Purple Rain: Pacific FC continue push for home playoff game with performance to remember in 5-1 victory over FC Edmonton at Starlight Stadium

Pacific FC took on FC Edmonton in a midweek Canadian Premier League clash at Starlight Stadium in Langford on Tuesday, in what was a game filled with playoff implications. Here’s our report from that one, directly from Starlight Stadium, as Pacific cruised to a 5-1 win. 

It was a night to remember, for a multitude of reasons. 

From the rain, which was coming down sideways at times thanks to the wind, to the atmosphere, which was electric as usual, combined with their always-consistent play on the pitch, Pacific FC had themselves quite the evening at Starlight Stadium on Tuesday, where they took on FC Edmonton in a midweek Canadian Premier League clash. 

Fresh off of securing a spot in the CPL playoffs this past weekend, Pacific looked to carry over that positive momentum into this one, as they entered this match looking to earn the right to host a postseason game come November, which gave them all sorts of motivation as they took the field on Tuesday evening. 

Also boosted by the first start back from their captain and MVP, Marcos Bustos, who was making his long-awaited return from an ankle injury, it only added to the overall scene, and Pacific rode that momentum to a memorable victory, beating Edmonton 5-1 off the back of a Bustos brace. 

Along with a brace from Manny Aparicio, and a goal from Alejandro Diaz, it was a complete performance from Pacific, who picked up their biggest home win in the process, only finding their night slightly spoiled by a late Fraser Aird tally, as they were otherwise dominant from start to finish in this one.

“I think we were very aggressive right from the beginning,” Pacific FC head coach, Pa Modou Kah, said after the game. “After we went up 2-0, we played very, very good for the first half, I think in the second half, when we went up 5-0, we started playing too much in our half, and I think we could’ve been more dominant there.”

“But overall, this is the performance that you want leading up to the playoffs, coming in”

Thanks to that, they climbed back atop the CPL table with 46 points, and while they might not hold onto that position for long, as teams around them do hold games in hand, but if they keep playing as they did today in their last 2 games, Pacific will make sure that the race towards the top 2 (and a home semi-final game) is as competitive as possible.

Based on what we saw from them on Tuesday night, when they get going in front of their home fans, it’s hard to stop them, so they have every reason to want to make that home playoff game a reality, and this game was a good example of why.

As mentioned, right from the first kick, the game would be all Pacific, as they got off to a rocking start in front of their home fans. 

Thanks to that, they’d manage to open up the scoring in just the 5th minute, giving their fans plenty to cheer about early on. 

After some nice bit of play in Pacific’s midfield, they managed to play in Kunle Dada-Luke down the wing in space, and from there, he did well to look up and whip in a lovely floated cross, one that would float over the head of all the Edmonton defenders, finding a wide-open Alejandro Diaz, who nodded home the chance with conviction.

Pacific’s Alejandro Diaz in action vs Edmonton on Tuesday (Keveren Guillou)

It was a lovely goal, the sort of goal that we’ve become used to seeing from Pacific this season, showing that they meant business on the night, one that early on looked like it could be a long one for their guests. 

That continued on into the 13th minute, too, as Ollie Bassett then had a good look from distance, but his shot was kept out by Connor James in the Edmonton goal, who did well to get his palms to the effort. 

And that would just be a warning shot for what was to come, as Pacific then pounced again in the 19th minute, only compounding their opponent’s misery. 

Faced with a corner, Bassett then stepped up with a lovely curled effort, one that much like Dada-Luke’s earlier, managed to float over all of the Edmonton’s defenders before finding its intended target at the back post, which this time was Manny Aparicio, who did well to thump home his team’s second tally. 

It might not have been as intricate of a goal as the first one, which started with some lovely passing, but it was a similar ruthless result, one that gave the hosts a deserved lead as they reached the halfway point of the first stanza. 

Plus, they remained hungry in their pursuit of more, as they weren’t done there, and reminded Edmonton of that in the 35th minute, when Terran Campbell did well to set up Marco Bustos with a low cutback, but Pacific’s captain couldn’t mark his long-awaited first start back from injury with an early goal, sending his shot just wide. 

But luckily for him, he wouldn’t have to wait long to get that first goal back, as just 6 minutes later, he then added his team’s third, and it was a beauty, as he made sure his return would be one to remember. 

