Woes In Winnipeg: Valour Miss Playoffs, Again
Canadian Premier League side Valour FC are now zero for five when it comes to locking in a playoff spot.
The Winnipeg-based side found itself officially eliminated last night after a home loss to then-last-placed team Vancouver FC mathematically ruled them out.
That put Valour at the bottom of the table with 23 points after 25 matches played, exactly half of what table-topping Cavalry FC has accrued in the same time.
The club’s fifth Canadian Premier League season was predicted to have a rocky trajectory after the transfer window came and went any head-turning additions to replace the likes of big-game goalscorers William Akio and Moses Dyer, or Best U-21 Canadian award recipient Sean Rea.
The lack of goal contributions has cost the club dearly: they’re tied for least goals scored in the league and are on track to average less than one per match. While the defense was better than the two teams above them, the lack of goals meant wins simply didn’t come.
The warning bells came when they became the first professional team to bow out to amateur opponents in the Canadian Championship, following which it would take the club nine matches in league play to grab a victory.
With just five wins now in the bag – quite outnumbered by eight draws and twelve losses – it’s been a tough go for Phillip Dos Santos, who replaced Rob Gale late into the 2021 CPL season.
It’s hard to judge whether the lack of success on the pitch comes down directly on the first team leadership or a lack of investment from Winnipeg Football Group, who have been vocal on their disappointment in Valour’s failure to build back up to the club’s year one attendance.
Valour had averaged 5,335 fans per match in 2019, and currently sit about 2,000 underneath that number as the club remains locked out of playoffs year-after-year.
To make things even more precarious, recent rumours have sprung up that owners Winnipeg Football Group are quietly looking to sell the club. Wade Miller himself has been vocal about needing many more fans to make it worth their investment, though the club has done little to engrain itself in the community – and even quietly wound down its youth program this year.
The Winnipeg-based side will now close out its season hoping to play spoilers away to playoff contenders Atletico Ottawa and top-of-the-table Cavalry before the last match of the season takes place at home to Halifax Wanderers, a club which Valour would aspire to be: Halifax has got packed stands, a clear and entertaining playing identity, an invested ownership group, and are clear playoff contenders.
It’ll be a match of sharp contrasts, as for Valour it’s back to the drawing board again. That’s football for you.
Header Image Photo Credit: Canadian Premier League