The Quest for CPL Supremacy

The Canadian Premier League (CPL) will kick off in less than a month. As the tournament approaches its fifth year since its inception in 2019, one question is swirling around in most Canadians’ heads: Who will claim this year’s title? 

Forge FC has so far dominated the tournament, winning back-to-back championships. However, the path to a three-peat won’t be a walk in the park. Other teams have been proactive in the transfer market – but which team could knock Forge out, a team that seems unstoppable?

The New Roster Regulations: Shifting Dynamics in Team Composition

Because the league is young, a major change has been made to the CPL’s roster regulations in this year’s edition.

The previous mandate required CPL rosters to consist of 50% young talents. However, this year, the league announced that teams could purchase or, in some cases, reacquire seasoned veterans, bringing a wealth of experience back into the fold.

Vancouver FC’s Strategic Advantage

Vancouver FC  is capitalizing on this new rule, welcoming back seasoned professionals like Ben Fisk, Paris Gee, and David Norman. This is an important step in determining who could possibly challenge Forge, and Vancouver is on our list of watch-out teams for the 2024 CPL season. The veteran stars are set to headline Vancouver’s squad, blending their experience with the youthful vigour already present, which could create interesting dynamics from the fans’ perspective.

Read more: Vancouver Whitecaps vs Charlotte FC Prediction, Odds and Betting Tips 03/03/2024

Atlético Ottawa: Star Power vs. Cohesion

Every league has a team that tries to find shortcuts to success – notably through purchasing power. While the new regulations do indeed still limit Canadian teams from purchasing players at insane prices, Atlético Ottawa has assembled a roster that could be likened to a CPL-Avenger squad, integrating tournament standouts with talented players to form a potent mix. 

Matteo de Brienne, arguably the best young star in the country, has arrived in Ottawa along with Rayane Yesli, a nominee for the 2023 Golden Glove. But Ottawa has also thought about attackers, such as Kévin Dos Santos (York United) and Ballou Tabla – a star with a rich playing history. 

Read more: Forge FC vs Cavalry FC Result, Score: Borges’ Stunning Olimpico Seals Historic Win in CPL Final

Tabla spent 2023 at Manisa, but during his youth career, he also played in Spain for Barcelona B and Albacete, and just two years ago, Tabla spent a season with CF Montreal. It seems that Ottawa has found a league expert in Tabla, and great things are expected from him.

Liberman Torres has also joined the roster, coming from Villarreal B on loan. Together with Tabla – another player with a history in Spain – we could see a more coherent team 

with enhanced build-up play and counter-attacking capabilities.

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Valour FC is a club that will probably not challenge the title but presents an intriguing case study. Most of the squad has been replaced, with more than ten new faces joining the roster. Last season was a great disappointment, and it seems the owners of Valour are determined to turn the tide. 

However, such moves – at least in Europe – have rarely materialized in convincing changes. 

Only time will answer whether Canada will follow this pattern. Changing rosters that drastically is usually advised against because it typically challenges the team’s cohesion and requires time for players to adapt to a new tactical philosophy and mesh as a unit.

Roster Overhauls and Their Implications

With so many teams undergoing extensive roster changes – likely due to the CPL’s youthfulness – TonyBet expects a high-scoring opening to the season. 

Creating effective communication in the backline is a tough ask when rosters are changed this drastically. This often results in chaos and, therefore, goals. Many players barely know each other, and unlike the MLS, there were no pre-season games for most clubs to integrate new signings or gauge the readiness of emerging talents. 

Taking all of this into account, Vancouver FC is our favourite pick to challenge Forge FC’s supremacy.

Read more: Canadian Premier League Finals: Cavalry FC vs Forge FC Match Predictions and Odds

Atlético Ottawa, as attractive as it seems, seems like a remake of Paris Saint-Germain: a star-studded lineup but with too little coherence. While certain transfers make sense (Ballou, for example), it seems the season will be somewhat chaotic – and teams know that. 

These teams are not so much into squad building by depth, but Cavalry FC, for example, emphasizes depth over marquee signings. This might not place them as frontrunners, but they are certainly ahead in the pecking order compared to Atlético Ottawa.

Read more: Forge FC: Building a Dynasty in the Canadian Premier League

Vancouver seems to have understood how to use the new roster rule that allows the diversification of the players’ ages to their advantage. That is why Vancouver remains the favourite. If any team will take it away, it should be them. Finding leaders of different categories is a must in long competitions, and Vancouver best fits that criteria.

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