Vancouver FC picked up a crucial home victory on Friday, July 7, as they downed the Halifax Wanderers 2-1 at Langley’s Willoughby Community Park, allowing them to temporarily climb to seventh in the Canadian Premier League table.
Despite facing a surging Wanderers side, who had won three of their last four games, Vancouver managed to pick up their second home victory of the season.
Vancouver opened the scoring in the 10th minute when Min-Jae Kwak found a wide-open Gabriel Bitar in the box with a low cross for Bitar’s first of the season.
Their lead would be extremely short-lived, as Halifax tied the game less than two minutes later.
In the 56th minute, Kwak found Shaan Hundal who laid it off to Mikaël Cantave, who slotted the ball into the bottom right corner for his first goal with the club after his recent arrival from Cavalry.
Vancouver’s head coach, Afshin Ghotbi disclosed part of their strategy was to deny service to Halifax’s defensive midfielder, Lorenzo Callegari, who only had 54 touches through the first 75 minutes, a far cry from the three figures he can sometimes comfortably clear in that category (although he did finish with 88 thanks to a strong late Halifax push).
“I think that’s how we had to play,” Ghotbi commented afterwards. “We felt that Callegari is key to them connecting their backline to the strikers.”
And they were able to catch Halifax in possession a few times, creating opportunities in the final third.
“It’s something that suits us, pressing on the front foot,” Vancouver midfielder, Elliot Simmons, said. “We’ve got a lot of attacking players that are very dynamic, and it suits them playing a bit higher up, as when we win it, we have a lot of runners that can come forward and create chances.”
Some bad news for Vancouver when the lineups for the match were released, with their starting goalkeeper and captain, Callum Irving, ruled out with a stomach bug.
Having played every minute this year for Vancouver, it was a key absencel.
In his place, 24-year-old Jeremy Zielinski stepped up, making two saves en route to his first professional win.
Vancouver is on the road next week, visiting Atlético Ottawa on Sunday, July 16th at TD Place.
Have a story tip? Email: email@example.com
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.