Vancouver FC claimed back-to-back wins for the first time in club history on Saturday, Sept. 23, as they downed the Halifax Wanderers through a 95th-minute winner off an own goal by Halifax’s Daniel Nimick at Willoughby Stadium in Langley.
Even though the team’s playoff hopes are over, Vancouver was still looking to finish their last three games strong and their season on a high note.
Halifax struck first, after Massimo Ferrin found himself in on a breakaway.
Entering the half down a goal, Vancouver found their equalizer in the 69th minute. After catching Halifax in possession in midfield, Elliot Simmons found Gabriel Bitar with a pass, one that Bitar would take in stride and slot home from the edge of the box to make it 1-1.
The deciding goal came late in the game when Vancouver’s Shaan Hundal found himself alone on a breakaway.
There, the unlikely would happen, as Halifax’s Daniel Nimick attempted to clear the ball after Hundal took his shot, but ended up slamming the it off the crossbar, and in, to give Vancouver the late winner.
— Vancouver Football Club (@vanfootballclub) September 23, 2023
As a result, the Wanderers will have to wait to clinch a playoff spot, which they would’ve been able to do with a victory.
Vancouver keeper Callum Irving described the game as “a tough one.”
“We started off really poorly, I thought in the first half,” Irving said in a post-game interview.
“When you perform like that in the first 20, 30 minutes, I think every player comes in and shuts up and listens to the coach. So that was the the main thing that happened in there. You know, we all took our medicine and he let us know what we had to do. We just had to step up our our intensity, our focus, and we did that.”
— Canadian Premier League (@CPLsoccer) September 23, 2023
Even though Vancouver is out of the playoffs, Irving said they’re “trying to show that we’re still a club on the rise and show our fans that we’re a team that deserves to be supported. They’ve been here all year, but we want them to come out in droves next year.”
Next, Vancouver FC plays Pacific on Saturday, Sept. 30 at Starlight Stadium in Victoria in a 2 p.m. matinee game, then returns home to Langley on Friday, Oct. 6 to play York United at 7:30 p.m.