WINNIPEG – This is not a recording. For the second time in a row, Valour FC scraped a point at home with a late penalty kick, as they drew 2-2 with Pacific FC on Wednesday with Michael Petrasso’s last-gasp equalizer.
Valour opened the game on a good note, with recent signing Michele Paolucci scoring in his first start for the club. The Italian forward volleyed home a rebound in the box after his teammate Marco Bustos sent in a free kick which took a dangerous deflection. The visitors responded in kind, though, as Pacific’s Ben Fisk tapped in a loose ball from the six-yard box after Valour’s defence cleared a chance off their goal line just seconds before.
On the brink of halftime, centre-back Lukas MacNaughton rose high above his opposite number in the box to score an emphatic header. Zach Verhoven’s cross found MacNaughton as a clever short corner kick from Pacific sent the Valour defenders into disarray.
Valour didn’t go down without a fight, spending the second half almost entirely on the front foot and outshooting Pacific 12-4 in the last 45. It wasn’t until the very end of the 90 minutes, however, that they’d find their reward: just before the clock ran into stoppage time, Valour’s Skylar Thomas was hauled down in the box and referee Mathieu Souaré pointed to the penalty spot.
Petrasso, who looked sharp in his return to the lineup after well over a month on the sidelines, stepped up to score the spot kick, sending ‘keeper Nolan Wirth the wrong way. Valour managed to hold on to their late equalizer to secure their second straight draw, earned in similar circumstances to the weekend’s 1-1 result against Cavalry FC. However, the club now extends its winless run to 10 matches.
Valour will now turn their attention to Monday’s civic holiday clash on the east coast with HFX Wanderers FC (3:30 p.m. ET, 4:30 p.m. AT, on OneSoccer). With this weekend off, Pacific’s next contest will be August 10 at FC Edmonton (6:00 p.m. ET, 4:00 p.m. MT, on OneSoccer).
4′ – Michele Paolucci (Valour FC)
25′ – Benjamin Fisk (Pacific FC)
43′ – Lukas MacNaughton (Pacific FC)
90+’ – Michael Petrasso (Valour FC)
23′ Yellow – Louis Béland-Goyette (Valour FC)
47′ Yellow – Blake Smith (Pacific FC)
67′ Yellow – Jordan Murrell (Valour FC)
70′ Yellow – Jose Galan (Valour FC)
87′ Yellow – Adam Mitter (Valour FC)
88′ Yellow – Noah Verhoeven (Pacific FC)
Three Key Performers
Michael Petrasso (Valour FC)
He scored a textbook penalty to bring Valour level, and you’d hardly know he’d been out so long with how seamlessly he re-joined the lineup. He showed confidence in attempting long-distance shots that didn’t miss by much and some fancy footwork that helped energize the home side’s attack.
Zachary Verhoven (Pacific FC)
Lining up in a more defensive position than usual, Verhoven was still able to make his presence felt up and down the right flank. He played in five crosses, one of which was a perfect knock to create Pacific’s second goal, plus he was a force on the back end with three tackles, four clearances, and two blocked shots.
Michele Paolucci (Valour FC)
The Italian was a breath of fresh air in a Valour attack that’s struggled to really click recently. He fired five shots at the net, and he showed his wealth of experience by leading the charge as his team chased the game throughout the second half.