Pacific FC completed a monumental feat Thursday, dispatching Major League Soccer side and British Columbia rivals Vancouver Whitecaps 4-3 in the first round of the 2021 Canadian Championship. Coach Pa-Modou Kah led out eight starters who previously spent time with the Whitecaps in what could only be described as a redemption tour – with a sold-out Starlight Stadium watching on. It was a significant result in Voyageurs Cup and CanPL history. While PFC wasn't the first CanPL team to dispatch an MLS side, they showed character and fight in what Kristian Jack and Charlie O'Connor-Clarke described as tireless performance in a special CanPL.ca Newsroom podcast. CanPL coaches were quick to congratulate PFC on the historic result Thursday. Here's how they reacted.
RELATED READING: JACK: A monumental night for the Canadian Premier League & the sport in this country || Match Analysis: Pacific FC 4-3 Vancouver Whitecaps FC
Smyrniotis, Brennan left impressed: 'It's an important day for them'Forge FC coach Bobby Smyrniotis was left pleased how top-of-the-table Pacific beat their provincial rival and the raucous crowd on hand, saying: "It's great for the league, it's obviously very good for Pacific, it's an important day for them... What I get out of that the most is the atmosphere there that I saw -- packed stadium, exuberant fans. That's what you want to see week in and week out in our league. "Hopefully that passion that the supporters showed there yesterday is able to carry over for that club, and I think it gives a lot of energy to not only that team but the league. We all want to play in places in front of large crowds, whether they're for us or against us, I think that's the heartbeat of the game." York United's Jimmy Brennan, who faces Forge and Smyrniotis in the 905 Derby Saturday, was also left impressed by his West Coast colleagues, adding: " It was such an open game at times, with that many goals, and I think Pacific handled the situation very well. Being at home as well, the crowd was behind them and had lots of energy for those 90 minutes, and that's what happens when you play one-off games -- anything can happen."
Mista, Wheeldon Jr. congratulate PFC on 'showcasing the quality' of CPLAtlético Ottawa coach Mista said he texted Kah after the match, adding he's "very glad" for his fellow CanPL coach. "Yesterday was a historic day because we showed everyone the level of CPL – we can compete with MLS teams," Mista said. "I texted Pa this morning and he's obviously very excited. I'm just so happy for him." Cavs coach Tommy Wheeldon Jr, who himself dispatched the 'Caps in the 2019 CanChamp, congratulated the team on Twitter.
Rob Gale: 'It's a great time to play them, why not?'Valour FC coach Rob Gale, who is on Vancouver Island and is set to face Pacific Sunday (6:30pm ET/3:30pm PT live on OneSoccer), says the win speaks to CanPL's level of play – especially when compared to MLS "Wasn't surprised with the result – same as when Cavalry won in 2019," Gale said, recalling Cavalry's win over the Whitecaps. "I've been saying for a long time that there are players in MLS that would not be stars in the CPL and there are players here that could be playing at higher levels. "I think people need to pay more attention, honestly. Sometimes there's a snobbiness around the levels of play in this country and the perceived levels. People can now recognize that there's not much difference – especially on the day. On occasion and actual individual player ability, other than the top, top levels of MLS, I don't think there's much difference." Gale arrives at Starlight Stadium on back-to-back wins and says his team is reveling in the chance to face the Tridents following Thursday's result. "It's a great time to play them, why not? We've had two good games and we haven't got what we want out of Pacific yet so, again, why not play them now when they're on a high?"