Triumphant debut on road has Valour FC charged up

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 03/05/2019 (1316 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

SASHA SEFTER / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Valour FC midfielder Diego Gutierrez attempts an airborne kick during practice on Friday.

A win is a win is a win, but the members of Valour FC proved something else during their Canadian Premier League (CPL) debut in Victoria on Wednesday night, a 2-1 victory over Pacific FC — they can be pretty stylish as they go about their business.

Valour’s aggressive approach made for a pleasing fan spectacle and a satisfying result.

“I thought it was quality,” said midfielder Dylan Carreiro, a 25-year-old Winnipegger who came on as a second-half substitute to score the winning goal in the 78th minute. “I thought the boys did very well. We showed our character and our fight through the whole 90 minutes. We played some good football most of the time and we were good.”

English import Stephen Hoyle scored the first goal in club history, giving Valour a 1-0 lead in the 23rd minute. Carreiro capped a memorable opener about an hour later.

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES Valour FC's Dylan Carreiro, left, scored the winning goal in the 78th minute of a 2-1 victory over Pacific FC in Victoria, Wednesday.

“It was good to get my first goal for the club, but I’ve always said the most important thing is three points away and we’re just excited to play our home-opener in front of our fans (Saturday) night,” Carreiro said.

Defender and club captain Jordan Murrell added: “Obviously, the boys were excited. The first three points in franchise history, the first road win in league history and so a big result for the club and Winnipeg, and we’re looking to bring it home this weekend.”

Valour’s first game on their home turf at Investors Group Field kicks off at 5 p.m. today against FC Edmonton and it comes in the midst of a frantic stretch in which they will play five games shoehorned into a 16-day window, including two more home dates — May 11 vs. HFX Wanderers FC and May 16 vs. Forge FC.

Valour FC head coach and general manager Rob Gale will pay close attention to the physical toll its taking on his players, constantly monitoring their workload.

Teams are permitted to dress 18 players for home games while league rules limit options on the road, allowing for only 16 to dress.

“The ability to recover is the trickiest part, because we had to get on a flight the next morning to get back here by four in the afternoon (after the season opener),” Gale said.

“You write off a day of what normally would be recovery, but that’s where these guys around me, with their experience, their know-how, they know what they need to do. It’s about rehydration. It’s about sleep. It’s about doing the right things behind the scenes when you can’t have a load on your legs.

“It’s a difficult load to manage and you have to monitor that. The experience of the group comes in handy. We have to cut way back on the actual training and preparation and just try to get as much readiness as possible. That’s why we’ve got a squad. We’re able to name 18 players for the home game Saturday. We’re able to have fresh legs to come off the bench and we can change up the system and the starting 11 as needed.”

Gale, who is currently working with a 21-man roster, will have no trouble tinkering with his lineup if that’s what he believes is necessary to get the upper hand on the rest of the CPL during the 10-match opening segment of the 2019 season.

“It’s a good start,” he said. “What makes a good start a very good start is to win Saturday. So we’ll choose the best, most ready, most competitive 11 that we think can damage FC Edmonton, what we know of them.”

mike.sawatzky@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @sawa14

Mike Sawatzky

Mike Sawatzky
Reporter

Mike has been working on the Free Press sports desk since 2003.

History

Updated on Friday, May 3, 2019 8:15 PM CDT: Adds photo

Updated on Friday, May 3, 2019 8:19 PM CDT: Adds second photo

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