Story of the Match
I wanna start off this section by saying: credit to TSS Rovers. You wouldn’t guess that was a semi-professional team by looking at any area of the organization that was present on Wednesday. The team on the pitch made things difficult for Pacific FC, the supporters in the stands made plenty of noise, and the staff behind the scene were gracious throughout.
On the pitch, Pacific used their experience to grind down their Burnaby-based opponents by maintaining possession, keeping the ball moving through their back four and midfield three, and continuing to prob for the opening goal. That goal came just over an hour into the match when Josh Heard was taken down in the TSS box and the referee pointed to the spot. The PFC captain stood up to take the penalty and promptly buried it into the bottom corner to put the Tridents 1-0 up. The Rovers were forced to open up a little more once they went behind, and a second PFC goal with a few minutes left in the 90′ put the tie to bed. Two substitutes, David Brazão and Adonijah Reid, combined in the 87th minute to put Pacific 2-0 up and send the club into its second-ever Canadian Championship semi-final.
At the end of the day, this match showed the incredible growth of the game in British Columbia and marked another milestone for the sport’s history in this province. I’m sure this isn’t the last time we’ll see TSS Rovers at Starlight Stadium, but for now PFC fans can celebrate a big victory and ride this wave of positivity into the weekend, as well as that semi-final meeting on the Island against Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
As you might’ve expected heading into this match, most of the action took place in the middle third and TSS Rovers’ third of the pitch. 83% of the action in the match happened in those two areas, highlighting the intense pressure the Tridents put their opponents under as well as the grit and fortitude shown by the Rovers to keep this scoreline close. We can also see how much Pacific pinned back their opponents on Wednesday through looking at the visitor’s xG (expected goals, xG, is a predictive model used to assess every goal-scoring chance, and the likelihood of scoring). TSS totalled 0.1 xG on the night, with their single highest individual chance being Erik Edwardson’s shot from the top the box in the 67th minute.
Shape-wise for Pacific, with Cedric Toussaint resting, Sean Young was asked to be the deepest midfielder. This allowed the Victoria native to show off the defensive side of his game a little more. Young won possession back the most times (13) and had the highest number of successful tackles (3) of anyone in teal, and won eight of his 12 duels.
There was also the return of Bradley Vliet to the starting XI after he missed a few games through injury. As a natural left-back, as opposed to Georges Mukumbilwa who has played there – and played incredibly well – Vliet was often looking to pick out Easton Ongaro in the box. The Dutchman sent in five crosses, the most in the game on Wednesday and more than Mukumbilwa sent in in any match he played in that position this season. Both Vliet and Mukumbilwa are fantastic options for Merriman to call on in that position and may rotate depending on the opposition this season.
Next up for Pacific is a meeting with York United FC on Sunday. That Mother’s Day match promises to be a special occasion on a beautiful, sunny Spring afternoon, so don’t miss the chance to celebrate the mom’s in your life! York is coming off a quarter-final loss in the Can Champ to the ‘Caps, and haven’t enjoyed the best of starts to the Canadian Premier League season, but will surely be looking to bounce back and make it an interesting game on Sunday.
In the Canadian Championship, the next match is a juicy, juicy semi-final matchup against the Whitecaps. We all know what happened in the only previous meeting between these two clubs, and now there’s even more at stake. A birth in the final is on the line in the second-ever edition of the Ferryside Derby, as well as bragging rights in the province… because as far as I remember BC is still purple.
I’m not going to highlight a moment so much this time around, but more the feeling of having two BC-based teams – one semi-professional and one professional – go head to head in a cup competition with lots on the line.
TSS Rovers deserve the praise they’ve received, and the great part is this is that its just the beginning of the story between Pacific FC and League1 BC. Next season, a new League1 BC team may enter the Canadian Championship having won the title at the end of the season or we may see TSS right back in it. With League1 BC now receiving one spot in the Canadian Championship every season going forward, this is just the first of what could be many special fixtures between the Tridents and the province’s semi-pro teams.
PFC Standout Player: Adonijah Reid
Reid’s introduction off the bench helped add that extra spark that Pacific needed to put the game to bed against TSS Rovers. The 23-year-old has been lively in all five of his appearances so far and finally got his first PFC goal on Wednesday.
Brought on in the 63rd minute for Ongaro, Reid played through the middle and again showed off his excellent hold-up and combination play, two crucial pieces to be able to play as a lone centre-forward. Reid also has a burst of speed that is difficult to keep up with for defenders, which he showed off in the 80th minute when he sped past the Rovers backline to get into the TSS box before laying the ball back to Young for a shot.
Reid’s main contribution to the match came with just three minutes left in the 90′ when he connected sweetly with Brazão’s cross to give Pacific its second goal of the game and essentially send the Tridents into the next round. The scissor-kick finish from Reid for that goal was the cherry on top.
GOAL 🔱🔱@Pacificfccpl go up 2-0 over @TSSRovers as Adonijah Reid rounds out the result with a late goal #CanChamp | 🔴 https://t.co/7JFAUhgjL6 pic.twitter.com/Sphnjl3r6y
— OneSoccer (@onesoccer) May 11, 2023
66’ – Pacific FC – Josh Heard (Penalty)
87’ – Pacific FC – Adonijah Reid
Possession: PFC 61 % – TSS 39 %
Shots: PFC 10 – TSS 3
Shots on Target: PFC 2 – TSS 1
Saves: PFC 1 – TSS 2
Fouls: PFC 7 – TSS 7
Offsides: PFC 3 – TSS 1
Corners: PFC 1 – TSS 3
81’ – Sean Young – Yellow