The names on the lineup cards change, as do the venues, yet one thing has remained constant for Valour FC this 2024 Canadian Premier League season – their frustrating inconsistency from one moment to the next, one half to the next.

And it’s costing them dearly.

Valour fell 2-1 to Forge FC at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton Sunday afternoon in a script that was all-too familiar to their effort in a 3-2 home loss to Pacific FC in their last outing – falling behind 2-0 in a mistake-prone opening half, then rebounding to play significantly better in the final half before ultimately falling short again

The result, Valour’s third straight defeat, drops them to 2-1-8 and keeps them locked into seventh place in the CPL standings. Forge FC, meanwhile, improves to 5-2-3.

A soccer player in a black unifroms runs with the ball at his feet.Midfielder Raphael Ohin had a shot go off the crossbar from 30 yards. (Jojo Yanjiao Qian/Forge FC)

“Two games in a row where I feel that we stepped into the game a bit timid,” began Valour GM and head coach Phillip Dos Santos after the match. “Then when we’re in the hole we react to it. The changes in the second half also helped the team grow, be a bit more aggressive, and we knew that all we needed was one goal to put the pressure on their side.

“It’s unfortunate because I felt the response was good. I felt that what we created – they also had their chances and could have gone up 3-1 in the half – but our response is about more that we want to be about and that’s what gives me hope.

“We have a good side,” he added. “We have a good group of players. It’s young. At times, we forget to play 90 minutes and that has hurt us. It’s about pushing the guys. It’s about making them understand this is how the game goes if you play large periods where you don’t compete enough. I have to hold on to the positives here. I have to make sure we build from there and understand that the season is no longer young. It’s still a deficit of points that is possible for us (to make up) and we need to try and find stability and consistency in order to try and close the gap and meet our objectives.”

Valour fell behind early, conceding a goal to Kwasi Poku in the 12th minute and then compounded that early mistake with another in the 31st minute as Poku capitalized on a turnover near midfield and was able to fight off a challenge to flick a shot over goalkeeper Jonathan Viscosi.

As was the case in the loss to Pacific, that 2-nil hole sparked the club with a Shaan Hundal goal in extra time waved off due to an offside call, but that momentum carrying into the second half.

Abdul Binate came off the bench to score in the 71st minute, burying a rebound on a shot by Themi Antonoglou and then Raphael Ohin cranked one off the crossbar from 30 yards out in the 78th minute.

Again, though, not enough and too little too late.

“We came into the change room and said we have another gear to give and that’s what we did in the second half,” said Antonoglou. “(Dos Santos) knows we have another gear to give. He sees it every day and if we had started on the game on the front foot like we did in the second half if would have been a different game.

“… We know what our qualities are. We have really good players on our team. We see it. I see it. The coach sees it every day in training. We train hard and we try to take our sessions into the game.”

Valour had 14 shots, three on target and six corners through 43.4 per cent possession in a match that again showcased some of the best and the worst of the side this season.

The club returns home to Winnipeg with a short turnaround, hosting York United FC at Princess Auto Stadium on Thursday.

“There’s quality there, there’s potential there and every time the team connects, every time we play inside the identity that as a coach and a staff we’re trying to build you see moments where we could rival with everyone in the league,” said Dos Santos. “It’s about finding that consistency and finding that ability to enter games well and finish them well.”

A soccer player in a black uniform defends alongside an opponent who is running with the ballValour defender Franki Facchineri. (Jojo Yanjiao Qian/Forge FC)

Forge FC 2 Valour FC 1
Forge FC
11:56’: Kwasi Poku; assist: Kyle Bekker
30:01’: Kwasi Poku
Valour FC
70:45’: Abdul Binate
Card summary
Valour FC
63:48’: Dante Campbell (yellow, reckless offence)
72:33’: Jordi Swibel (yellow, reckless offence)
76:10’: Themi Antonoglou (yellow, dissent)
91:11’: Frankie Facchineri (yellow, simulation)
Forge FC
87:17’: Tristan Borges (yellow, reckless offence)

GK – Jonathan Viscosi
D – Roberto Alarcon
D – Haris Chantzopoulos
D – Tass Mourdoukoutas
D – Themi Antonoglou
MF – Raphael Ohin ©
MF – Noah Verhoeven
FW – Diogo Dias Da Ressureicao
FW – Jordan Faria
FW – Shaan Hundal
F – Jordi Swibel

Valour substitutions
45:00’: On Dante Campbell; off Noah Verhoeven
62:28;: On Abdul Binate; off Shaan Hundal
92:54’: On Joe Hanson; off Haris Chantzopoulos

This story originally appeared at and is republished here with permission.