Home sweet win for Foothills FC
Video of the match can be seen at THIS LINK
The game stats story is at THIS LINK
It was another scrappy affair in what is perhaps Canada’s fiercest USL2 rivalry as Foothills FC defeated the Vancouver TSS Rovers 3-2 in Calgary’s home opener as they defend their national championship. The club’s home undefeated streak also now stretches to 46 months.
On goals from Willy Akio, Tofa Fakunle and Dan Hayfield, the only three returning players from 2018, and all highlight reel material, Foothills continued their perfect start to the season with their third consecutive win, and second in a row against the Rovers.
Coach Leon Hapgood said in all honesty that all three of the team’s goals were great goals.
Akio scored midway through the first half with a two touch ball after a perfect lob was placed to him forty yards out by Daniel Pritchard. He finished off with a cartwheel backflip in front of the home fans.
“They were good team goals with great build up play. We played better football for an hour,” said Hapgood. “Then it got scrappy and a bit out of control.”
The issue for the club in white with green stripes became reactions to goals for, with goals against.
Matteo Polisi scored his fourth goal in as many matches with a penalty kick after his teammates was tripped up inside the 18 yard box. Then shortly after Hayfield’s blast on a drop pass from Fakunle, Kristian Yli-Hietanan responded just 70 seconds later with a nice tip shot in front of Foothills keeper Ben Jackson.
“After our second goal we gave away a sloppy one and we are not switched on. Then we get the two goal lead again then gave up another sloppy one. So we will have to address that,” said coach Hapgood in a jovial but tempered mood afterwards.
The physical element of the match seemed to ramp with each quarter hour that went by, as Eric de Graff was taken out with a serious knee injury halfway through the second frame after a midfield collision. The arguing with officials from both sides ramped up for the remainder of the match and several yellow cards were issued.
“It’s about our emotions and our control,” said Hapgood. “If we can maintain our control and keep our minds on the game in possession we will be better.”
Captain Fakunle, along with Akio and forward Cory Bent had numerous chances at goal all night long, including a shot off the cross bar from Bent in the second minute.
“We put the ball away and now we have to focus on not allowing them to score. Our front three worked hard in training this week and or coaching staff put together a phenomenal game plan. It adapted to what we needed as a team.”
The next match in this three game streak between the two teams will return to Hellard Field on Sunday, May 26th at 2pm, single game tickets are available at the door for $15.
PHOTO COURTESY OF STUART GRADON OF TOTAL SOCCER PROJECT