After derby day delight for Pacific FC on their trip to the lower-mainland last weekend, Pacific travel to Hamilton this weekend to face fierce rivals Forge FC.
In their last meeting, Forge came away with a 1-0 win at Starlight Stadium. This time around, Pacific FC sit one point behind Forge, who top the table currently with a game in hand. A win for the B.C. side would give them a two-point lead atop the CPL standings.
Pacific’s attack has been drawing deserved plaudits. Coming off a 6-3 victory, where six different players scored, they have shown they have depth and weapons across the forward line.
“We were being asked some questions earlier in the season on when the goals were going to come? Now we are seeing them come by committee. We know the quality each of those players have. Now they are starting to perform in the matches and get their rewards” James Merriman said in the pre-match press conference.
Added to the danger full-backs like Kunle Dada-Luke can provide in wide areas, James Merriman has an abundance of talent to call upon in the final third, which will be necessary against one of the best defences in the league, including Goalkeeper of the Month for May Tristan Henry.
“Some (of the attackers) are starting to hit their stride, it’s not completely come yet, which I think is a good thing for us”.
Forge have only won once by more than a goal all season, and that was in the Canadian Championship game against Laval.
Their attack has plenty of talent which has struggled to find the right rhythm this season. Forge has dominated games in possession, created plenty of chances, but scored just 11 goals in nine games compared with Pacific’s 18 goals in eight games.
Forge sat back and were patient in Langford for their 1-0 victory back in April. They frustrated Pacific who were unable to break through a stubborn defence.
“I thought we played well at home against Forge but didn’t get the job done, so now we need to come on the road, we know their quality, but I think the guys are in the right space, the right mentality, to come and challenge ourselves in this match, and it’s the perfect time for it for us”.
We will have to see how Forge approach this game as the home side. They will be wary of the attacking threat Pacific can provide, but as defending champions and the most successful side in Canadian Premier League history, they will need to take the upper hand as the home team.
James Merriman likes his side to dictate play just as Bobby Smyrniotis does on the other side. Smyrniotis adapted his style to take the win on the Island, but will Merriman be flexible in his approach, or will he stick to his guns and have the confidence in his side to bring three points home.