The Wanderers Recap: Pure Rage
You rarely watch a match and feel so brutally violated by decisions that impacted the match. In the game between the HFX Wanderers and Pacific FC, the referee, Yusri Rudolf, certainly left Wanderers fans feeling that way.
Typically, you can say argue that there is general fairness in a match and that each team will receive their share of good and bad calls. Still, Rudolf made two of the most contentious calls in Canadian Premier League history. Unfortunately, there is no real solution to the refereeing standard in the Canadian Premier League: it is not where it needs to be for a professional league, and the fans, players and teams deserve better.
The game was sloppy for both sides. I’m not sure whether it was the weather conditions, the intensity of the season, or just two teams that were a bit off. Either way, the first 44 minutes lacked many clear-cut chances created through team build-up, and the chances that were created came from broken plays and quick transitional movement.
In the 44th minute, the HFX Wanderers should have won a penalty. Massimo Ferrin beat Kunle Dada-Luke one on one, and in an attempt to win the ball back, Dada-Luke missed with his first tackle and then clearly struck both of Ferrin’s legs. Instead, Yusri Rudolf awarded the foul to Pacific and gave Massimo Ferrin a yellow card for simulation.
As if scripted by the finest screenwriters in Los Angeles, Pacific scored on a scrappy play just minutes later and right before the end of the half.
As a Wanderers fan, you would expect the team to come out fighting in the second half, but it felt like all the air had been drained from their tires. In the 54th minute, it got worse, as Manny Aparicio delivered an excellent cross that Josh Heard coolly slotted into the back of the net to give Pacific a 2-0 lead.
Keeping with tradition this season, the Wanderers didn’t give up. After a barrage of attacks, they finally broke through with an excellent Dan Nimick headed goal, and as Adam Jenkins said, it is time to start talking about Dan Nimick potentially winning the league MVP.
Unfortunately, the Wanderers couldn’t find a second, even though there was another moment that would have awarded the Wanderers a penalty in any league with VAR: Emil Gazdov elbowed new Wanderers signing Jordan Perruzza in the back of the head while attempting to punch the ball clear (spoiler, he didn’t touch the ball, only Perruzza’s head).
If you are a Wanderers fan, your rage is fully deserved. But, as always, move forward and bring that anger to the next match and cheer even louder for the players who so proudly wear the club crest.