Match Day Report vs HFX Wanderers

Everything continues to rain down on Valour FC, both literally and figuratively. And with that their Canadian Premier League playoff hopes are quickly being flushed away, too.

Desperately needing a result to stay in the postseason discussion, Winnipeg’s professional soccer side fell 3-0 to HFX Wanderers on a soggy and spongy Wanderers Grounds on a rainy and dreary east coast day in the Nova Scotia capital.

The loss, the second straight for Valour, drops them to 4-8-9, keeps them in seventh place and further back in the CPL table, where the top five teams advance to the postseason. The Wanderers, meanwhile, improve to 8-8-5 and with 32 points have temporarily moved into a tie with Pacific FC in the CPL standings.

Valour has just seven matches remaining and a massive mountain now to climb.

“I just want to see a full-out war for the next seven games,” said Valour midfielder Matteo de Brienne. “We’re all in this fight for one reason – for a playoff spot – but I can’t think too far ahead. I’m thinking one game at a time and hopefully next week is our week.”

Halifax, Nova Scotia – Aug 26, 2023: Canadian Premier League match between the HFX Wanderers FC and Valour FC at the Wanderers Grounds in Halifax, Nova Scotia. (Trevor MacMillan/HFX Wanderers FC)

Valour did create some chances with six corner kicks to five for the Wanderers, and with Jared Ulloa and Walter Ponce having opportunities in the first half to open the scoring. The club was under siege early in the second half and gave up the first goal to Dan Nimick on a corner and then while pressing for the equalizer fell victim to a counter-attack goal by Joao Morelli in the 75th minute before Tomas Giraldo made it 3-zip in the 87th minute.

That was more than enough for Wanderers, especially with Valour’s ongoing offensive struggles. Valour now has just 17 goals in 21 matches, worst in the league, and has been blanked nine times this season.

“In all honestly, I thought we had the game in our hands. We very early created many chances but unfortunately as a collective weren’t capable of finishing with the end product,” said de Brienne. “It’s just a little bit of the end product, but we’re getting our chances. Now it’s about putting the ball in the back of the net.”

Valour GM and head coach Phillip Dos Santos made five changes to the starting XI in last week’s  3-2 loss to Atletico Ottawa in an attempt to unlock some finish, but it was the same old, same old around the net.

Asked what’s next for Valour as they go from one coast to another with next Saturday’s trip to Victoria for a match with Pacific FC, Dos Santos returned to the idea of the team just putting its collective heads down and continuing to work.

Halifax, Nova Scotia – Aug 26, 2023: Canadian Premier League match between the HFX Wanderers FC and Valour FC at the Wanderers Grounds in Halifax, Nova Scotia. (Trevor MacMillan/HFX Wanderers FC)

“If we had the answer to that problem, we probably would have used that solution earlier,” he said. “I think it’s important that the guys don’t quit mentally and that they stick together. Yes, it’s work and why work, because work is what’s going to help us deal with the certain moments better. I feel that we, again, failed to do that.

“That set play goal (the first goal) was a big moment. We had six corner kicks in our favour and weren’t able to capitalize and they were able to capitalize on theirs. In a game like today where it’s chippy and not a lot of space given by both teams those moments are very important. They were able to score on one and then it becomes more difficult.”

‘V’ Notes

-Abdou Samake appeared to injure his hamstring late in the first half and was replaced to start the second half by Guillaume Pianelli. Prior to that, Samake has picked up his fourth yellow of the season.

-Valour’s miserable woes in Halifax continued Saturday. The club has lost both matches there this year by a combined score of 5-nil and has never won at Wanderers Grounds since the CPL started in 2019 with just one draw against seven losses.

HX Wanderers 3 Valour FC 0



HFX Wanderers FC

48:38’: Dan Nimick (assist: Wes Timoteo)

74:59’: Joao Morelli (assist: Lorenzo Callegari)

86:54’: Tomas Giraldo (assist: Joao Morelli)

Valour FC


Card summary


Valour FC

4:26’: Abdou Samake (yellow, reckless offence)

30:21’: Klaidi Cela (yellow, tactical foul)

38:33’: Matteo de Brienne (yellow, tactical foul)

77:49’: Diego Gutierrez (yellow, dissent)

HFX Wanderers FC

9:28’: Cale Loughrey (yellow, reckless offence)

53:26’: Wes Timoteo (yellow, tactical foul)

75:05’: Andre Rampersad (yellow, entering field)

75:45’: Joao Morelli (yellow, excessive celebration)

87:25’: Tomas Giraldo (yellow, excessive celebration)


GK – Rayane Yesli

D – Abdou Samake

D – Klaidi Cela

D – Dante Campbell

MF – Matteo De Brienne

MF – Diego Gutierrez ©

MF – Marcello Polisi

MF – Jared Ulloa

FW – Ahinga Selemani

FW – Juan-Pablo Sanchez

F – Walter Ponce

Valour substitutions

45:00’: On Guillaume Pianelli; off Abdou Samake

62:37’: On Pacifique Niyongabire; off Juan-Pablo Sanchez

73:31’: On Andy Baquero; off Jared Ulloa

73:43’: On Jordan Haynes; off Ahinga Selemani