HFX Wanderers Hand Valour FC Fifth Straight Loss

Photo taken by Joe McMaster of Last Word on Soccer.

HALIFAX, NS. (June 26, 2019) – Valour FC’s woes continued during their penultimate match in the Canadian Premier League’s inaugural Spring Season. HFX Wanderers FC took advantage of a sloppy performance from Valour, and did enough beat the Winnipeg side 2-0 at home. Mohamed Kourouma scored on a penalty, and Akeem Garcia added an insurance marker late to ensure the win for HFX.

HFX Wanderers hand Valour FC fifth straight loss

Valour open strong

Despite an overall negative performance from Valour, they played excellent in the first ten minutes or so. Jordan Murrell had a great chance five minutes in, but HFX Wanderers keeper Christian Oxner made a wonderful save to deny Murrell’s volley in the penalty area.

Valour continued to create chances, especially down the right rand side through the trio of Marco Bustos, Raphael Garcia, and Raphael Ohin. Despite this, nothing came of it in the goal column. Late in the first half, Calum Ferguson couldn’t finish a golden opportunity after a set piece fell right to him. Oxner again came up with a big save.

HFX Wanderers opportunistic

It took the Wanderers a little while to get settled into the game. After a slow and sloppy ten minutes, HFX settled into the game more and more as the half wore on. The Wanderers didn’t create a ton of chances, but their best chance of the half came through Kodai Iida. The midfielder made a nice run into the box and received a pass in a dangerous area before Jordan Murrell intervened with a big block.

It looked as though the teams would head into half time 0-0, but Mohamed Kourouma had other ideas. Martin Arguinarena gave away a poor penalty on Akeem Garcia on the edge of the area. It was a needless tackle from Arguinarena, and Valour payed for it. Kourouma stepped up and finished it calmly for HFX, his second penalty of the season. Just like that, HFX had a goal and a half time lead.

Woeful finish for Valour

Valour FC came out for the second half completely disconnected and uninspired. Valour struggled to look threatening at all in the second half, and gave HFX minimal problems in attack. Credit should be given to HFX’s backline for not allowing Valour any chances back into the game. Calum Ferguson was subbed off in the 58th minute and did not have a good showing. His replacement, Dylan Sacramento, also struggled to find his legs in this one. 17-year-old Tyler Attardo was bright at times, but was very inconsistent. Valour stopped getting Marco Bustos and Stephen Hoyle the ball, and couldn’t get a sniff of an equalizing goal.

Halifax lock it down

Peter Schaale and the rest of the back line for HFX should be proud of their effort tonight. After a few chances early, the Wanderers gave Valor virtually no hope in the second half. Christian Oxner was brave when called upon, and thoroughly earned his clean sheet. Halifax did get a second goal late in the half to seal the deal.

Once again, Mohamed Kourouma played a key role in it. Kourouma’s through ball played Akeem Garcia in behind the Valour defence. Garcia time his run perfectly, and then took a couple touches around the keeper and slotted it home. It took lots of patience from both Kourouma’s pass and Garcia’s shot. Garcia now sits on three goals for the season, which puts him in gold boot contention for the Spring Season. Forge FC’s Tristian Borges currently leads the way with four, with one match to go.

More of the same for Valour

Valour Coach Rob Gale has seen this movie play out before. His team once again created many quality chances, but once again there was no finish. After registering 19 shots last time out against Pacific, Valour created 15 this time. Still, they were unable to find the back of the net, which has been a problem all season.

Valour now only has only seven goals through nine CPL matches. Not only that, they have all came from seven different players. Every other team has at least one player with two goals on the season except for Valour. Heading into the fall season, Gale will need to solve the lack of offence. The answer starts with finding a consistent striker that can finish.

One positive Valour will take from this one is they looked threatening from set pieces. Not including their one goal scored by penalty, Valour have yet to score a set piece all season. However, they nearly did on two different occasions in this game. If not for strong goalkeeping from Oxner, Valour may have finally broken through on set pieces.

HFX Wanderers stock continues to rise

HFX Wanderers are now 4-2-1 in their last seven matches in all competitions. After a slow start to league play, the maritime side has hit their stride as of late. They do this all on the back of injury problems as well. Top striker Luis Alberto Perea has only played three game this season because of a hand injury.

Midfielder Juan Diego Guttieriez has also missed time as of late, and Defender Chrisnovic N’Sa returned to the lineup today and put in a solid shift at right back. Kouoruma and Garcia have been really dangerous all season, and played key roles in the win over Valour. Halifax is now the favourite to finish third in the table to close out the Spring Season. They have turned a few heads over the past few games, and are now prime contenders for the Fall title.

One of the discussion points around the league has been centered around the play of Peter Schaale. The 5th overall selection in the CPL-U Sports Draft has been really quality all season long. The German defender out of Cape Breton University has now played all 810 minutes for the Wanderers this season. He has been a huge find for HFX, and at just 23 years old, he has a bright future ahead of him. Once again, he was solid in this one, and didn’t commit even one noticeable mistake for the Wanderers.

 

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