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Whitecaps knock off Cavs on penalties in cup thriller

Soccer: Cavalry knocked out of Canadian Championship in quarterfinal.
Vancouver Whitecaps Déiber Caicedo looks to get through the defence of Cavalry FC's Karifa Yao and Daan Klomp during Canadian Championship quarterfinal action at ATCO Field on May 25. Vancouver won on penalty kicks.

The Cup rematch years in the making went the other on the Cavalry.

Defender Cristian Gutierrez converted the fifth penalty kick to lift the MLS' Vancouver Whitecaps to the 1-1 (5-3 on penalty kicks) victory over Cavalry FC in the Canadian Championship quarterfinal match on May 25 at Spruce Meadows' ATCO Field, to eliminate the Canadian Premier League side from Voyageurs Cup contention.

"It's disappointing to lose on penalty kicks, but that's the kind of competition we're in," said Cavalry FC head coach Tommy Wheeldon Jr. "We had a good tactical performance with and without the ball and I couldn't be more proud of the boys.

"I feel for them more than anything because I think they deserve to be in the next round, but here we are, we're not so we have to dust ourselves off."

The combatants entered the ring at Spruce Meadows in the right direction based on recent form.

With the home team riding a five-game unbeaten run in all competitions, the visitors have been battling through a brutal stretch of injuries and illnesses and managed points in four of its past five matches.

Vancouver carried the early play with Canadian international targetman Lucas Cavallini proving a menace inside the box and the elusive Deiber Caicedo coming close on a header off the crossbar inside the first five minutes.

Cavalry FC left back Bradley Vliet fends off Vancouver Whitecap Michael Baldisimo on ATCO Field on May 25. Brent Calver/OkotoksTODAY

Cavalry slowly, but surely started to make its mark on the counter as the latter half of the opening 45 minutes proved to be a much tighter affair. Striker Myer Bevan had the best opportunity for the hosts with a shot from distance careening wide off a partial block on the break.

After a cagey start to the second half, the Cavalry looked more and more dangerous.

Substitute Victor Loturi had a powerful strike go over the net, Ali Musse just missed on a free kick and in the 72nd minute the Cavs broke the goalless deadlock.

Bevan cut toward the box from the left flank and fired a rocket of a shot far corner past the arms of Whitecaps goalkeeper Cody Cropper for his third goal of the competition in just two games.

Cavalry FC striker Myer Bevan celebrates his second half goal during the cup game versus Vancouver on May 25. Brent Calver/OkotoksTODAY

Vancouver knotted it up once again with centre-back Erik Godoy scoring on a clean header inside the box in the 85th minute off a corner, something off an Achilles heel of late defensively for the Cavalry.

"It's disappointing to concede on a corner kick," said Cavalry FC captain Mason Trafford. "But, man we played a good team, they've got a lot of top players out there and we gave it everything we got.

"It comes down to those fine margins."

After regulation, the game went directly to penalty kicks where the Whitecaps converted on all five attempts and the Cavalry went three-for-four on their shots with Bevan, Jose Escalanté and Elliot Simmons converting.

"At the end, the penalties can go one way or the other," said Whitecaps head coach Vanni Sartini. 

The Cavalry knocked off FC Edmonton and the Whitecaps blanked Winnipeg's Valour FC earlier in the month to reach the quarterfinal round of the Championship.

The other quarterfinal fixture on May 25 saw CF Montreal dispatch Forge FC by a 3-0 count to advance to an all-MLS showdown with Toronto FC in the semifinal round. The Whitecaps will meet CPL side York United in the other semifinal.

In 2021, the Cavs' cup bid was cut short by Pacific FC who went on to upset the Whitecaps in the following round.

The 2019 Cavalry squad advanced to the semifinals following its triumph over Vancouver over two legs before falling just short to the Montreal Impact (now CF Montreal). Montreal has dominated the competition in recent years with back-to-back titles and four of the past eight Canadian Championships. Vancouver last won the Cup in 2015.

The Canadian Championship winners earn the Voyageurs Cup and the right to represent Canada in the CONCACAF Champions League.

Cavalry FC returns to CPL action on May 29 at York United and aren't back at home until June 11 when HFX wanders into ATCO Field.

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Remy Greer

About the Author: Remy Greer

Remy Greer is the assistant editor and sports reporter for and the Western Wheel newspaper. For story tips contact
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