Pacific FC’s tough week on the road got off to a rough start as they lost 1-0 to Halifax Wanderers on Saturday (Aug. 20) in Canadian Premier League action.
A first-half red card for Manny Aparicio – his second of the season – put Pacific on the back foot, although the team held on nearly till the end. PFC’s resolve broke when Halifax midfielder Pierre Lamothe sent a shot flying into the net from the edge of the box, sealing the victory for the East Coasters.
PFC started brightly, Marco Bustos first curling a dangerous free-kick into the box which Halifax struggled to clear, and then nearly scoring after some neat interplay between him, Aparicio and Djenairo Daniels gave Bustos space in the box. Though his left-footed shot curled wide.
Then came the moment that changed the game, a bizarre incident that would have more looked suited to a game in the NFL rather than the CPL. Aparicio, pressuring a loose pass, beat Halifax’s Cory Bent to the ball, winning it cleanly. But then Aparicio dropped a shoulder as his momentum sent him careening into Bent, colliding with the Halifax man’s head and leaving him sprawling on the ground. The referee checked with his linesman and gave Aparicio a straight red card, his second of the season after the midfielder was also sent-off against Cavalry on June 30.
Always a fiery competitor, Aparicio will be missed while he serves his suspension. Aparicio’s injury back in May coincided with the beginning of a steep decline in Pacific’s form where they only got two points out of an available 18 and got knocked out of the Canadian Championship.
After the red card, Halifax dominated possession and shots, but couldn’t break through. PFC showed resilience and had some glimpses going forward, with new boy Cedric Toussaint showing some good touches and incisive passing to give Kamron Habibullah a chance that went unconverted.
Ultimately, PFC would concede at 82 minutes, after sustained pressure from Halifax. PFC appeared to have dealt with the danger initially as the defence forced Halifax to pass backwards from a dangerous position in the box. Still, the ball made it to Lamothe on the edge of the box, and he curled a firm shot past the despairing dive of Emil Gazdov.
The loss means PFC missed their chance to reclaim first in the CPL table after Forge FC also lost on Saturday.
Pacific FC heads to Costa Rica next for the second leg of their CONCACAF League tie against C.S. Herediano.
The game is a must-win after PFC lost the first leg 1-0 on Aug. 16.
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