Final Score: FC Edmonton 1-2 Pacific FC Goalscorers: Ongaro 72'; Diaz 28', Chung 34' Game of the 2021 season: 62 CPL match: 197
Match in a minute or lessAlthough a 72nd-minute goal from Easton Ongaro gave his FC Edmonton side a late spark, two first-half goals from Pacific FC were enough to hold on for all three points at Clarke Stadium on Saturday night, and propel The Tridents back to the top of the table. Alejandro Diaz got the scoring underway in the 28th minute, volleying the ball into the back of the net from close range as it fell to him after hitting the crossbar. Kadin Chung doubled the lead for The Tridents a few minutes later with one of the better goals of the season thus far. The Pacific fullback fired it from long range, and beat Darlington Murasiranwa to make it 2-0 going into the break. Easton Ongaro brought the home side back within one in the second half, turning around a Pacific defender and firing home with his left foot after a pass over the backline found him. The Eddies kept pushing to find a second, but 10-man Pacific (after Jamar Dixon picked up a second yellow card in the 80th minute) were able to hold them off.
Three ObservationsEddies turn it up a notch after subs, but Pacific hold on After conceding twice in the opening half, Alan Koch didn't hesitate to make some changes to his side. He used all five subs by the 66th minute, but was allowed to make a sixth to replace injured goalkeeper Darlington Murasiranwa, as Allan Zebie was removed at halftime with a concussion -- concussion substitutes don't subtract one from the allotted five. He brought on Paris Gee, Shamit Shome and Hunter Gorskie among others, a clear signal that he believed his side could get something from the match, and with the changes came a spark that livened up his side. Gee in particular made an impact, coming in at left back and causing all sorts of trouble down that side of the pitch for the defenders. He fired in a couple of dangerous crosses, also taking a shot, and pitching in defensively. Easton Ongaro scored in the 72nd minute, and Pacific's Jamar Dixon was sent off in the 80th, so the Eddies kept pushing to try and find a goal, but it would never come. The last time these sides met, the Eddies turned a 2-0 deficit into a 2-2 draw, so it seemed as though they might do it again, but Pacific held strong in the final stages of the match, and saw out the victory. "I think we gave away a cheap goal, but they showed character, they showed resilience," said Pacific FC head coach Pa-Modou Kah after the match. "They showed that what happened to us when we played them in the last game would not happen today, and dug in deep." Despite the result, Edmonton was happy with the effort to keep fighting, but head coach Alan Koch said that his side needed to avoid digging themselves into a hole in the first place. "I think if we capitalized on a couple of chances we created in the first half, the score would be different at halftime," said Koch. "I don't want to say we gave them goals, but we certainly didn't make it easy for ourselves by making multiple mistakes leading up to both of the goals. I think we've shown we're always going to fight until the very end, and you could see the response and the character of the guys in the second half." "That's what we needed to do when we're down two goals, and we need to have the mentality that we're going to fight back and try to get a result out of the game," said the goalscorer Ongaro. "I think everyone knew their job, and we had to keep fighting." Kadin Chung impresses at left back Although usually a right back, Kadin Chung was deployed at left back for this match, and didn't look out of place at all. He was defensively solid, making two tackles and three clearances, and completed 34 of his 38 attempted passes. It isn't the first time he's played left back this season, and he'd move to the right after Jordan Haynes replaced starting right back Kunle Dada-Luke in the 76th minute. Being a right-footed player, Chung often moved into the middle of the pitch, allowing him to play passes on his natural foot. It also allowed him to drift inside, beat a defender, and set up his impressive match-winning goal in the first half. Pacific's first-ever signing, Chung has been one of the best fullbacks in the league for three years, and has continued his upwards trajectory in 2021. He's played in all of Pacific's 16 CPL matches, as well as their Canadian Championship win over his former club -- the Vancouver Whitecaps. He's racked up 1361 minutes already in league play, second only to a fellow elite right back, Cavalry's Mo Farsi who has played 1395 minutes. "At this moment, and from the beginning of the season, in my humble opinion, Kadin has been the best right back in the league, and today he topped it up with a goal," said Pacific FC head coach Pa-Modou Kah after the match. "He's been an ironman for us, playing every minute and every second, and he proved why he's the best right back. "He's also the longest-serving player, that's why he got the captain's armband," Kah said after Chung wore the armband when Jamar Dixon was sent off. Chung leads the league in tackles with 45, is second in interceptions with 29, and is in the top-10 league-wide in total passes and total crosses and corners, among other things -- cementing his position as one of the best all-around players in the CPL, and backing up Kah's claim. FC Edmonton rotate the squad, lose Murasiranwa through injury The Eddies rotated their team for this match, to try and give a rest to starting goalkeeper Connor James among other players. Darlington Murasiranwa got just his second professional start (first in the CPL), while Allan Zebie was given the nod at left back, and Anthony Caceres got a first start of the season after missing most of the season thus far with injuries. James would be called upon off the bench, as Murasiranwa left the match with an injury in the second half. He was carried off the pitch by his teammates, and then appeared to be carried to the dressing room by staff members, seemingly injuring something in his leg. Edmonton head coach Alan Koch said after the match that the injury "looks like it might be quite serious", but that Murasiranwa would be evaluated more after the match and in the coming days. Zebie also left the match early, and was replaced by Paris Gee at halftime after apparently suffering a concussion in the first half. Because the substitution was for a concussion, it didn't subtract from the allowed subs Koch was allowed to made, which was useful as replacing Murasiranwa with James was Edmonton's sixth change of the night. "It's the first time I've ever used a concussion sub in my career," said Koch after the match. "We used a concussion sub, so it 'didn't count' from that perspective. We had to manage the game in the second half. "We were hoping to make another attacking substitution to try and get the second goal, but unfortunately Darlington got injured and we had to throw Connor James in and use our last sub for that injury."
CanPL.ca Player of the MatchKadin Chung, Pacific FC Playing at left back instead of his usual right back position, Kadin Chung was impressive on both sides of the ball, and scored the winning goal with a rocket from long range.
What’s next?FC Edmonton have another quick turnaround, heading to Winnipeg to take on Valour FC on Tuesday, September 7 (7 pm CT/ 6 pm MT). Pacific FC go back home to Starlight Stadium for a match with Cavalry FC on Thursday, September 9 (7 pm PT/ 8 pm MT). Watch all matches live on OneSoccer.