Vancouver FC became the first side this season eliminated from Canadian Premier League playoff contention after losing to Cavalry FC 2-1 Saturday, Sept. 16 in Calgary.
Calgary’s Myer Bevan opened the scoring from the penalty spot with his tenth goal of the season, before Cavalry found another in the second half through an own goal from Vancouver FC defender Anthony White in the 70th minute.
Veteran Vancouver midfielder Renan Garcia scored his first CPL goal in stoppage time, but it wasn’t enough to save his side’s season.
Vancouver coach Afshin Ghotbi was not on the touchline after picking up his third yellow card of the season resulting in a suspension.
Vancouver, who were also without key attacker Gaby Bitar, still outshot the league leaders 10-9.
— Vancouver Football Club (@vanfootballclub) September 17, 2023
“I’m an optimist, that’s just who I am, and I was really happy, really happy with the performance,” said Vancouver goalkeeping coach Mark Village, who was named as Vancouver’s head coach for the match with Ghotbi suspended.
“Especially with all the circumstances that were upon us, especially with Afshin not being there, Gaby Bitar not being there, just because of suspensions, you can’t fault the tenacity of this group.”
While it was a strong performance, the loss ultimately means Vancouver are the first side to officially bow out of the CPL playoff race.
Still, they managed to stay alive for 23 of the 26 match weeks this season, and were eliminated with just four matches remaining in their season.
“We have a very strong group mentally,” said Village. “I think they will always fight until the very end, and the way Afshin sets up the team we are going to fight until the very end and we are going to give it everything.”
Next, Vancouver travel to IG Field in Winnipeg to take on Valour on Wednesday, Sept. 20 at 5 p.m.