After getting off to a winning start in the CPL’s fall season, the Wanderers are now aiming to get a step closer to the Canadian Championship, Wednesday.
The two legged home and away games against Ottawa are arguably the biggest matches in the club’s short history, with the winners moving on to the dream match up against Toronto FC.
Feeling the passion of the home Wanderers Grounds home crowd helped push the players to a 1-0 win over York9 Saturday, and the team is hoping for that special Halifax support again in the Canadian Championship.
“It’s a massive game for our club and if we win this game there is another even bigger game with Toronto FC,” said full-back Zoom Langwa, who has sent an open letter to fans asking them to rally around the Wanderers. “We need all the support going forward because the fans will be crucial for the game.”
Any fan who buys tickets, or has already — to the Fury match Wednesday — will enter a draw to win flights and accommodation for two for the second leg in Ottawa July 24.
Originally from Ottawa, Langwa will have his own cheer section for the second leg back in his hometown, but his only thought at the moment is getting the job done at home.
Playing next to the National Historic Site of Citadel Hill, the Wanderers have been trying to make their home grounds into a fortress.
The singing, chanting and noise of the crowd has given that bit of extra energy to the players who want the home fans to know that support makes a difference.
“It feels fantastic hearing the crowd and the songs as a player, you get momentum getting on the ball,” said Elliot Simmons.
Between the ages of 9 and 12 Simmons was with Ottawa’s youth academy before moving back to England, so he’s also hoping to show that early development helped shape him in this home and away series.
It’s a special one for Zachary Sukunda too, who is another player looking forward to facing his hometown team.
“It’s exciting, it’s always been a hope of mine I would get to play against the Fury. I played quite a bit in the USL so I know the standard and I know Ottawa is on a hot streak right now,” Sukunda said.
There’s added spice to the match up with the Wanderers representing the new Canadian Premier League against the Fury, who play in the United Soccer League.
With 27 goals and only three losses in their 17 USL games so far, Wanderers head coach Stephen Hart expects an organized Fury team.
“The cup competition is one where anything can happen,” said Hart. “I think it’s going to be a fantastic game because Ottawa have been doing really well in the league and of course all the CPL teams in this competition are the underdog teams so it’s a big game.”
With five wins from eight games at the Wanderers Grounds, coach Stephen Hart is happy to be playing the first leg of this Round Three Battle of the North match up against Ottawa at home.
With away goals potentially a deciding factor if the overall score is level after both legs, Hart is drilling into the players how valuable another clean sheet would be.
“At home you have to try and seek as much advantage as possible, so you want to come away with the points without being scored upon,” Hart said.
The Wanderers kick-off against Ottawa Fury at 7 p.m. AST.