June 17, 2019

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Bigger challenge ahead for Valour

PHIL HOSSACK / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS</p><p>Valour FC’s Raphael Ohin goes hard at practice.</p>

PHIL HOSSACK / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Valour FC’s Raphael Ohin goes hard at practice.

Calum Ferguson wasn’t in Victoria for Valour FC’s inaugural match and first win.

He also missed out on Valour’s home opener at IG Field.

But heading into Saturday’s game at home against HFX Wanderers FC, there was still a piece of history up for grabs and the 24-year-old Scottish-born Canadian made sure to take it.

Ferguson, who was getting his first start of the season, scored in the 48th minute off of a cross from Ali Musse to lift Valour to a 1-0 victory over the Wanderers and improve the home side’s record to 2-2. Saturday’s victory will enter the record books as Valour’s first win at home in franchise history.

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Calum Ferguson wasn’t in Victoria for Valour FC’s inaugural match and first win.

He also missed out on Valour’s home opener at IG Field.

PHIL HOSSACK / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS</p><p>Valour FC’s Calum Ferguson (right) takes part at the team workout Monday afternoon. He scored the game-winner in Saturday’s match.</p>

PHIL HOSSACK / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Valour FC’s Calum Ferguson (right) takes part at the team workout Monday afternoon. He scored the game-winner in Saturday’s match.

But heading into Saturday’s game at home against HFX Wanderers FC, there was still a piece of history up for grabs and the 24-year-old Scottish-born Canadian made sure to take it.

Ferguson, who was getting his first start of the season, scored in the 48th minute off of a cross from Ali Musse to lift Valour to a 1-0 victory over the Wanderers and improve the home side’s record to 2-2. Saturday’s victory will enter the record books as Valour’s first win at home in franchise history.

"After that, it was chaos," Ferguson said of the moment after he scored the game-winner. "I don’t remember the rest of it, really. We all just went a bit crazy. It was definitely good to win the game. The boys held down and defended really well. We managed a professional performance to hold on. It was great to get that first win at home."

Ferguson had to wait a while before he could make an impact this season. He suffered a concussion in the pre-season, which kept him out of action for the first two games. Ferguson said the concussion was quite the setback and it took much longer to settle down than he thought it would.

"It was really frustrating, missing out on the trip to Victoria with the boys to see the club’s first-ever win and then to miss out on the home opener as well. It was a hard one to take," Ferguson said.

"But that’s soccer sometimes. You get ups and downs. There’s highs and lows. You’ve just got to keep your head down and get yourself back fit and your chances will come. Luckily enough, I got that chance on Saturday and I was able to take it."

Ferguson was one of six player changes Valour head coach and general manager Rob Gale made to his starting 11 on Saturday. Goalie Mathias Janssens made his season debut, getting the start over Tyson Farago. Newly acquired midfielder Marco Bustos started despite having only one practice with the team and defender Raphael Garcia was also given his first start.

Some of the lineup changes were due to injury. Veteran midfielder Josip Golubar is expected to be out of action for a while and star midfielder Michael Petrasso was given the game off with a bad hamstring. Some players were rested, as the team will play their fifth match in 16 days on Thursday when they take on Forge FC at home.

Regardless of the reasons for the lineup changes, Valour FC clearly demonstrated depth is not an issue. Valour has 22 players on the roster and the only one who has yet to see any game action is 20-year-old attacker Federico Peña.

"I don’t think people believe me when I say it, but I have full confidence in all 22 players we got here," Gale said before Monday’s training session at IG Field.

"It doesn’t matter which 11 we put out. It doesn’t matter who’s in goal. It doesn’t matter who’s at centre-forward. What shape or system it is, they’re all working together and that togetherness will come through no matter who we put out there. I have full confidence. We got good players here. It’s very little difference between one and 22."

Valour is hoping their depth will help provide them with fresh legs down the stretch and separate them from other teams.

"A lot of other teams have only used 13 or 14 players and we’ve nearly used everyone," Ferguson said. "The fact we can do that shows the faith Rob has in everyone here. Looking at the depth in our squad, we got confidence in every one of them to go in there when called upon to do a job. So, the boys that maybe haven’t gotten as many minutes as they want, their chance will come."

Despite getting the win and some solid play from some new faces, Gale said he doesn’t think Saturday’s game was their best performance. They’ll need to be better on Thursday, especially on offence, when they host Forge FC.

"Winning is the deodorant of sport. It covers all matters of smells," Gale said about Saturday’s performance. "We’ll be better than that."

taylor.allen@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @TaylorAllen31

Taylor Allen

Taylor Allen
Reporter

Eighteen years old and still in high school, Taylor got his start with the Free Press on June 1, 2011. Well, sort of.

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History

Updated on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 at 9:46 AM CDT: Corrects figure to 344 minutes

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