The HFX Wanderers FC need to overcome a reoccurring obstacle to get through to the next round of the Canadian Championship.
With Ottawa Fury FC ahead 3-2 after the first leg in Halifax, the Wanderers need to score at least two away goals at the nation’s capital to progress. If they concede, that bumps up the degree of difficulty as even more goals will be required.
“We have to push, we have to score, we need those two goals and we have to do everything to get it,” winger Mohamed Kourouma told CanPL.ca.
“That’s the mindset, that’s the focus. We need to do it, we need to fight. We know it’s going to be hard, but at the end we are ready for the challenge.”
The Wanderers flew from British Columbia to Ottawa to prepare, fresh off a 3-1 loss to Pacific FC in league play. Despite the loss, the Wanderers finally scored an elusive away goal for the first time outside of the Canadian Championship.
“We know that we can bounce back, we have to bounce back,” said Kourouma, who has scored three of his four goals this year in the Canadian Championship.
Across all competitions, the Wanderers have now lost four in a row starting with the loss to Ottawa. A couple days later, the team dropped a 1-0 decision to Cavalry FC with Oliver Minatel delivering a heart-breaking dagger in the 85th minute. A five-game road trip started on the wrong foot with a 2-0 loss to Forge before heading to Pacific.
“Lately we’ve been good at home and everything, but away we struggle. We’re struggling now. But we know we have the team to do it,” Kourouma said.
While away goals have been few and far between all year, the Wanderers did find some success on the road in the Canadian Championship with a 3-2 win against Vaughan Azzurri and a 2-0 win over Valour FC at IG Field.
“Sometimes we were unlucky. It’s not like we didn’t try but sometimes you’re just unlucky or sometimes we didn’t do enough to score,” said Kourouma.
“At least we know we can do it and we’ll try and do that on Wednesday.”
The first leg of the Wanderers-Fury tie was clouded in mystery as it marked the first time a CPL team and USL side squared off. Now we know the two teams can put on a show as evidenced by the back and forth game where the Wanderers equalized twice but left home with the loss.
As for a specific game plan on Wednesday night, it’s a bit more mysterious but Kourouma has a hunch as to how the hosts may play.
“The only thing we can expect is they’re playing at home, they know they have the advantage. I don’t know how they’re going to play it, but I think they’ll play it safe,” Kourouma finished.