Cavalry FC’s depth tested with Pepple news, six games in 21 days

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Cavalry FC is running hot.

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We’re talking 10-straight Canadian Premier League games — and counting — without a loss.

But that form faces a challenge in the coming weeks, with Calgary’s professional footie side looking at a stretch of six games in 21 days coupled with the possible permanent loss of its most formidable goal-scorer.

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Aribim Pepple, who’s scored six goals in his last five matches, might well be on his way out of town, off to greener pitches overseas because of his success.

“We have received a couple of offers,” confirmed Cavalry GM/head coach Tommy Wheeldon Jr., when talking of a transfer of the young, talented forward. “And they are something we are looking into as a club to make sure this is a win-win for all parties. 

“Nothing is finished yet, but the interest is obviously heating up.”

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So is the schedule, beginning with Thursday’s home affair against visiting HFX Wanderers FC (6:30 p.m., OneSoccer, OneSoccer.ca).

And without Pepple, who won’t be available Thursday, and other key pieces — Joe Mason (back) is expected to return Thursday, while Myer Bevan (hamstring) remains out likely through July — Cavalry’s depth will be tested through this busy stretch.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though.

“These are just new challenges,” said Wheeldon Jr. “We welcome them. The league table is nice, but it’s really just a placeholder of finishing in the top four. We know at some point we’ll be stretched, challenged, tested with games back-to-back, and we’re ready for a different outlook, because you’ve gotta put these guys into uncomfortable situations and they have just got to get used to it.

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“Because all we get judged on is not this portion of the season but how we finish the season.”

Indeed, as long as the Cavs remain in the top four of the CPL table, it’s all simply a lead-up to the only thing that matters — the playoffs, when the 2022 king of the league will be crowned.

Of course, the Cavs (7-4-2) are firmly entrenched there right now, matched with Atlético Ottawa atop the table on 25 points. That after the two teams drew 1-1 last Saturday in Ottawa.

Meanwhile, incoming HFX (5-2-7) is mid-table, having lost its last two games after getting shutout by Atleti 2-0 in late June and by Valour 1-0 last Sunday.

To help with depth, the Cavs announced the signing Wednesday of 25-year-old forward Mikaël Cantave to a multi-year contract.

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The Canadian-Haitian forward began his professional career at FC Nantes of France’s Ligue 1, before showcasing his talent in Spain’s Liga 2. Cantave makes his return to Canada with Cavalry FC after most recently playing with Liga 1 Romania side AFC Chindia Targoviste. The native of Ottawa represented the Canadian men’s national team at the under-17 level, before switching allegiances to represent Haiti. 

“I’m very excited to be a part of this club and so grateful for the opportunity to be with Cavalry,” Cantave said. “I can’t wait to meet my teammates, to play in front of the fans and to fight for the Cavalry.”

The dual national has already arrived in Calgary.

“Mikaël is an exciting and dynamic player that can add depth to our attacking options,” added Wheeldon Jr. “He has immense professional experience under his belt from playing in Europe, along with having international experience in the CONCACAF environment, which is valuable given he’s still yet to hit his peak playing years.

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“We feel he adds a little more dynamism to our squad, so it gives us great depth. And he’s a great personality, as well.”


Four games of this six-game stretch are on the home field at Spruce Meadows, including next Tuesday’s contest against York United (7:30 p.m.) … The Cavs defence continues to be without David Norman Jr. as he serves the final match of a two-game ban handed down by the league for his part in a scuffle with Pacific FC’s Manny Aparicio … The Cavs remain down four long-term injured players — goalkeeper Tyson Farago (back), defender Tom Field (knee) and forwards Anthony Novak (ACL) and Fraser Aird (ACL).

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