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Vancouver Island’s Pacific FC fall to Calgary in season-ending semifinal

PFC unable to finish comeback in 2-1 loss
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The Calgary Cavalry beat Pacific FC 2-1 during the CPL semifinal on Oct. 21. (Photo: CFC Media/Tony Lewis)

Pacific FC was unable to reach its second Canadian Premier League final in three years after the Tridents fell to a rival during Saturday’s (Oct. 21) playoff semifinal.

The 2-1 loss to the Calgary Cavalry brought the Langford team’s season to a close, while the Alberta squad moves on to face the Hamilton Forge in the CPL final on Oct. 28.

The teams traded chances early at ATCO Field in Calgary, but the Cavalry would soon take control of the game as it posted nine shots in the opening 30 minutes. The home team took a 1-0 lead into halftime after owning most of the scoring chances in the first half.

The Cavalry built on their lead in the second half after the ball found Ali Musse high in the box. His shot took a deflection en route to the back of the net, making it 2-0.

Kekuta Manneh cut the lead to one with a goal for PFC in the 66th minute, but the Island team would be unable to complete the comeback.

Despite the Pacific being one of the CPL’s top two teams for all but four weeks during the seven-month season, head coach James Merriman said they’ll need to improve for the 2024 campaign.

“It’s been difficult for us this season, but I think overall we can take a lot of positives. Of course we need to look at the things we need to do better in the second half of the season when we start to drop,” he said during a postgame news conference. “Now in the off-season, we’re not going to waste time. We’ll take a small break and get back to work, continue to learn, continue to improve, continue to grow and come back and fight for more next season.”

It was announced on Friday (Oct. 20) that Pacific FC’s Manny Aparicio made the five-player shortlist for the Canadian Premier League’s player of the year. The winner will be revealed on Oct. 26 as part of the weekend festivities for the CPL Final.

The 28-year-old donned the captain’s armband for the Tridents multiple times throughout the season and the team was winless in the four matches he missed.

Aparicio’s four goals and five assists made him one of PFC’s top scorers, while on the other side of the ball, he had 49 tackles and 21 interceptions. Aparicio also led his team with 55 shots and 15 shots on target and finished second on PFC with 133 duels won.

The Pacific said Aparicio was a game-changer in the midfield all season long as he often covered more ground than any other player on the pitch, led the team’s press off the ball and pushed the team forward in attack.

The CPL on Monday (Oct. 23) announced the 10 footballers in contention for the league’s best player, as voted by their peers. Aparicio also cracked that list, as did PFC’s Ayman Sellouf.

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Jake Romphf

About the Author: Jake Romphf

In early 2021, I made the move from the Great Lakes to Greater Victoria with the aim of experiencing more of the country I report on.
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