By Carter Hochman/Valeo FC
It was another 80 degree and humid 7:00 pm kickoff between Valeo FC and Kingston Stockade FC. The last time these two faced off was at Dietz Stadium where Valeo won 2-1.
As the game kicked off, it was clear that things had picked up where they left off as Valeo would be on the front foot, creating several chances and opportunities. However, none would be on target, making life easier for Kingston goalkeeper Sebastian Cutler.
Valeo would earn two back-to-back corners in quick succession in the eighth minute. The first corner would simply result in a deflected ball behind the endline, giving them a second corner. As the second corner kick was sent into the box, it was headed away by a Kingston defender but only to the feet of Valeo forward Sean Bonval. He would attempt to volley it back on goal, but it would strike the outstretched hand of a Kingston defender, resulting in a penalty kick decision by the referee.
Matthew Bell would step up to take the penalty, smashing it into the bottom left corner of the goal and sending Cutler the opposite way. Valeo would take a 1-0 lead in the 10th minute.
That’s when the Stockade decided to turn on their afterburners and create several chances of their own, even hitting the post on one occasion. Valeo goalkeeper Zach Rowell would stand strong, and the first half would end 1-0.
The teams would go back and forth for every minute of the final 45 minutes, but both Cutler and Rowell would allow nothing behind them. Valeo would unleash a barrage of shots on Cutler’s goal, but they were either blocked, saved, or wide of the net.
The final five minutes of the game were arguably the most stressful if you were a Valeo fan. The Stockade would throw all their cards on the table for several last-minute set pieces, even sending Cutler all the way forward. In the end, they would come up empty, resulting in a 1-0 final score.
Valeo would solidify a #2 seed and home-field advantage for the first playoff game on Wednesday night at 7:00 pm.
Photo Credit: Ben Reimann/Valeo FC