May 20, 2024
  • May 20, 2024
Vancouver FC Afshin Ghotbi

‘The Eagles Have Landed’: Vancouver FC Raring To Go As Halifax Comes To Town

By on April 18, 2024 0 606 Views

Vancouver FC’s sophomore season got off to a hot start on Sunday through a 4-1 home victory, though the turnaround time for a repeat performance is slim: the team opens matchweek two tonight, hosting a hungry Halifax Wanderers side just four days after their season opener.

Still, after seeing his side instigate a mature comeback with three new club signings find the back of net and a club-record seventh goal for Gabriel Bitar, the prematch mood was good as Afshin Ghotbi sat down with media.

“The Eagles have landed,” Ghotbi opened to Felipe Vallejo. “I think the spirits are very high, the players are very happy with their second half and the result of the first match.”

“We’ve built a team where we have the depth, we have the balance, we can adjust very quickly when necessary. So, we just move on: we celebrated after the game for a few hours, and then we moved on and the next day we focused on the game on Thursday.”

Vancouver FC Callum Irving
Photo Credit: Beau Chevalier / Vancouver FC

Team captain Callum Irving has felt the difference in approach as the club matures into the eight team league. He describes that last year the team might have lingered on their opening victory a little too long, unsure of when the next would come.

“This year feels a little bit more business-like, I would say,” says Irving. “We’ve been preparing, we’ve had a solid roster for most of preseason, whereas last year it was preparing right up until gameday pretty much, or trying to get the roster finalized even throughout the season.”

It’s expected that Callum will lead the side into its second match, though after veteran goalkeeper Niko Giantsopoulos joined the team, the competition within the team has been elevated – something that Callum embraces wholeheartedly.

“Competition is something that you want throughout he squad. Everybody should be doing their best to maintain their position on the field, that’s what builds a championship team. I think bringing him in definitely does that. I know he’ll be ready if his name is called,” adds Irving.

Ghotbi faces an ‘enjoyable’ selection headache, even stating that last week’s players who didn’t crack the opener’s matchday roster had been training well. That being said, there may not imply a bevy of rotation: many of last week’s faces – fitness pending – are expected to return for the club’s second straight home match.

Vancouver FC Moses Dyer
Photo Credit: Beau Chevalier / Vancouver FC

That includes the striker duo of Alejandro Diaz and Moses Dyer, who combined well to split the Valour defense several times a few days ago. Moses found the net, while Alejandro’s two assists were a league-best for the opening weekend.

“I have four good strikers, and two of them are I think will be the top strikers in the league – so I have to play with them,” says Ghotbi.

The veteran head coach has typically used single-striker formations in the past, but admits that as the years have gone by he now adapts to the system that best lends itself to the roster available. In Vancouver’s case, that’ll be a front two – as he puts it, they’re talented enough that he just simply can’t keep ’em out.

Halifax Wanderers Andre Rampersad
Halifax were hard-done by not to get a goal over the weekend. (Photo Credit: Canadian Premier League)

Even with a deep roster, the Vancouver boss recognizes it will no easy task against Halifax: he says Patrice has developed an energetic side out on the Atlantic, describing them as a team that plays with a high level of commitment who have bought in to their coach’s ideology. He believes that will result in a very high-tempo, open game.

“When we play against them, it’s always a great game. They want to play, they want to attack, they want to score, we want to do the same.”

The Eagles will preserve their early top-of-the-table status with a win tonight, though Halifax – who reached playoffs last season – will be looking to head back to the Atlantic with at least three points from their prolonged trip out west.

Vancouver FC will debut the club’s cherry blossom kit tonight as they host the Halifax Wanderers at 7:00PM PST.

Support Northern Tribune On Patreon

Header Image Photo Credit: Beau Chevalier / Vancouver FC

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *