“It’s obviously not the way we wanted to start, but we are better than what we showed, and we will be better than what we showed.”

It’s long been said you never get a second chance to make a good first impression. That may well be true, but that first impression doesn’t also have to be a lasting one.

That’s the approach Valour FC has taken over the last few days in the wake of their 4-1 loss to Vancouver FC in their 2024 Canadian Premier League season opener last Sunday and with the next test coming Friday in Victoria against Pacific FC (9 p.m. CT, available on OneSoccer).

“My main takeaway from that game is that it certainly wasn’t our best and definitely not what we can do,” began defender Frankie Facchineri in a chat with, taking a break from a university paper he was writing. “We all understand that really, really well. We have a lot more to give and that game wasn’t an accurate representation of how good this team is and how good we want to be and will be.”

Valour opened the scoring in the loss to Vancouver FC on a perfect header by Jordi Swibel after a wonderful pass by Themi Antonoglou in the 24th minute. But a breakdown just before halftime and then two mistakes early in the second half saw that lead evaporate before the home side potted a fourth goal with Valour a man down after a second yellow card was issued to Jordan Faria.

Vancouver FC vs Valour FC James Glezos/@jg.visuals__

Valour opted to stay on the west coast rather than return home to Winnipeg after the loss in Vancouver and the club has spent the last few days in Victoria training and rewatching their opener. And what Valour GM and head coach Phillip Dos Santos saw on the film was something the entire crew believes is quickly fixable.

“We started to lack pressure on the ball and were very passive in the way we approached our defending,” Dos Santos said. “We tried to play more into the spaces and protecting the spaces as opposed to taking time and space away from the opposition ball carrier. When a player has time and space, he’s going to look good.

“When we did our post-game video analysis and saw how we were dropping off the opposition it became very evident that this was our own fault; it was self-inflicted. Vancouver is a good team and don’t want to take credit away from them because they responded well and came after it after we scored but I felt like we also made their life easier.

“You’re going to lose games like that in a long season,” he added. “Unfortunately, this is a great lesson for us to take. You get a lead; you don’t sit back on it. You get a lead, and you try to get the second goal and maintain your level of aggressiveness because that’s going to unsettle the opposition. You have to force mistakes; you have to harass them and direct the play so that you can win the ball as fast as possible.

VFC vs VAL April 14 BChevalier

“It’s Game 2 now. We have to grow every game and that’s an element we’re going to be very attentive to now. How aggressive we are on the ball carrier – that’s basic in football. We need to be aggressive; we need to be strong; we need to win our duels.”
Valour’s match Friday will be the second of seven consecutive road league games to open the year – eight, if you include their Canadian Championship match May 1st against Atlético Ottawa – all while the new playing surface is installed at Princess Auto Stadium.
Critical now is how the club responds – a point Facchinerri reinforced this week.

“We’ve had our meetings and were able to discuss the first game, but now the focus shifts,” he said. “We have this next game and we’ve put the first one behind us and aren’t dwelling on it. It’s the first game of the season. It’s obviously not the way we wanted to start, but we are better than what we showed, and we will be better than what we showed.

“That game hasn’t shaken us at all. We’ve learned from it – it’s not necessarily a good thing that it happened – but now we have a base. Now we can work on our fixable mistakes and keep on with that collective confidence we all have to the next game.”


-Dos Santos said midfielder and captain Raphael Ohin has been given the green light to train with the group in full contact and that his return is ‘very close.’ Centre back Tass Mourdoukoutas is progressing quite well, but likely not ready for Pacific.