Match Report: Valour FC 1 Cavalry FC 1

After an arduous season-opening stretch of plane trips, countless bus rides, early mornings, late nights and one hotel room after another, Valour FC is finally coming home.

And they’re doing so now with a bit of momentum at their backs.

Valour wrapped a run of seven straight road matches to open the 2024 Canadian Premier League season – eight in a row including a Canadian Championship contest – with a 1-1 draw in Calgary against Cavalry FC Sunday afternoon.

Coupled with last weekend’s victory in Nova Scotia over HFX Wanderers, Valour now has a win and Sunday’s draw – four of a possible six points – in their last two matches after opening with five defeats.

“These games could allow a group to solidify itself, to grow,” said Valour GM and head coach Phillip Dos Santos after the match. “What I saw in the last two games, you went from a team that is very fragile to in the last two games be a team that is difficult to play against and is willing to pay the price to get points and to get wins.”

Valour has traditionally started its seasons on the road to avoid potential weather conflicts in early spring in Winnipeg and, coupled with the new turf being installed at Princess Auto Stadium, their schedule was more than a bit challenging to open the year. The season started on April 14th in Vancouver and has since seen stops in Victoria, Hamilton, Ottawa, Toronto, Halifax and Calgary.

The club’s home opener finally goes next Sunday afternoon at 4 p.m. against Vancouver FC.

Just for the record, the stretch from April 14th through Sunday covered 43 days – or just under 12 percent of the calendar year – and saw Valour go from coast-to-coast.

“It’s been difficult, but that’s football and we have to adjust to the games and everything,” said Valour’s Juan-Pablo Sanchez, the team’s goal scorer on Sunday. “The morale is high right now and we’re just excited to get back to Winnipeg and play in front of our fans.

“It’s going to be good for us.”

Valour centre back Haris Chantzopoulos battles with Tobias Warschewski of Cavalry FC — CFC Media Mike Sturk

Sunday’s home opener will be the first of three straight at Princess Auto Stadium, with the club now playing 14 of its final 21 matches at home. Just as important will be the ability to train at home, get treatment at home and sleep at home.

“There’s the component of playing away – playing against the opposition and travelling – but the most difficult was not being able to get the team in conditions where you could train it, address the game, the problems, the issues,” said Dos Santos. “I look at (one stretch) were we had 20 days and four games and only trained fully twice because the rest was recovery, game-day minus one (day before game) and travel again. It’s very difficult.

“We’re happy. It’s not done. We still have seven difficult games to play on the road this season, but they’re going to be spaced out and for me that’s a relief because that’s how football should be – you get on the road, you know it’s going to be tough and then you come back home and you have your fans there for you, you have your homefield advantage.

“It’s going to be good to get to a normal rhythm and a routine where you have your family around you and focus on other things.”

-Raphael Ohin made his first appearance of 2024 in the second half, coming on in the 76th minute. The Valour captain has played in just one match over the last two seasons due to two devastating knee injuries.

“It’s big for him. I love the kid. I love the human being,” said Dos Santos of Ohin. “It’s for him. What he’s going to bring to the team is important, but it’s for him. He’s a brilliant young man that still has years ahead of him. He needs minutes. My bench was telling me, ‘Phil, the game’s a hard one for a player that hasn’t competed for over a year.’ And I said, ‘There won’t be any easy ones. It’s now and it’s in these conditions because he’s going to help the team.’ He came in and he did the job.”

-Goalkeeper Jonathan Viscosi was back in the Valour net after missing two matches due to a groin injury. He made three saves in the draw.

Valour’s Themi Antonoglou battles Cavalry’s Tobias Warschewski — CFC Media Mike Sturk

Cavlary FC 1 Valour FC 1


Valour FC

30:54’: Juan-Pablo Sanchez (1); assist: Shaan Hundal
Cavalry FC
38:28’: Fraser Aird (3); Malcolm Shaw
Card summary

Valour FC
33:18’: Abdul Binate (yellow, tactical foul)
78:50’: Raphael Ohin (yellow, reckless offence)
87:25’: Jordan Faria (yellow, tactical foul)
Cavalry FC
10:56’: Charlie Trafford (yellow, tactical foul)


GK – Jonathan Viscosi
D – Roberto Alarcon
D – Haris Chantzopoulos
D – Tass Mourdoukoutas (C)
D – Themi Antonoglou
MF – Dante Campbell
MF – Juan Pablo Sanchez
FW – Diogo Dias Da Ressureicao
FW – Abdul Binate
FW – Shaan Hundal
F – Jordi Swibel

Valour substitutions
64:10’: On Jordan Faria; off Abdul Binate
64:11’: On Noah Verhoven; off Diogo Dias Da Ressureicao
75:23’: On Frankie Facchineri; off Roberto Alarcon
75:24: On Raphael Ohin; off Juan-Pablo Sanchez
85:06’: On Zach Sukunda; off Shaan Hundal