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PHIL HOSSACK / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES</p><p>Valour FC Netminder Tyson Farago, centre, watches as Glenn Muenkat, Dylan Sacramento and Diego Gutierrez Zuniga rise up in front of him to deflect the ball.</p>


Valour FC Netminder Tyson Farago, centre, watches as Glenn Muenkat, Dylan Sacramento and Diego Gutierrez Zuniga rise up in front of him to deflect the ball.

Valour FC has played nine games between Canadian Premier League play and cup competition, but the battle to be the team’s starting goalie is still underway.

Winnipegger Tyson Farago and Mathias Janssens of Belgium have split the time in net nearly right down the middle; Farago has made five starts and Janssens has four.

Valour head coach Rob Gale said during training camp in March it was a wide-open competition for the starting gig, but it’s hard to believe it’s mid-June and there’s still no answer to the question.

Farago, 27, started the season opener on May 1, which the team won 2-1. But the Winnipegger hasn’t picked up a win since, has a 1-4 record on the year and has yet to record a clean sheet (shutout). Janssens, 21, has looked slightly better, recording two clean sheets and has a 2-2 record between the pipes. However, Janssens’ momentum took a big hit on the weekend as he gave up two goals off of corner kicks in the final 10 minutes of Saturday’s 2-1 road loss against Forge FC.

"Yeah, he done all right," Gale said about Janssens’ performance on Saturday. "We showed back in the video that he can do better on the goals. He’s almost over-positioned himself, but he’s a good goalie. He’s another youngster learning his trade, getting starts. He did some good things."

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES</p><p>FC Valour goaltender Mathias Janssens during practice in March.</p>


FC Valour goaltender Mathias Janssens during practice in March.

But "some good things" isn’t enough to cement Janssens or Farago as the team’s go-to goalie moving forward. Farago has surrendered eight goals in five matches, including a crucial free kick goal on a tough angle by HFX Wanderers FC in the second leg of their Canadian Championship matchup in his last start on June 12. After Janssens started out with back-to-back clean sheets, he has now given up four goals in his last two games.

So with neither goalie currently having the hot hand, is Gale waiting for one of these guys to take their game to the next level to become the team’s first choice?

"Absolutely, 100 per cent," Gale said after Tuesday afternoon’s training session at Glenlawn Collegiate. "Same as we are waiting for a centre forward to step up and score goals. So, we can blame the goalie on one end and you can blame the centre forwards at the other end. But I said, if this was a league of playing penalty box to penalty box, we’d be champions. But it’s not. You win football games in both penalty areas. We got to be better at set pieces, got to be better, more clinical, at one end and make the saves we’re supposed to make at the other end and not give any goals away. So we’re working on it. No excuses."

Farago said the best goalkeeper will "rise to the top" and he knows what he has to do to win over Gale’s trust to be the starter.

"Be a little more consistent," Farago said. "Really hone in on free kicks and work on what’s been haunting me a bit and continue to work. That’s all it is. Continue to keep a positive mind frame and work on your faults."

But with the lack of goal scoring coming from Valour, it’s hard to point the finger at either goalie for the team’s 3-4-0 CPL record, or the two disappointing losses to the Wanderers in the Canadian Championship. Valour hasn’t scored more than one goal in a game since the season opener and the team has just seven goals in nine games. But with three out of the past four goals against coming on set pieces, it’s clear what the weakness has been lately for the goalies.

"We’re working tooth and nail now to work on those and continue to just, you know, keep an attacking mindset on set pieces and being a little bit more mentally strong," Farago said. "Like we’ve said, it’s both teams right now that have been the problem and we just got to figure them out and continue to put the work in during practice."

Valour will hope for a better performance from whoever they choose to start in net on Thursday, when they face Pacific FC (1-4-2) at IG Field at 7 p.m.


Twitter: @TaylorAllen31

Taylor Allen

Taylor Allen

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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