Match Preview – Pacific FC v York United FC: Mother’s Day Match gives Tridents the chance to win third straight game

Only a few days after the club’s 2-0 home win in the quarter-finals of the Canadian Championship, Pacific FC is right back in Canadian Premier League action against York United FC. The Nine Stripes come to the Island looking to bounce back after a loss to Vancouver Whitecaps FC in their quarter-final matchup while the Tridents search for a third straight win in all competitions.

The early portion of this season has been jam-packed with home matches for Pacific and on what will be a hot, sunny afternoon, Pacific will need to use their depth to attack this match and not let the quick turn-around from the win over TSS Rovers affect them.

Sunday’s match will also be a Mother’s Day celebration at Starlight Stadium, so come and join Pacific in celebrating the mothers in our lives while taking in what promises to be an action-packed football match.

Trends and Stats

York hasn’t begun the season as many had expected – they were a playoff pick for many pundits – but have a good record here. Currently bottom of the table after four matches played, the Nine Stripes have struggled to score and haven’t taken advantage of their best opportunities to find goals so far. York has scored two goals, the lowest total in the league, and missed nine big chances, the most in the league. It’s still early in the season, but they will need to buck that trend before it’s too late if they want to put things right.

On the other side, Pacific has the best defence in the league, conceding only three goals through four games played in the league. That defensive attitude starts high up the pitch though as the Tridents win possession in the final third around 7 times a match, showing off the high-pressing mindset of the squad.


Perhaps surprisingly, Pacific doesn’t have the best head-to-head against York over the years. Last season the Tridents took just one win off the Nine Stripes – a 4-2 win in York last July. Two 0-0 draws and a 3-1 loss in the league, as well as a penalty shootout loss in the Canadian Championship, saw Pacific end the year with a bitter taste in the mouth against a team that didn’t make the playoffs.

The all-time head-to-head between Pacific and York stands at three wins for the Tridents, five for the Nine Stripes, and six draws.


“Yeah, our group is in a way right now where they want to play matches, we want to play these games. We have players that want opportunities to fight to be in the starting lineup, so I think we welcome another game. It’s nice that we’ve been able to stay here for our Canadian championship match, and then stay here this weekend as well, as we get an extra day of recovery, and we need to take advantage of that.” – Pacific FC head coach James Merriman

Players to Watch

Pacific FC – Kunle Dada-Luke, York United FC – Paris Gee

Two full-backs of differing styles, but are both comfortable going forward and tracking back.

It’s impossible to find a more rapid player in the CPL than Dada-Luke. Equally quick going forward as he is making recovery runs to break up opposition counter attacks, Dada-Luke is one of the first-choice names in Merriman’s preferred starting XI. The 23-year-old has worked incredibly well in tandem with Georges Mukumbilwa this season who has lined up at left-back for a majority of the matches played so far. Often pushing very high up the right wing, Dada-Luke has also combined well with Josh Heard to manipulate the space down the wing. We’ve looked at the average position of Pacific’s starting XI in a couple of previous matches so far, and it’s hard not to notice how lop-sided the back four are. That’s all part of the team’s gameplan however, and wouldn’t be possible without Dada-Luke in at right-back.

Gee is an incredibly versatile player. The 28-year-old has already lined up at left-back, right-back, and as a stand-in centre-back for the Nine Stripes this season. Now in his second season, and first full season, with York United, Gee has grown into an important player for the club. The former FC Edmonton player has started every match so far this season and has been one of the few players who has raised their reputation during York’s early-season struggles. It’ll be interesting to see where Gee starts against the Tridents on Sunday, but regardless of whether he comes out of the left or the right, he’ll be looking to get forward, send in crosses, and help create chances for the York attackers who still need to find their finishing touch.

Keys to Victory

York sends in the most crosses per game and plays the most long balls per game of any team in the CPL. There aren’t many centre-back pairings around that are better equipped the deal with those kinds of situations than Amer Didic and Thomas Meilleur-Giguere though.  If those two continue to win their aerial duels, and the Tridents midfield three pick up the second balls, the defensive unit should have enough to deal with York’s preferred method of attack on Sunday.

On the attacking side of things, it’ll be on the forwards to make sure they find the corners when shooting on goal due to the shot-stopping ability of Niko Giantsopoulos in the York net. One of the better goalkeeper’s in the league, Giantsopoulos had a rough match mid-week but has done well against Pacific in the past. The Tridents’ finishing ability was finally on full display last weekend in the 4-1 win over Atlético Ottawa, so more sharpness in the box will be required to pick up back-to-back league wins.

Match Facts to Know

  • Sunday is Mother’s Day! Celebrate the moms in your life at the match on what will be a gorgeous afternoon.
  • With a win against York United FC on Sunday, James Merriman would tie Pa-Modou Kah’s record for most wins as Pacific FC head coach. Should that happen, Merriman would have done so in one less match than Kah.

It’s not too late to get your tickets for the match! Join the action at Starlight Stadium with one of our many ticket options, which can be found here!