HFX Wanderers advance in Canadian Championship with 4:1 aggregate victory over Valour FC

HFX Wanderers FC booked their spot in Qualifying Round 3 of the Canadian Championship with a 0:2 victory (1:4 aggregate) over Valour FC in the return […]

HFX Wanderers FC booked their spot in Qualifying Round 3 of the Canadian Championship with a 0:2 victory (1:4 aggregate) over Valour FC in the return leg on 12 June at Investors Group field in Winnipeg. The Wanderers won 2:1 in the first leg in Halifax. They will face Ottawa Fury FC in Qualifying Round 3 on 10 July and 24 July. HFX Wanderers narrowly beat out League1 Ontario champions Vaughan Azzurri in the first round, advancing 3:3 on away goals to face their Canadian Premier League counterparts Valour FC who entered the competition in Qualifying Round 2.

The visitors threated early, as Peter Schaale hit the woodwork in the 8’ minute off a cross from Vincent Lamy. The two sides then traded dangerous opportunities just minutes apart. Valour’s Marco Bustos made a great run through the HFX defence and got a nice shot away but Jan-Michael Williams kept it out of the net (10’). One minute later at the other end of the pitch, André Bona’s powerful attempt at the near post was stopped by Valour FC keeper Tyson Farago, who did well to make himself big and cut down the angle (11’).

In the 24’, Akeem Garcia nicely controlled a long ball from inside the HFX Wanderers’ half, taking a touch before shooting through a Valour defender’s legs, but the shot went just wide of Farago’s far post. Valour responded with some quick passing inside the HFX penalty area which led to a great opportunity for Ali Musse, whose shot ended up going wide of the net.

Garcia created another dangerous attack for the visitors in the 32’, flicking the ball over the head of Valour defender Adam Mitter and picking out an open Lamy, but Farago was up to the challenge and kept the shot out of his net.

Mohamed Kourouma broke the deadlock in the 59’ minute. His freekick from wide on the flank curled in to the near post, beating Farago to give the visitors a 0:1 lead.

Garcia ran on to a long ball from Elliott Simmons and was one on one the Valour defender did well to prevent the striker from getting a clear chance to double the lead (76’). With five minutes remaining in the match, Valour’s Stephen Hoyle appeared to be in on goal behind the HFX defence but was flagged offside. In the 90’, the home side was awarded a free kick from a spot similar to where the Wanderers’ goal came from, but Sacramento’s shot was high and wide and didn’t concern Williams.

Bona sealed the victory for HFX Wanderers (90+2’), running the length of the pitch and beating Farago in a foot race to the Valour net and making it 0:2 after the home side had pushed everyone forward in a late bid to tie the match.

Valour FC’s starting XI was anchored by Tyson Farago in goal. Canadian Jordan Murrell captained the home side, and appeared alongside Martín Arguiñarena and Adam Mitter in defence. In the midfield, Raphael Ohin was joined by Canadians Louis Béland-Goyette, Diego Gutierrez, and Michael Petrasso. Canadians Marco Bustos and Ali Musse made up the forward line with Stephen Hoyle.

Valour coach Rob Gale was forced to replace Petrasso at halftime, bringing on Canadian Glenn Muenkat. Canadian Tyler Attardo came on for Ali Musse (66’) and Canadian Dylan Sacramento entered the match for Béland-Goyette (74’).

HFX Wanderers FC’s Starting XI was captained by keeper Jan-Michael Williams. The defensive line was unchanged from the first leg, featuring Peter Schaale, André Bona, and Canadians Ndzemdzela Langwa and Matthew Arnone. Canadians Elliott Simmons and Vincent Lamy joined Elton John in the midfield. Kodai Iida and Akeem Garcia started alongside Canadian Mohamed Kourouma to form the away side’s attack.

HFX coach Stephen Hart brought on Canadian Zachery Sukunda for Lamy (60’) and Kouamé Ouattara for Garcia (89’).

Guidelines for the Return to Soccer

Canada Soccer outlines return to soccer guidelines. The return to soccer guidelines provide member organizations with a five-step process, including a checklist of weighted questions known as the Return to Soccer Assessment Tool.