Pacific FC are Canadian Premier League champions.
The Tridents, visiting Tim Hortons Field looking to knock off the defending champs in Hamilton, scraped out a gutsy 1-0 win over Forge FC on Sunday night to claim all the spoils in the 2021 CPL Final.
With usual centre-back Daniel Krutzen out with injury, Forge opted for a defensive pairing of Dominic Samuel and Garven Metusala, as Emery Welshman returned to the side as the centre-forward. Pacific, meanwhile, brought Gianni Dos Santos back into the lineup alongside fellow attackers Terran Campbell and Josh Heard, with star winger Marco Bustos fit enough to make the bench.
The first half transpired without major event, though both sides had their share of chances to open the scoring. Forge, playing in front of a strong home crowd, took a commanding advantage in possession, owning 73% of the ball in the first 45 minutes. They came agonizingly close to goal with their methodical, incisive buildup play, but none of their attackers quite managed to sort their feet out in the box and finish.
Pacific, meanwhile, looked content in the opening frame to absorb some pressure and strike on the counter-attack, with Joshua Heard and Manny Aparicio in particular looking to drive straight forward with pace whenever the Tridents won the ball in midfield.
Despite the lopsided possession figures, though, it would be Pacific who found the net first. Just before the hour mark, Forge’s Elimane Cisse came through Gianni Dos Santos with a hard sliding challenge in the corner to earn himself a yellow card and give Pacific a dangerous set-piece from the side of the box. Dos Santos himself sent in the ball, and Alessandro Hojabrpour, running in toward the near post, headed the cross in to make it 1-0.
Just over five minutes later, Pacific came inches from making it 2-0, as Josh Heard took a shot from the top of the penalty area that took a slight deflection and caromed off the crossbar.
With time running out, Forge boss Bobby Smyrniotis made a few changes to his attack around the 65th minute, bringing in David Choinière and Woobens Pacius in place of Tristan Borges and Emery Welshman. Not long after, with Forge struggling to get into the attacking third somewhat, Smyrniotis made a more aggressive swap, bringing forward Joshua Navarro into the game for the centre-back Metusala — shifting Alexander Achinioti-Jonsson into the back line and adding another attacking option to the mix.
Forge continued to look for their breakthrough as the final 20 minutes ticked away, throwing all they could at the Pacific penalty area, but the purple wall held firm. As frustration mounted, tempers boiled over on the brink of the 90th minute, and the ensuing scuffle led to Omar Browne’s ejection for a second yellow card.
Though Forge threw a handful of final chances at the Pacific end, ultimately it wasn’t enough, as Pa-Modou Kah’s Vancouver Island side saw it out to claim the ultimate CPL crown.
59′ — Alessandro Hojabrpour (Pacific FC)
17′ — Yellow: Omar Browne (Forge FC)
32′ — Yellow: Thomas Meilleur-Giguère (Pacific FC)
58′ — Yellow: Elimane Cisse (Forge FC)
90′ — Yellow: Sean Young (Pacific FC)
90′ — Second Yellow: Omar Browne (Forge FC)