Despite the scoreline suggesting otherwise, Pacific FC ultimately strolled to a 3-2 victory in their second game of the season against Winnipeg-based Valour FC.
After a big win against Forge FC, the reigning Canadian Premier League Champions were looking to make it two for two in front of home support at Starlight Stadium in Langford on Sunday (April 17). Pacific FC’s attacking play for most of the game was flowing and was made slightly easier by an early red card against Valour FC.
The home team lacked a little fluidity to their build-up in the first few minutes, but Pacific found its rhythm as their playmakers got on the ball more. A slick one-two between Alejandro Diaz and Marco Bustos released the latter down the right, PFC’s captain artfully crossing with the outside of his left foot and allowing midfielder Manny Aparicio to steal into the box and tap home. The home team had a lead in the first 20 minutes.
It went from bad to worse for Valour FC after defender Tony Mikhael, who had been subbed on for an injury for only a handful of minutes, flew into PFC left-back Nathan Mavila with his foot raised. The referee showed no hesitation with the red card and Mikhael was sent off.
The home team would go on to dominate with the extra man, especially down the right, with Kunle Dada-Luke’s running and Bustos’ interplay posing problems for Valour. Diaz redeemed himself after an earlier miss when he turned home from Bustos’ low cross – making the score 2-0 after 32 minutes. That was Diaz’s second goal of the season and Bustos’ third assist.
Pacific’s passing really started flowing after the second goal. Bustos and Aparicio showed their range of passing with some raking cross-field passes. But the mood in the home stadium was deflated slightly when Valour’s winger William Akio stormed down the right-wing and crossed in, with Dada-Luke steering his defensive header into his own net.
Pacific FC could have had another goal almost immediately after Josh Heard was brought down the box after controlling a crisp Aparicio pass. Bustos stepped up, but his low penalty was saved by keeper Jonathan Sirois. PFC looked to have had instant relief from the following corner, but the referee judged Matthew Baldisimo to have used his arm in controlling the ball before firing into the roof of the net.
The score at half-time remained 2-1.
PFC remained on top in the second half, creating a number of chances. A breakaway from a corner allowed Josh Heard to get in on the action, finishing clinically after a counter-attack from a corner on 65 minutes. PFC’s momentum faltered slightly as substitutes came on, but the score remained 3-1 until added time when Valour’s Moses Dyer converted the penalty he won to make the score 3-2.
Pacific FC will be back at Starlight Stadium next Saturday against Halifax Wanderers.
PFC has only lost once against Valour, during the organization’s very first game in 2019.