2020 CPL regular season (The Island Games) — Match #6 Pacific FC vs. York9 FC – August 18, 2019 at 8:00 p.m ET/9:00 p.m. AT
UPEI Artificial Turf Field in Charlottetown, PEI Watch Live: OneSoccer.ca
There’s extra incentive for both teams involved in Match #6 of The Island Games.
Should either Pacific FC or York9 FC emerge victorious when they square off Tuesday in Charlottetown, they’ll move into a tie with Forge FC and Cavalry FC atop the CPL regular season standings.
Pacific and York enter Tuesday’s contest with one point apiece, just behind Cavalry and Forge, who both have four points, but have played an extra match. A win by Pacific of Y9 would allow them to keep pace with the CPL’s two front-runners during the opening round-robin portion of the season where only the top four clubs move on to the second round.
A loss or a draw wouldn’t be disastrous, as Pacific and York would still have five first-round games to try to crack the top four. But there is a growing sense early on in PEI that Forge and Cavalry, both finalists in last season’s CPL Championship series, are the class of the field in 2020, and will easily finish first and second.
If it plays out like that, the league’s other six sides could be forced into a tight battle for the four remaining second-round spots. Points are at a premium at The Island Games, and the last thing that teams want is to fall behind early and have to play catch up.
Y9’s young guns: The introduction Max Ferrari and Lowell Wright early in the second half of York9’s opening 2-2 draw with Atlético Ottawa turned the contest in the Nine Stripes’ favour – the Canadian teenagers breathed new life into the stagnant attack and teamed up on Y9’s first goal. Will coach Jim Brennan reward them with starts against Pacific? Or will he use them again as “super subs”? With Michael Petrasso and Manny Aparicio considered as “game-time decisions” to due injuries, and Chris Mannella ruled out with an injury, Ferrari and Wright could crack the starting 11.
Bustos’ role for Pacific: With his team down 1-0 at halftime against HFX Wanderers FC on the weekend, coach Pa-Modou Kah made some tactical adjustments to help bolster Pacific’s attack. Marco Bustos dropped into the number 10 pocket in the second half, moving away from his initial spot out on the right wing. The tactic worked, as Pacific looked far more lively in attack before settling for a 2-2 draw with HFX. How will Kah deploy his star attacker against Y9?
Impact of the subs: Starting players on Pacific and York9 showed signs of fatigue in their opening games on the weekend, and it was the substitutes who played key roles. With games coming at a fast and furious pace on PEI, expect the subs to factor prominently again in this match. “The substitutions were influential today, but it’s about rustiness,” Kah said after Pacific’s draw with HFX. “It’s about being sharp, just being focused, and a little bit of that cost us today.”
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
“They’ve got talent… and it shows the belief we have in them. I didn’t want them to start (in Y9’s first game) and put a lot of pressure on them. You have to gradually bring them in. Now, they know now they can compete, and keep pace with the professional game.” – York9 FC coach Jim Brennan on his young players
“Zach (Verhoven) was a perfect example of how depth works (in Pacific’s opener). A guy that gets a chance to play, whether it’s 30 minutes, five minutes, you come on and make a difference. To me, all of the subs came in and made a difference.” – Pacific FC midfielder Marco Bustos