U SPORTS standouts from Week 4 of the CPL

By: Matias Bueno

WINNIPEG, MB – Things are continuing to heat up this summer for Canadian soccer fans. Not only was week 4 of the CPL filled with entertaining matches, but the Canadian Women’s National Team opened their Olympic campaign against Japan earlier this week.

Canada is looking for their 3rd podium finish after claiming bronze back-to-back summer games in London 2012 and Rio 2016. Christine Sinclair added to her international scoring record in the 6th minute with her 187th goal in her 300th appearance for Canada. The Canadians took down Chile in their second match and will face Team GB in their final group stage match.

Player of the Week – Lukas MacNaughton

July 17, 2021. Pacific FC vs Forge FC. Pre-Game. Lukas MacNaughton of Pacific FC looks on during the playing of ‘O Canada’.

 Lukas MacNaughton was an anchor defensively for Pacific FC this week. The former Toronto Varsity Blue led the match in passes with a whopping 102 and completed 93% of them. He won 5 out of 6 duels in the game and contributed a tackle won, clearance and interception to boot. He has appeared in every game this season and was a significant part of their defensive success against Atlético Ottawa. 

After falling behind 2-0 in the first quarter of an hour, Pacific’sdefencee stood tall and helped their attack rally to score 4 unanswered goals to win convincingly. Pacific is second in the table, sitting four points back of Valour for first. They have a crucial matchup on July 30th against Cavalry FC, tied for second with 14 points. 

Second Star – Easton Ongaro

Former Alberta Golden Bear Easton Ongaro was relentless in the attacking third versus HFX Wanderers. He completed 79% of his passes, contributed 3 shots, with his one on target being the winner. He scored 9 minutes from time on an unselfish pass across the top of the 18 from Fraser Aird to give them the 1-0 victory. The Toronto native attacker notched his first assist on the game-winning goal, and Ongaro scored his first goal of the season. Ongaro, who is in his third professional season in his hometown, is looking to build off his strong campaign from the 2020 Island Games, where he netted three goals in 7 caps. FC Edmonton is now 3 points behind Cavalry FC for 4th in the table. 

Third Star – Zach Verhoven

July 15, 2021. Atlético Ottawa vs Valour FC. First-Half. Austin Ricci of Valour FC plays the ball away from Zach Verhoven of Atlético Ottawa.

Zach Verhoven is this week’s third star after helping Atlético Ottawa jump out to an early lead against FC Edmonton. The former Thunderbird bagged his first goal of the season just 4 minutes into the match. He had two shots, both of which were on target and one of them being the game’s opening goal. He was subbed out in the 54th minute and had to watch from the bench as FC Edmonton equalized in the final 5 minutes to escape with a point. 

Match to Watch: Valour vs HFX Wanderers – July 24, 2:00 pm ET 

Valour has been on a roll this season, storming out of the gate to a 6-0-1 start. Their matchup vs HFX is nothing short of the early season version of David versus Goliath, as the Wanderers sit at the bottom of the table.

However, there is to be plenty of action from U SPORTS players throughout the match. Tony Mikhael had a solid outing against York last week and is likely to start again this week. The Wanderers will be playing with pride on the line, as former St. Mary’s Huskies goalkeeper Christian Oxner will be looking to help his club get back on track with a promising upset result. Kareem Sow from the Montreal Carabins and Stefan Karajovanovic from Carleton started in last week’s game vs Cavalry FC and had valiant efforts both despite not getting a victory. They will have their hands full with Valour’s fierce offence that is second in the league for goals scored.

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