Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 12/6/2019 (390 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
No, this Valour FC game story isn’t being reprinted from the past.
It just happens to be eerily similar to the other one’s you’ve likely read, as it was the same old story for Valour FC on Wednesday night at IG Field in the second leg of their second-round Canadian Championship qualifying matchup against HFX Wanderers FC.
The Winnipeg side generated many scoring chances, and dominated the possession battle at 61.4 per cent, but in the end, they failed to find the back of the net and Halifax came away with a 2-0 win before 4,373 fans. The Wanderers beat Valour 4-1 on aggregate after winning the first leg 2-1 in Halifax last week. Halifax advance to the third round and will play the Ottawa Fury of the United Soccer League.
"Deja vu. You lose words to describe the same thing continually," said Valour FC head coach Rob Gale postgame. "We had so many opportunities to shoot inside the box. I think (Marco) Bustos could’ve had a hat trick of assists tonight. Great goal-scoring chances. Things that would open your eyes up and you’d be licking your lips as a striker, but for some reason, we don’t want to shoot and test the goalkeeper. I don’t know why."
The first half ended in a 0-0 draw, despite Valour having chance after chance to score. But despite having several great looks at the net, Valour ended the first 45 minutes with only one shot on target. The second half wasn’t much better, as they only had two shots hit the net. Attacking midfielder Bustos, a 23-year-old Winnipeg native, looked like a magician at times on the field, as he squeezed through defenders on numerous plays as he attempted to set up his teammates. But time and time again, Valour’s attackers looked indecisive with the ball, which ultimately to them being held off the scoreboard.
"The chances Marco put on the plate tonight for the lads to score… you can lead a horse to water, but can’t make him drink," Gale said.
Bustos was asked if the lack of scoring has become more of a mental challenge, as the team now only has six goals in eight games.
"Personally, it probably puts a little bit of pressure when everyone is talking about it, that our team is not scoring," Bustos said. "We’re keeping good possession but not scoring. At the end of the day, we’ve just got to show up to training and just keeping working hard. You can’t fault the guys for missing chances, but we keep getting them. So, we’re doing something good."
Halifax essentially ended Valour’s hopes of advancing to the next round with a free-kick goal in the 58th minute to open the scoring, as Mohamed Kourouma somehow snuck the ball around the wall and beat goalie Tyson Farago short side. Due to last week’s 2-1 loss in the first leg, Valour needed a 1-0 victory, or to win the game by two or more goals to win the series on aggregate.
"It was a tight angle. I thought we were set up properly," said Farago on the first goal. "It was a well-struck ball. It just snuck in near post and we’ll want that back and continue to figure that out."
Andre Bona scored for the Wanderers in the 93rd minute on a breakaway on an open net.
To make matters worse for Valour, star midfielder Michael Petrasso went down with a lower-body injury just before halftime. He was replaced by Glenn Muenkat to start the second half. Petrasso is coming off of a hamstring injury where he missed two games.
"I think it was a groin. We’ll have to get that assessed," Gale said. "I thought it was a foul that led to it. But yeah, it’s unfortunate for Mike. He’ll have a little spell on the sidelines again, unfortunately."
Although Valour was all over the Wanderers for the majority of the game, Halifax head coach Stephen Hart didn’t believe his team stole the victory.
"What do you do with your possessions? Because I would like to see chances because we had quite a few, especially in the first half and it goes that way sometimes," said Hart, who coached the Canadian men’s national soccer team from 2009-12. "Yeah, 61 per cent possession, but the only stat that matters to me today is 2-0."
With the loss, Valour has a record of 3-5-0 between league and cup competition. Valour FC will return to CPL action this Saturday and look to improve on their 3-3-0 league record as they head to Hamilton to take on Forge FC at Tim Hortons Field. Halifax and Ottawa will play the first leg of their third-round Canadian Championship series on July 10.
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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