Match Report July 14: Foothills FC vs Seattle Sounders U23
By Stuart Gradon, Total Soccer Project
Okotoks, Alberta - Calgary Foothills FC wrapped up an excellent regular season with a 2-0 victory over Seattle Sounders U23 in Okotoks Saturday afternoon. Foothills FC ends the regular season atop the PDL Northwest Division with a club-record 35 points, with 11 wins, one loss and two draws.
Calgary Foothills FC had secured the PDL Northwest Division title before Saturday’s game, but Foothills FC’s head coach Tommy Wheeldon Jr. was pleased to see his side stick to their task and deliver a strong performance as they now head off to the PDL Western Conference Championship next weekend.
“(Sounders U23) were chasing the wildcard and it made it meaningful for our boys,” said Wheeldon. “It’s the best preparation before we go to a Western Conference (playoffs). Today shows that we find different ways to win. It might not have been our top performance, but it was another winning performance.”
Sounders FC, who needed points from Saturday’s match to earn a playoff spot of their own, pressed their hosts strongly in the first half, but Foothills FC weathered the pressure well and eventually found the form that has carried them to the Division Championship.
“I thought our centre backs were very good again,” said Wheeldon. “Because the way Seattle played, very physical, very direct. We made a couple of adjustments when we needed to overload the wide areas. Once we did, we creating more chances.”
Foothills FC’s Moses Danto scored the opening goal in the 53rd minute with a glancing header off a corner kick. Foothills FC’s Elijah Adekugbe had earlier seen a penalty kick saved in the 49th minute, after Sounders U23 had a player sent off for a handball on the goal line.
Sounders U23 had a second player sent off for a dangerous foul in 73rd minute and Moses Danto was able to add second goal in injury time.
The second strike took Danto’s total goals on the season to 11 but he was quick to share credit for his two-goal performance. “It’s down to the guys behind me,” said Danto. “They do all the work. My job is to just put the ball into the net.”
The Foothills FC striker had special praise for Carlos Patino, who delivered the corner kick for Danto’s opener. “That’s my guy - every game,” exclaimed Danto. “So happy to have him back. He does what he does best.”
Saturday’s match also provided the club and it’s fans the opportunity to celebrate the Divisional Championship together. “I see a lot of familiar faces in the friends and family section,” said Wheeldon following the match. “I see a lot of familiar faces from the Foothills core and I see a lot of the same faces in the Foot Soldiers (supporter group), who have been here from day one.”
Calgary Foothills FC now head to Los Angeles, California to compete in the Premier Development League Western Conference championships the weekend of July 20-22.
“(Now) we focus on the semifinal on Friday night,” said Wheeldon. “It’s straight knockout. We’re going to put 100 per cent of our attention on our opponent.”
The winner of the PDL Western Conference playoffs will gain a berth in the PDL championship semifinals to be played on July 28th, which could be back at home in Okotoks.