2021 CPL regular season (The Kickoff) — Match #5 Valour FC vs. HFX Wanderers FC June 30, 2021 at 7:00 pm ET/ 6:00 pm CT IG Field in Winnipeg, Manitoba Watch Live: OneSoccer.ca

After very different results on the opening weekend of the 2021 Canadian Premier League season, Valour FC and HFX Wanderers are back at it on Wednesday. The Wanderers come into this match looking to bounce back from a 2-0 loss to Pacific FC on Saturday, while Valour look to build on a 2-0 victory over back-to-back champions Forge FC on Sunday. Austin Ricci was the standout performer for Valour against Forge, drawing the penalty that would become the first goal of the match (scored by Moses Dyer) in the 6th minute, and scoring an impressive solo goal to double his team's lead 20 minutes later. His big performance was rewarded with a spot in the Gatorade Team of the Week, alongside teammates Andrew Jean-Baptiste and Federico Peña, who put in very strong performances in the Valour backline. It was a different story this weekend for Akeem Garcia and his HFX Wanderers side against Pacific FC. They struggled to break down Pacific FC's defence, and the Trinidad and Tobago international striker made a limited impact in his 45 minutes on the pitch before being subbed out at halftime. His replacement Joao Morelli looked sharp after coming off the bench, but it wasn't enough to create a goal for his side. First half goals from Marco Bustos and Ollie Bassett were enough to beat the Wanderers after a pair of lightning delays at IG Field. "In the opening 12 minutes of the game I thought we were getting into some good positions, and we were controlling certain parts of the field, but that fell apart a bit," said Wanderers head coach Stephen Hart. "Once changes were made in the second half, we looked more like the team that we all know. We went forward with a little more fluidity, of course that needs to be improved because we haven't played any games." Wanderers defender Eriks Santos came off in the first half against Pacific with a calf injury, but HFX head coach Stephen Hart said in his pregame media availability that he is expected to be available for Wednesday's match. Valour had an injury of their own, as Brett Levis left the match in the first half, but Rob Gale didn't have an update on his status as of Tuesday afternoon. Wednesday's match should be an interesting tactical matchup, especially if Rob Gale's team is willing to soak up pressure like they did on Sunday. They let Forge have the ball, and hit them on the counter attack, and it worked very well for them. That's similar to how HFX set themselves up at times, so this could be an exciting end-to-end battle. "It's a tough, tough test," said Gale of Wednesday's opponents. "The message hasn't changed in our room. It's only three points (the win over Forge), it's nothing to get excited about. We have to build off of that and try to win back-to-back football games. We know the quality they have, they have a terrific coach in Stephen Hart."


  • 2-0 a regular scoreline between these sides: This fixture has ended 2-0 on four occasions, three times in the league and once in the 2019 Canadian Championship. Coincidentally, Valour won 2-0 on Sunday, and HFX lost 2-0 on Saturday, so if matches on the opening weekend are any indication of what to expect on Wednesday, we could be in for another 2-0 match at IG Field. Both sides have strong backlines and lively attacks, so there's a possibility that there are goals to be scored in this match.​
  • Can Valour win two in a row for the first time?: Valour FC have never won two matches in a row during their time in the CPL -- they're the only one of the original seven CPL clubs yet to do so. After a big win over Forge FC on the opening weekend, they'll have momentum and motivation to get a streak going to begin their 2021 season. While Rob Gale has denied that his team has any kind of advantage by playing at home, and is right to an extent, some Valour fans gathered outside IG Field for their match on Sunday, making it feel as close to a home atmosphere as possible. Before fans can get back into IG Field on July 7th, anyway. They also seemed fairly comfortable playing on the turf, whereas other teams clearly needed to adjust.​
  • Will HFX's attack click in game two?: In their 2-0 loss to Pacific, HFX Wanderers didn't do much with the ball when they had it. They only had three shots on target, one of which was a long-distance effort that never troubled Pacific goalkeeper Callum Irving. Akeem Garcia was quiet, only touching the ball six times (two were from kickoffs at the centre circle) in 45 minutes before before being replaced at halftime. It wasn't all negative, though. Stefan Karajovanovic was lively in his CPL debut, and forced a big stop out of Irving in the second half, while Joao Morelli was a much-needed spark off the bench.

ALL-TIME SERIES Valour wins: 2 || HFX wins: 3 || Draws: 1

Previous match: September 2, 2020 – Valour FC 0-2 HFX Wanderers FC


"[There are] so many emotions. So many people have lost loved ones, sufferered losses unimaginable. People, livelihoods, jobs. It's been terrible to see, and we've all gone through it together. We all stick together, that's what I love about Manitoba, we support each other, we rally each other when we're down... hopefully we can provide entertainment, enjoyment, and some relief from the hard times we've all gone through." Valour head coach Rob Gale on getting fans back into the stands next week

"They have some good wide play, they do well with the overloads on each side of the pitch. On the day against Forge, they took their chances well. They're going to be on a high mentally, and you can expect that they would be looking forward to this game to try and benefit from the momentum."
- Wanderers head coach Stephen Hart on what to expect from Valour

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