Valour FC’s promising stretch at the Canadian Premier League’s Island Games has come to a stop following a frustrating 95 minutes of missed opportunities and a series of woulda, coulda, shouldas.
Two defensive miscues and a missed penalty kick were critical in Valour’s 2-nil loss to Pacific FC at UPEI Alumni Field in Charlottetown Tuesday night, ending a mini-run that had seen the club pick up points in two successive games.
The defeat leaves Valour with a win, a draw and two losses in the seven-match First Stage and drops the club into fourth place in the standings with four points. Pacific FC, meanwhile, was full value for its first victory and leap-frogs Valour into third behind Forge FC and Cavalry FC with five points on their win, two draws and a loss.
The top four teams in the First Stage advance to the second round. Valour has a chance to regroup Saturday in a matinee match against FC Edmonton.
“We regroup with energy now,” said Valour FC GM and head coach Rob Gale afterward. “Look, we’re the only team that’s gone two, two, two, two in the days off (between matches) in the first four games.
“So, now Edmonton (which plays Wednesday) have to do it. Pacific have to do it. We’ve got two games coming up where we’re going to be on three days rest. That gives you an extra day training after recovery.
“We’ll be ready and energized by that last half an hour of football. We played so many games in a short space of time and still managed to put that level of energy into that end of the game.”
“We’ll tidy up some of the little errors today,” added Gale. “It was maybe a game too many with some with heavy legs in maybe their decision making with the ball. But the longer the game went on we overtook the game and I felt we were unfortunate not to get on the scoresheet and level.”
Valour FC was chasing the game early as Alejandro Diaz took advantage of a defensive breakdown to finish in tight for a 1-nil Pacific lead just four minutes into the affair.
Another breakdown in the 83rd minute was also costly, as Victor Blasco got behind Valour’s back line before beating James Pantemis – who got a piece of the shot – for a 2-nil advantage.
Valour had a glorious opportunity to cut into that lead just a few minutes later when Austin Ricci was fouled in the box, but Dylan Carreiro’s penalty was stopped by Pacific goalkeeper Callum Irving and the rebound – which bounced right back to Carreiro – was then put over a gaping net.
That was a theme throughout the night, as Valour’s finish was sloppy. The club has four goals in the tournament – all coming in the win over Atlético Ottawa while they were a man down.
“We’ve just got to take our chances,” said Gale. “That’s a misleading statistic because we battered Ottawa, chance after chance after chance and didn’t take them. The man went off before we scored the penalty.
“Tonight Jamar Dixon (of Pacific) was very lucky to stay on the field… it was a second yellow card (not called) and then we’d have been 10 men and if we scored you’d say it was 10 men. But we created a lot of chances in the last half an hour of that football match and we just ruined the profligacy in front of the goal.”
Asked to what needs to happen to turn the chances into goals, Gale added:
“You put in past the goalie between the sticks and underneath the crossbar… we’ve just got to take our chances. It will come.”
Carreiro’s miss on the penalty came just moments after Fraser Aird – who scored on a penalty against Ottawa – had been subbed off. It was the first penalty missed at the Island Games after eight successive goals from the spot… Valour fired 16 shots, with seven on target… Pacific FC had the edge in possession at 54.4% to 45.6%.
- Alejandro Diaz, 4’
- Victor Blasco, 83’
Austin Ricci, 68’ (yellow)
Jamar Dixon, 33’ (yellow)
VALOUR STARTING XI
65:23’ – On Jose Galán, off Masta Kacher
65:34’ – On Austin Ricci, off Diego Gutiérrez
71:28’ – On Dante Campbell, off Federico Pena
85:37’ – On Daryl Fordyce, off Raphael Ohin
85:40’ – On Solomon Kojo Antwi, off Fraser Aird
NEXT: vs. FC Edmonton, Saturday August 29th, 11 a.m. CDT.