(Sheldon Mack/Pacific FC)
Every PFC Player’s Highlight of the Season: Goalkeepers
The 2023 Pacific FC season is officially in the rearview mirror. As such, it’s now time to look back and reflect on what was an excellent six months of football for the Tridents.
This series will look at each position on the pitch and pick out every PFC player’s highlight of the season. Today, we begin at the back with the goalkeepers.
1. Emil Gazdov – GK
- In 2023, Pacific’s 20-year-old goalkeeper experienced the bumpy road that your first season as a no. 1 in goal will bring but grew immeasurably because of it. For Gazdov, the high points included a penalty save and shootout victory in the Canadian Championship preliminary round in just the second match of the season, as well as a Team of the Week nod during Matchweek 23 which included two excellent performances, multiple good stops, and another penalty save. But on top of those, the two playoff performances against York United FC and HFX Wanderers FC – both clean sheets – have to top the list thanks to the composure and poise shown by the young Gazdov.
12. Kieran Baskett
- Baskett’s first season on the Island saw the goalkeeper make 11 appearances overall and keep four clean sheets. Baskett’s value to the team was on full display during his run in the team this season. Of the 11 matches the 22-year-old played this season, the Tridents lost just three – the highlight of which was a seven-match unbeaten run through May and June. In that run was also a three-match clean sheet streak and a spot in goal during Pacific’s historic victory at Vancouver FC in the first meeting between the two on the Mainland. In the end, Baskett’s commanding presence at the back was a welcome addition to the Tridents in 2023 and the Halifax native will have many positive performances to look back on at the end of the year.
Pacific’s goalkeeper group this season also included Van Isle Wave’s Jack Garner who spent time training with the Tridents on a Development Player Contract before leaving to begin his post-secondary career at the University of British Columbia where he will suit up for the Thunderbirds. Those keen-eyed observers will remember Garner was named to the bench for Pacific’s opening match of the season against Vancouver FC. The now 18-year-old never saw the pitch for the Tridents, but making the bench at such a young age is an accomplishment and highlight in itself.
It was a very young goalkeeper crew for Pacific in 2023, but the quality shown by both Gazdov and Baskett – as well as the incredible potential – were key to the Tridents going deep in the Canadian Championship and reaching the playoff semi-finals for a third consecutive season.