Pacific FC remain top despite dropped points versus York

Alejandro Diaz hurdles a challenge from York United’s Diyaeddine Abzi during the Pacific FC versus York United match at Starlight Stadium on May 20, 2022. (Simon Fearn/Black Press Media)Alejandro Diaz hurdles a challenge from York United’s Diyaeddine Abzi during the Pacific FC versus York United match at Starlight Stadium on May 20, 2022. (Simon Fearn/Black Press Media)
Coach James Merriman hugs Gianni dos Santos after the Pacific FC versus York United match at Starlight Stadium on May 20, 2022. (Simon Fearn/Black Press Media)Coach James Merriman hugs Gianni dos Santos after the Pacific FC versus York United match at Starlight Stadium on May 20, 2022. (Simon Fearn/Black Press Media)
York United goalkeeper Niko Giantsopoulos makes a save during the Pacific FC versus York United match at Starlight Stadium on May 20, 2022. (Simon Fearn/Black Press Media)York United goalkeeper Niko Giantsopoulos makes a save during the Pacific FC versus York United match at Starlight Stadium on May 20, 2022. (Simon Fearn/Black Press Media)

Pacific FC’s perfect home record at Langford’s Starlight Stadium ended with a drab nil-nil draw against York United Friday night.

The visitors, boasting the best defence in the Canadian Premier League, had conceded just five goals all season heading into the game and PFC, despite its league-leading attack, never threatened to break down the Ontarians’ stout defence.

“Credit to them,” Pacific head coach, James Merriman, said after the match. “They brought a lot of intensity and physicality to the match, and I thought we were maybe a little bit slow in the middle third and transition, at times, it could have gone a little bit quicker, we could have caught them out, but overall it was a high intensity, good game.”

Defences were on top throughout with towering centre back Amer Didic winning player-of-the-match for PFC, while his teammates were left frustrated at the other end of the field. York actually outshot Pacific, although they couldn’t manage a single effort on target.

PFC nearly broke through early, as York goalkeeper Niko Giantsopoulos, who was signed as emergency coverage for Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday, scampered backwards to tip Kamron Habibullah’s dipping shot over the bar on nine minutes. That would be the hosts’ best chance for a long stretch as they struggled to get anything going, top scorer Alejandro Diaz and top assister Marco Bustos looking increasingly frustrated as the game wore on.

The best chance of the game fell to the feet of Diaz, but his close-range shot was blocked on 78 minutes. After a cross-field pass from Bustos, Gianni dos Santos stepped inside and crossed the ball. Diaz challenged for the ball in the air and he reacted quickest to the loose ball, swivelling and shooting as the ball bounced up, but York defender Roger Thompson stretched out a leg and blocked the shot.

Ultimately, PFC could not breakthrough and the game ended scoreless. Despite the dropped points, PFC remain top of the CPL with a six-point gap between them and two teams tied on second, Cavalry FC and Atletico Ottawa, but both have a game in hand.

PFC are back in action on Tuesday in Canadian Championship action against York United.

ALSO READ: PFC stretches lead at top of CPL with 2-1 win against Edmonton


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