Final Score: Valour FC 1-3 Pacific FC Goalscorers: Dyer 30'; Diaz 3' (penalty) & 45+2', Blasco 69' Game of the 2021 season: 79 CPL match: 214
Match in a minute or lessPacific FC moved seven points clear of Cavalry FC at the top of the table on Wednesday night, beating Valour FC 3-1 at IG Field. The visitors took the lead just three minutes into the match, as Alejandro Diaz scored his first of two goals from the penalty spot after he was knocked over by Rocco Romeo inside the box moments prior. Moses Dyer equalized for Valour around the half-hour mark, cutting to his right before firing a low shot across the box that Callum Irving was unable to reach with a dive toward the far post. Pacific took the lead again in first half stoppage time, as Diaz capitalized on a mistake at the back from Valour that allowed him to take a shot on target from a few yards out. He doesn't miss opportunities like that, and placed his 9th goal of the season into the back of the net to give The Tridents a 2-1 lead at halftime. Similar to Dyer's goal in the opening half, Victor Blasco gave Pacific some added peace of mind with his first goal of the year -- a 69th minute strike from outside the box that found the bottom left corner of the goal.
Mistakes from Valour backline continue to cost them pointsValour FC's winless streak was extended to seven matches with Wednesday's defeat, as self-inflicted mistakes continue to prove fatal. The goals they conceded against Pacific came as a result of a split-second error, as has been the case on many of the goals they've conceded this season. The first tally, a penalty in just the third minute of the match, forced Valour to go back to the drawing board moments after taking the pitch. Closing down Alejandro Diaz in the box, Romeo pushed the Pacific attacker to the ground from behind, and the referee pointed to the spot. The Mexican striker fired the ball into the bottom left corner of the goal, opening the scoring early. Diaz benefitted from a mistake made by the other centre-back, Stefan Cebara, in first half stoppage time as poor communication in front of goal opened up an opportunity to get a shot away from a few yards out. Kadin Chung chipped the ball over the Valour backline, and Diaz got to it first -- putting pressure on Cebara with The Valour defender seemed to try and shield the ball away from Diaz, and allow Jonathan Sirois to come out of his goal and collect it, but Sirois took a few steps before hesitating to commit himself to the play. Diaz ran around Cebara, taking a touch before striking the ball past Sirois with his left foot. The third Pacific goal took an impressive effort from Victor Blasco to beat Sirois from outside the box, but Valour failed to close him down as he ran toward the penalty area and got the shot away. Valour had eleven total shots to Pacific's nine, and had 56 percent possession of the ball on Wednesday, but it wasn't enough to walk away with a result. Mistakes at the back are something that they've been trying to limit all season, and need to fix as soon as possible if they're going to get back into the playoff race. "You don't train these situations because every day players are put in situations where they could make a mistake in training for naught," said head coach Phillip Dos Santos after the match. "You look at the way we conceded in York, and now tonight a penalty right at the first minute." "What's the problem in playing a ball into the top row of the stands if we need to? You don't need to try and please me with any type of excessively fancy actions when you're in a situation of emergency. We just have to be effective and pragmatic, and that's the message and make sure these things don't happen again."
Victor Blasco's first goal of the season was a long time comingVictor Blasco scored his first goal of the 2021 campaign on Wednesday night, placing the ball into the bottom left corner from outside the penalty area to give Pacific a two-goal lead. The Spaniard ran toward the box before cutting to his right, opening up a lane to shoot and getting his shot away. The goal came on his 17th shot of the season, and 10th on target. He's had a handful of good chances to score -- none coming closer than a shot from distance in the Canadian Championship a week ago that seemed destined to hit the back of the net, but was dramatically headed away on the goal line by David Norman Jr. Blasco missed the start of the season after his father passed away -- adversity which he has overcome in the time since, according to his head coach Pa-Modou Kah. "It's been a long time coming, and it's a fantastic day for him to be able to score a goal that he's been looking for since he came back with the adversity that hit him before the season," said Kah after the match. "For us, this is the thing we were hoping for Victor to be able to do -- to get back to scoring goals, to being one of the best players in this league. "Also for this club, it's a timely goal going into this stretch that we're going in, and hopefully he can hit the ground running because we're going to need him -- he's a very important piece in what we're doing." Blasco spoke to the media after the match as well, and talked about how much the goal meant to him. "For me, like everyone knows, it's not been the easiest season, but since I came here the team has been really good to me, they're a family to me," Blasco said. "I knew a goal was going to come, there was nothing to worry about. Soccer is like this sometimes -- you score and you don't know how, and sometimes it gets cleared on the line and it doesn't go in. "Most important is that the team is doing well, and if I can be a part of it, better."
Dos Santos coaches at IG Field for the first time, stresses importance of picking up points at homeAfter taking over the Valour head coaching job last week, and first travelling to Ontario to take on York United, Phillip Dos Santos got his IG Field debut on Wednesday. While the result didn't go his team's way, Dos Santos was impressed by the stadium, and the Valour fans, who were noisy all night in an attempt to push their team forward. "It's a great facility," said Phillip Dos Santos after the match. "It's great, it feels good. It's a massive stadium, but you have a nice picture right in front of you with the fans right there being loud. "I'm looking forward to not only playing here, but winning games here and making this a home that everyone knows will be difficult to come to. That's who we need to be, so I'm looking forward to that." With Valour's next three matches taking place at IG Field as well, Valour are hoping to take advantage of their home support as they try to get back into the playoff picture. "It's very important," said Dos Santos. "If we want to still be in the race, we need to make points at home, and we need to start winning games at home."
CanPL.ca Player of the MatchAlejandro Diaz, Pacific FC Two goals in the first half -- a penalty and a well-taken strike to capitalize on a defensive error -- from Alejandro Diaz put Pacific on the right track to pick up three points.
What’s next?Valour FC's attention turns to another home game, on Saturday, October 2 against FC Edmonton (2 pm CT/1 pm MT). Pacific FC's next is also against Edmonton, as they head to Clarke Stadium on Wednesday, October 6 (7 pm MT/ 6 pm PT). Watch all matches live on OneSoccer, and Telus channel 980.