Valour FC was eliminated from contention for the Canadian Championship on Wednesday.
Valour was beaten 2-1 by Forge FC in the quarter-finals of the Canadian Championship at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton.
Forge FC advanced to the semifinals on the back of a pair of first-half goals. David Choiniere opened the scoring in the 33rd minute, before Woobens Pacius struck again on a controversial goal only five minutes later in what was a dreadful opening half for the visitors.
Valour FC goalkeeper Matthew Silva made the first stop, but the ball appeared to ricochet off Pacius’ hand before he tapped it in for their second goal of the match and the eventual game winner. Silva immediately called out to the referee for the hand ball, but there’s no video review, so the goal was allowed to stand.
“The second one is not a goal,” Valour FC general manager and head coach Rob Gale said afterwards. “It’s got to be ruled out. It’s hand ball. It’s clear as day, and then you got a mountain to climb at 2-nil.”
“Listen, I’m going to plea as long as I can that that’s a hand ball,” said Silva. “I’m sure you guys saw it on video, on your replay, and stuff like that. It is what it is. There’s missed calls. There’s good calls. There’s bad calls. It doesn’t matter.
“Like I said, in the first half, we didn’t put the front foot forward and maybe capitalize on some chances we should of. It’s one call. It sucks that it leads to a goal, but there’s a thousand of those a game.”
Valour FC had a much better second half. They took advantage of an error by Forge FC keeper Triston Henry in the 60th minute. Austin Ricci came running in and kicked it away from the goalkeeper and into the goal before the two collided.
Ricci stayed down for quite some time, but waved off the stretcher and limped off the field to exit the game.
Valour FC defender Rafael Galhardo de Souza was given a red card at the final whistle.
Valour won both their previous meetings this season against the two-time defending CPL champs, but a lackluster first half was just too much to overcome. Valour has now lost four straight matches overall, and have just one win in their last 11 games.
“We were too passive first half,” said Gale. “Changed it, second half we were a much better team. We were on the front foot. We were aggressive. We played between them. We defended higher up the field.
“That’s the blueprint for us going forward to get on the front foot and get on the throttle.”
Forge FC advances to the final four where they will play the winner of another quarterfinal match between the HFX Wanderers and CF Montreal.