Hey there, time traveller! This article was published 19/6/2019 (295 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
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."
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.
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"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.
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.
Valour FC had a perfect start, but a nightmare finish on Saturday in Hamilton against Forge FC.
Winnipeg native Marco Bustos opened the scoring 30 seconds into the match — which to no surprise, is a new Canadian Premier League record for fastest goal — as he drilled a shot from the corner of the box to give Valour an early 1-0 lead.
But in the final 10 minutes of the game, Forge stormed back and scored two goals on corner kicks to steal the win. To make matters worse, the game-winning goal was an own goal, as the ball deflected off of Valour captain Jordan Murrell’s chest and squeezed past the goal-line.
Valour will look to get back on track when they welcome Pacific FC to IG Field on Thursday for a 7 p.m. kickoff.
“It’s a new day,” Murrell said after Tuesday afternoon’s training session at Glenlawn Collegiate. “We move on and look to our competition on Thursday and that’s how we have to have our mindset every game.”
Outside of the Bustos goal in the opening minute, it was the same old story for Valour on offence. They finished the game with five shots, none of which hit the target except for the lone goal.
“Mentally, young players holding on to a lead know they’re battling it out,” Valour head coach Rob Gale said. “They tend to sit back and err on the side of caution. And that’s my only regret, really, is that we weren’t brave enough with the ball in the second half. Everything else was to plan. First half was excellent.”
Valour could potentially get a boost for Thursday’s game. Defender Skylar Thomas was back as a full participant at practice after missing the past two games with a lower-body injury. However, midfielder Michael Petrasso wasn’t at practice as he’s still working through a groin injury. Gale confirmed Petrasso is out Thursday but should be good by next week.
“Sky’s a good asset to the team,” said Murrell, who was also college teammates with Thomas at Syracuse. “You know, he’s a big, strong guy, a big leader and obviously I know a lot of the boys miss him out there.”