Coach Stephen Hart is challenging his players to come out strong at the opening whistle Saturday on the road against York9.
His call follows a first half, in which he described his team as “unrecognizable” as the Wanderers fell 2-0 down to Cavalry, Wednesday.
A spirited second half fightback saw the Wanderers get back into their groove and within a goal of the Canadian Premier League leaders, before losing 2-1.
“We have played the second half of every game at a completely different level from all aspects so it’s obviously a mental thing,” Hart said. “If you can do it in the second half you can certainly do it when you’re fresh in the first half.”
Hart is looking for improved concentration levels from the kick-off, in addition to a better job in keeping and controlling the ball at York.
“It’s a smaller pitch at York so we need to pass the ball in a much more clinical and faster fashion,” Hart said.
Midfielder Andre Rampersad, who scored his first Wanderers goal with a fine volley against Cavalry, said the players are motivated to bounce back quickly.
“After losing a game you want to come back better and we want to win this next game,” he said. “York is going to be tough because they are a really good team but we’re going to show our best.”
The Wanderers began a four match unbeaten run with a 1-1 draw against York9 the last time the teams met in Halifax in an entertaining game, May 29.
Since then, Jimmy Brennan’s squad — known as the Nine Stripes — have picked up their first CPL win and are growing in confidence.
“I think they have a lot of good technical players and they like to play,” said Elliot Simmons. “I think we just have to focus on ourselves and get in their faces.”
Simmons midfield partner Elton John sees the way the team responds at York as another test of character.
“York is a very good team and we’re not going to have the kitchen with us so it will be us together as a team and we need to fight and get ourselves back on a winning streak,” John explained.
The players know it’s an important game as far as the league standings go, given both teams are on the same number of points with the possibility of moving into third place with a win.
“We just need to be brave and take our chances and be awake right from the beginning and if we play our game we could be one of the strongest teams in the league,” said central defender Peter Schaale.
Coach Hart says Brennan’s knowledge of Ontario players has helped him put together a competitive squad in York and one that could already be higher up the table with a bit more luck.
“I think they’re a very nice team they have good players that are comfortable on the ball and at times things haven’t gone their way,” Hart said.
The Wanderers kick off at 4:30 p.m. AST Saturday and you can watch the match live at onesoccer.ca
You can also watch the game with other Wanderers fans at one of our pub partners who will be streaming the game live.
Athens, Auction House, Durty Nelly’s, Freemans (Downtown, Quinpool, Fairview, Sackville), Hali-Mac Axe Throwing, Niche Lounge and The Pint are all showing the game.