It took a few moments of magic, but Valour FC is back in the win column, edging HFX Wanderers FC by a score of 2-0 on Wednesday at IG Field. With two quick goals to open the second half, Valour downed HFX for the fourth time this year across all competitions.
The first half was a back-and-forth, physical struggle between two sides trying to establish themselves in midfield. With the Wanderers trying to return to form after a three-week layoff, they were a little disjointed at times as they couldn’t quite connect their passes in the attacking third. With plenty of shots in the opening frame, but very few on target, neither club established an advantage before halftime.
That all changed when the sides reconvened for the second half, though. Almost immediately out of the gate, the home side took over — or, perhaps, Marco Bustos did. The diminutive attacker opened the scoring with a stunning run through four HFX defenders, chipping a shot over Jan-Michael Williams not two minutes after the restart.
Bustos made it two very shortly after, cleverly sneaking behind the Wanderers’ backline to receive a pass in a huge pocket of space. He sidestepped an onrushing Williams, and slotted his second of the night into the corner.
Valour saw out the match in similarly dominant fashion, holding the trailing Wanderers to just three shots (one on target) in the second half. Rob Gale’s side smothered the visitors, refusing to afford them enough possession to mount a dangerous attack as they sailed to victory.
Hoping to build on this win, Valour will host Cavalry FC on Monday, September 2 (3:30 p.m. ET, 2:30 p.m. CT, on OneSoccer). HFX’s next appearance will also be on Labour Day, as they return to Wanderers Grounds to host another Alberta side, FC Edmonton (1:00 p.m. ET, 2:00 p.m. AT, on OneSoccer).
47′ – Marco Bustos (Valour FC)
50′ – Marco Bustos (Valour FC)
28′ Yellow – Kouamé Ouattara (HFX Wanderers FC)
45+’ Yellow – Adam Mitter (Valour FC)
78′ Yellow – Marco Bustos (Valour FC)
Three Key Performers
Marco Bustos (Valour FC)
Absolute magic from the Winnipeg native. His agile run through the Wanderers defence was a fine piece of skill, as was his quick thinking to dip behind the centre-backs ahead of his second goal. He led his team with 40 passes in the attacking half and 14 duels, on a night where he took control.
José Galán (Valour FC)
Valour’s Spanish midfielder had a quietly excellent night, taking a match-high 77 touches. He was solid on both sides of the ball, passing with 84.5% accuracy and making six tackles. He did very well picking out dangerous passes in the attacking half, in what was a consistent — if not flashy — performance.
Mohamed Kourouma (HFX Wanderers FC)
It wasn’t a great night for the Wanderers attack, but that wasn’t for lack of effort from Kourouma. He took Valour’s strong right side head-on, feeding in seven crosses and distributing the ball with 93.9% accuracy. He was let down by his teammates’ finishing on occasion, but it was an otherwise lively evening for the winger.