A sweltering afternoon in Halifax played the backdrop to yet another successfully day of football for HFX Wanderers FC, who hosted and defeated visiting York9 FC at Wanderers Grounds by way of an Akeem Garcia goal in the second half en route to a 1-0 win.
A cagey first half saw the two outfits produce chances on either end, with Mohamed Kourouma proving a handful throughout the first 45 minutes. A Manny Aparicio missed opportunity at the far post was as close as the Nine Stripes got to opening the scoring, with goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams proving himself to be a safe pair of hands when counted upon.
Kourouma continued to press the Y9 backline in the second half, forcing goalkeeper Nathan Ingham into a big save in the 54th minute. Perhaps that was just a warning, however, as Akeem Garcia then robbed Roger Thompson of the ball, finding Kodai Iida to his left; the Japanese attacking midfielder forced Ingham into another save, which he palmed out onto the feet of an onrushing Garcia, who finished coolly to give his team a 1-0 lead in the 55th minute.
Despite a late flurry of looks by York9, that would be the only goal of the match, as the Wanderers held on in front of their raucous supporters to win yet another fixture at home.
Next up for these two sides? The first leg of the latest round of Canadian Championship action, of course. HFX Wanderers FC takes on Ottawa Fury at Wanderers Grounds (Wednesday, July 10 at 7:00 p.m. AT/6:00 p.m. ET, available on OneSoccer), while York9 FC hosts the Montreal Impact at York Lions Stadium (Wednesday, July 10 at 7:30 p.m. ET, on OneSoccer).
55′ – Akeem Garcia (HFX Wanderers FC)
84′ Yellow – Diyaeddine Abzi (York9 FC)
Three Key Performers
Akeem Garcia (HFX Wanderers FC)
Did well to force the turnover that ultimately yielded his team’s opening goal, putting pressure on Thompson, finding Iida in a dangerous position, and then setting himself up to finish any spilled effort. His read of the play up top gave his team the edge when it mattered, and his goal proved vital to HFX’s cause on the day, too.
Joe Di Chiara (York9 FC)
Was quite active in midfield, forcing 10 turnovers of possession and giving his team some much-needed relief in a zone that the Wanderers overwhelmed at times with attacking pieces. The York9 midfielder’s production was also above average, though yielded little in the end.
Kodai Iida (HFX Wanderers FC)
All over the park for 77 minutes of play, and tested the York9 backline throughout that time. The Japanese midfielder got between the lines of midfield and defence so often that the Nine Stripes couldn’t quite sit comfortably where it counted. Helped to set up the only goal of the game with his shot on goal, too. Not a bad afternoon, all things considered.