Pacific FC retained sole possession of second place in the CPL table on Sunday afternoon by handing York United a heavy 4-1 defeat at York Lions Stadium, scoring early and often en route to one of their most comprehensive attacking performances of the year.
The Tridents, looking to keep pace in the table after Cavalry FC won on Saturday, looked up for the challenge from kickoff, with a counter-attack within the first five minutes that saw them break with a three-on-one advantage — although York youngster Trivine Esprit managed to get back and win the ball off Adonijah Reid to prevent a cutback pass.
That didn’t stop Pacific for long, though. In the 10th minute, they found themselves in the final third again, and although York cleared an initial foray to the box, Kunle Dada-Luke sent it quickly back over traffic to defender Amer Didic in behind. He headed the ball across goal to the opposite post, where his centre-back partner Thomas Meilleur-Giguère was on hand to finish and put his side up 1-0.
Just a few minutes later, the visitors made things even worse for York; Dada-Luke drove up the right touchline and managed to get the ball past a sliding Max Ferrari and played it back for Reid to cut into the box. Reid got inside the penalty area and passed it to Djenairo Daniels, and the tall striker flicked it perfectly to lay the ball into the path of Sean Young, who made full use of his open lane to goal and scored to make it 2-0.
York settled into the game a little after falling behind, but they still couldn’t find much in the way of attacking opportunities and went into halftime trailing by two. To make matters worse, gaffer Martin Nash was forced to pull fullback — and captain for this game, as he celebrated his club-record 77th appearance — Max Ferrari due to injury, although some mild solace came in the form of his replacement Jonathan Grant, who was back on the pitch after suffering a head injury on July 30.
James Merriman also made a halftime substitution for Pacific, bringing impact sub Ayman Sellouf off the bench to replace Kekuta Manneh on the left wing.
York had their best chance of the game to that point very early in the second half, as Brian Wright brought a good ball down in the box, but he couldn’t sort out his feet in time to finish.
Soon after, though, it would be the Tridents adding to their lead again. They won the ball high up the pitch and after some brief interplay, Steffen Yeates flicked a good cross from around the top of the box to Manny Aparicio, who made a very dangerous run between the York centre-backs and got his head on the ball to score low near the right post.
The final salt in York’s wound came with just over 10 minutes to play, as yet again the Tridents burst into the final third. This time, it was recent substitute David Brazão who got himself into space on the end of a pass from Sellouf, and he curled it into the top corner to make it 4-0 and fully put the game out of sight.
York would get one goal back at the end, around the 85th minute as they worked the ball into the box and, encouragingly, Osaze De Rosario wrapped his foot around the volley to score from within the box and make it 4-1.
Still, that late goal would be little consolation as Pacific would go on to see out a rather comfortable win away from home.
Pacific can now officially clinch a playoff spot on Monday, if Halifax Wanderers defeat Atlético Ottawa.
11′ — Thomas Meilleur-Giguère (Pacific FC)
18′ — Sean Young (Pacific FC)
62′ — Manny Aparicio (Pacific FC)
79′ — David Brazão (Pacific FC)
86′ — Osaze De Rosario (York United)
34′ — Yellow: Trivine Esprit (York United)
40′ — Yellow: Manny Aparicio (Pacific FC)
63′ — Yellow: Austin Ricci (York United)
75′ — Yellow: Jérémy Gagnon-Laparé (York United)
90+2’ — Yellow: Easton Ongaro (Pacific FC)