After receiving a nice ball from Manny Aparicio in midfield, he then slalomed his way through the Edmonton defence, and from there, despite seemingly having no angle to shoot, and being on his weaker right foot, he slotted home calmly into the opposite corner, marking a memorable goal. 

With that, he put the bow on what was a special half for him and his team, who were firing on all cylinders as they neared the break, and based on how they were looking, it felt like they were just getting started. 

And they’d almost prove that just 1 minute later, as Bustos was then played in by Dada-Luke, and he had a good crack at goal on his stronger left foot, but he was only denied by the crossbar, who saved Edmonton from falling into a 4 goal hole. 

But then, luckily for Edmonton, the halftime break came about, giving them a bit of break from the onslaught that they had to deal with, leaving them to figure out how to stop their opponents, who were firing on all cylinders. 

Unfortunately for them, though, whatever plan they created proved futile, as Pacific then picked up in the second where they left off in the first, scoring their 4th goal in the 51st minute, and much like the others, it was another beauty. 

After the ball bounced around in the box, it’d fall to Aparicio on the edge of the box, and from there, despite having to deal with a bouncing ball and oncoming defenders, he hit the ball on the volley first time, hitting a strike that would dip up and over James in the Edmonton goal, before nestling into the roof of the net. 

With that, it marked a memorable goal, all part of a memorable performance, as the Tridents just seemed unstoppable on the night, finding a way to make something happen with each and every attempt, and this goal was just the latest example of that. 

And they weren’t done yet, either. Motivated by the wondergoal, Diaz then almost found his 2nd in the 52nd minute, as he was narrowly denied on the line after a scramble in the box, before coming close again in the 53rd minute, where he had a chip from outside of the box sail just over the goal. 

Then, finally, Edmonton offered a bit of resistance, finding a couple of half-chances in the 61st minute, but then, things went right back the other way, as Bustos then found a way to get his 2nd in the 69th minute. 

Having found a bit of space down the right flank, he did well to cut inside and win a penalty, of which he then stepped up to the spot to take, and he made no mistake with the chance, curling the ball into the top corner to put his team up 5-0. 

It was the cherry on top of a lovely performance from Bustos, who made sure that he’d get full value for that first start back, giving the fans plenty to cheer about in his return, helping his team pick up the biggest home win in their history, as per Transfermarkt. 

And from there, that’d pretty much be all this game had to offer. Other than a late Edmonton push, which included a Fraser Aird penalty given up by Bustos in the 78th minute and a Tobias Warschewski post in the 87th minute, along with some harmless half-chances from both teams, that’d be all that this game would have to offer, leaving Pacific to pick up their historic result.

So now, as they get set to play their last 2 games of their season here, first against York United at home on Saturday, before finishing their season the week after against Cavalry away on Sunday, November 7th, Pacific have to feel good about themselves after this one, and rightfully so.

“I want the fans to come out for more (nights like this),” Kah said. “Especially on Saturday. It’s going to be a beautiful Saturday, and hopefully we can get a full stadium. These kinds of results help, along with the weekend, to come watch games, and this is our last game, so I hope those on the fence can show up and show out because we’re going to need their support, and then hopefully we can get a sellout crowd and that’s what the boys want and hopefully the fans can do it.”

Along with a key Canadian Championship semi-final away game against Toronto FC next midweek, it’s starting to be crunch time for the Tridents, so they’ll look to use this big victory as fuel for those big clashes.

When they’re flying high, as they were on Tuesday, they’re hard to stop, something Edmonton unfortunately saw first-hand on the night.

As they continue their quest to pick up a historic Canadian double, Pacific will now look to avoid being grounded, because if they can keep their wings flapping, the skies the limit, something they reminded the CPL of on a memorable evening at Starlight.

“It’s been a long time coming,” Kah said. “We had games where we could’ve killed off our opposition, but we allowed them back into the game, and today there was no thought about it. We wanted to be greedy, and by that I mean, we went up 3-0 and then there’s no time to relax, you go for more (and we did)”

Up Next: Pacific FC vs FC Edmonton, Saturday, October 30th, 2021, 15:00 PDT, 18:00 EDT (Starlight Stadium, Langford)

Pacific celebrate one of their goals vs Edmonton (Keveren Guillou)

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