“That says a lot about the character we have in this team.”

Valor FC have reached the midpoint of the Canadian Premier League season and general manager and head coach Phillip Dos Santos and his team would rather not make a pit stop, but keep the throttle down on the ground.

“You look at our team in the last four games and having 10 points (three wins and one draw), with three of those four games on the road… we have to keep pushing now,” Dos Santos said.

“We set goals and we told the guys before our last game that travel, no travel, challenges, no challenges, rain or shine, injury or no, the goal doesn’t change. We have to keep going and score points to be able to achieve this goal at the end.

“We are going in the right direction, but we cannot sleep. We must continue to take care of the little things, the little moments. We have to train well, stay competitive and train every day. We can’t just sit back and think everything is fine now.

“We don’t want it to move in any other direction.”

Valour’s 1-1 draw against Atlético Ottawa on Wednesday night in the capital took place under unusual circumstances. The game was originally scheduled for last Sunday, but a COVID-19 outbreak with Ottawa pushed the game to Wednesday and forced the team to scramble and make alternate travel plans.

And it’s what Dos Santos has seen from the way the team reacted to this adversity that has convinced him that they are in good shape mentally and physically.

“The first thing for us as coaches is the spirit the guys play with,” he said. “Their mentality has been phenomenal. There were guys at 3am (Wednesday morning) still at the airport trying to stretch out on the tarmac (waiting for the last of three flights they had to catch to Ottawa from Toronto).

“And you know what…their mentality, the way they deal with it, the way they stay positive no matter what, you get to know your group a lot when the going gets tough.

“That says a lot about the character we have in this team.”

With the club halfway through the season, we thought we’d take a look at 10 numbers that represent what’s in the rear view mirror and what lies ahead…

5-5-4

Valour’s record midway through the season – five wins, five draws and four losses – stands at 20 points. That leaves the club fifth in the CPL table, three behind fourth-placed Forge FC, who they face on Saturday afternoon in Hamilton. Heading into Friday night’s action, Cavalry FC are first overall with 28 points, followed by Atlético Ottawa and Pacific FC with 26, then Forge.

3-1-0

Valor is currently on a four-game unbeaten streak – the best in young franchise history – with three wins and one draw.

14

Regular season games remaining for Valour.

The team will be at home for eight of those matches and on the road for six. The eight home dates include two visits to Pacific and Forge, as well as matches with Cavalry, York United FC, Atlético and FC Edmonton.

The road trips will see Valor hit the East Coast twice to take on HFX Wanderers, with stops in Hamilton, York, Calgary and Edmonton.

+5

Valor’s goal differential in the first half of the season.

Four teams have a positive goal differential: Forge is the best at +16, followed by Cavalry at +11, then Valor at +5 and Ottawa at +1.

Valor finished +2 in that department last year, was -1 in the seven-game Island Games tournament in 2020, and a terrible -22 in its inaugural season of 2019.

6

Goals from Moses Dyer this season, which leads Valor and is tied for third in the CPL. The New Zealander is Valour’s all-time leader in goals scored with 15.

3/29

Penalty goals and shots taken by Dyer this year, both ranked first in the CPL.

5

Valor midfielder Sean Rea’s assists so far this season tied for first in the CPL. The 20-year-old, on loan from CF Montreal of MLS, had four assists in 23 appearances last season. His five assists this year have already equaled Michael Petrasso’s club record, set in 2019.

1.57

Valor is averaging 1.57 goals per game – third-best in the CPL and on course for franchise-best.

The club averaged 1.07 goals per game in 2019, 1.14 at the Island Games and 1.36 a year ago.

4

Clean sheets for Valor goaltender Jonathan Sirois, tied for third in the CPL so far this season. Also on loan from CF Montreal, Sirois has 13 clean sheets in two seasons with Valour, who ranks first overall.

1,170

Minutes played by centre-back Rocco Romeo in the first half of the season – the most on Valor so far this year. Interestingly, this ranks 19e in the CPL this year, serving as a representation of some of the injury issues the club had during the first part of the year and the balance and depth of the roster.

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