Matchday Report

There is often a lot of frustration, even anger, in a nil-nil draw at home. And as evidence we give you Valour FC as Exhibit: A.

Valour played to a 0-0 draw with HFX Wanderers in front of 2,665 in a Canadian Premier League matinee at IG Field Saturday, giving them a win and three ties in their first four matches of the season.

And while there were some obvious silver linings – the club has now surrendered just two goals this year and has done so with a back line ravaged by injuries – GM and head coach Phillip Dos Santos wasn’t in a forgiving mood after the match.

“Look, we take the fact that, yeah, a clean sheet, a point… all of that is good,” began the Valour boss. “But I think that today was potentially our worst game of the season for a CPL league game. Good fight. Good character. I can’t take that away from the guys, but I just think on the ball we need to be so much better.

“Today it was just too many guys who are normally good on the ball and that settle us on the ball and allow us the ability to breathe a little bit weren’t great. But I think it’s good. Sometimes we need to come back to earth a little bit and we need to look at things and say, ‘Hey, we’re far, far yet from what this team needs to be if we want to be up there and competing all the time for those top positions.’

“It’s going to be a battle,” he added. “It’s going to be a war and if you have an off day or a day where things aren’t going your way, yeah, get out of it with a point, but it means there’s work to be done.”

Wanderers, just like Valour a squad that has undergone significant change heading into the season, earned its fourth draw in as many matches.

Valour controlled the play for the first 30 minutes, but it was the visitors who pressed in the second half. Wanderers fired 12 shots at goalkeeper Rayane Yesli – five of them on target – while Valour managed two chances on goal. And it was a spectacular save by Yesli in the 66th minute which helped preserve the draw for Valour.

Valour was without centre backs Guillaume Pianelli, Andrew Jean-Baptiste and Matthew Chandler and right back Andy Baquero, but got solid work from Eskander Mzoughi – working in Baquero’s spot – in his CPL debut. Midfielder Dante Campbell was also a force, especially defensively, in the middle of the park.

“We’re still positive,” said centre back Abdou Samake. “We’re excited with what we have and are very happy with how the guys are working together and how the guys are coming in. We’re still undefeated, we’ve conceded two goals. We keep moving forward. That’s it. Next game.

“This one is a bit disappointing, of course. To be at home and not win is always disappointing. But it fuels us. We have big characters on this group, and we just keep pushing forward onto the next one.”

Valour is next on the road on May 13th in Hamilton against Forge FC. And the week ahead is certain to include Dos Santos challenging his squad for more.

“Look, (the draw) is good, but then if it starts to be too much then it’s one point, plus one point, plus one. You need wins in there,” he said. “You need to accumulate points faster. We can’t forget that. Very fast we could be playing catching up, so when you have the opportunity to get points, especially at home, you need to.

“I want to keep pushing the guys. I don’t want this to be a group where it’s, ‘Ah, we’re happy. We came out of it. We’re undefeated for CPL league games.’ I want to keep pushing the group and if we have a day where we don’t meet our potential I’m going to challenge the guys. We hold each other accountable and that’s the only way the team is going to grow.”




Valour FC:

90:32’: Abdou Samake (yellow, argument)

93:59’: Diego Gutiérrez (yellow, dissent)

HFX Wanderers FC

48:30’: Theo Collomb (yellow, reckless offence)

87:16’: Armaan Wilson (yellow, tactical foul)

90:30’: Zachary Fernandez (yellow, argument)

92:28’: Lorenzo Callegari (yellow, tactical foul)


GK Rayane Yesli

D Eskander Mzoughi

D Klaidi Cela

D Abdou Samake

D Matteo de Brienne

MF Diego Gutiérrez (C)

MF Dante Campbell

MF Juan Pablo Sanchez

FW Kian Williams

FW Pacifique Niyongabire

F Anthony Novak

Valour substitutions:

60:39’: on Walter Poncé; off Anthony Novak

68:40’: on Kevin Rendon: off Juan-Pablo Sanchez

68:44’: on Jared Ulloa; off Kian Williams