got our third. And that’s where we have to learn to be a bit more ruthless, because if you take care of things in their box and take care of things in our box, you see it home for three points.”

Cavalry next plays Friday against host York United FC in Toronto (5:30 p.m., OneSoccer.ca).


Cavalry midfielder Charlie Trafford came out of the game at halftime after taking a knock to the head early during a first-half collision with an enemy player. Wheeldon Jr. reported the game captain as feeling light-headed after that … The Cavs Starting XI was: Roloff; defenders Klomp, Yao and David Norman Jr.; midfielders Loturi, Trafford, Ben Fisk, Fraser Aird; and forwards Mason, Musse and Jean-Aneil Assi … The substitutes were: goalie Marco Carducci; defender and captain Mason Trafford; midfielders Escalante, Elijah Adekugbe, Sergio Camargo and Elliot Simmons; and attacker Bevan … Midfielder Skyler Rogers was a healthy scratch … Those teammates still sidelined long-term are goalkeeper Tyson Farago (back), defender Tom Field (knee), midfielder Joe Di Chiara (MCL) and forward Anthony Novak (ACL) — all tending to injuries suffered during pre-season training.



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