2022 CPL Regular Season — Match #13 FC Edmonton vs. Pacific FC April 27, 2022 at 7 p.m. CT/9 p.m. ET Clarke Stadium in Edmonton, Alberta Watch Live: OneSoccer.ca & TELUS Ch. 980 // Tickets available here

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A rare midweek 2022 CPL clash looms on Wednesday, as FC Edmonton hosts Pacific FC at Clarke Stadium. The first meeting between the two sides in 2022, both teams come into this game in contrasting form, as Pacific enters this game as league leaders, while Edmonton enters second-from-bottom in the table. Yet, despite that, it’s expected to be a tough battle, as while Pacific are the lone team in the CPL still undefeated (and with a perfect record) this season, Edmonton has quickly proven to be a tough opponent so far on their end, especially at home. Speaking of Edmonton, however, they do enter this game reeling, as after picking up two points from their first two games with 1-1 draws against Valour FC and York United, they suffered a setback in the form of a tough 3-0 loss to Forge this past weekend, leaving a bit of a sour taste in their mouths. Especially considering that they held just 31% of possession and generated zero shots in that game, it was a tough result on many fronts, one that they’ll want to forget. As a result, their focus for Wednesday will be on returning to what they showed in the first two games, where they were both tough to beat defensively and sent numbers forward quite nicely on the counter, proving to be a tough outfit for opponents to crack. “I’ve said this before we started this journey, we are the underdogs,” Edmonton head coach, Alan Koch, said this week. “We are massive underdogs in the scheme (of things), but we're going to go into the game and give it everything we can.” On the other side, Pacific comes into this game red-hot right now, having picked up nine out of a possible nine points from their opening three games. There, despite facing a solid list of teams in Forge, Valour and the HFX Wanderers, they didn’t skip a beat in either match, winning 2-1, 3-2, and 2-1, respectively. “I think overall as a team, how we've handled it and how we've come out of it. It's been a very, very big positive for us,” Pacific’s head coach, James Merriman, said of his team’s strong start this week. “And that’s something that the players can take, as there’s always room to improve, (since) we know that it's early in the season.”

RELATED: CanPL.ca Newsroom: Valour, Forge & York United join the win column in Week 3 (ft. William Akio)

Despite that, however, it’s worth noting that this Edmonton game does present a new challenge for them. Considering that those first three wins all came at home for Pacific, coming as part of a three-game homestand, it’s going to be a whole different task to now do it on the road, especially against an Edmonton team undefeated in their last four home games at Clarke Stadium. So considering that Pacific finished their 2021 season by picking up just three out of a possible 15 points away from home in the regular season (they did redeem themselves by nabbing a pair of away wins in the playoffs, to be fair), being better on the road is definitely something they’re honing in on ahead of this game. Plus, historically, these teams match up quite well, too, as the all-time split between both sides sees both Pacific and Edmonton with four wins each, going along with three draws. Therefore, while it might be easy to look at their last matchup from 2021 and note that Pacific won 5-1 in commanding fashion at home, their other matches have typically been much closer, and this one is expected to be the same.

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  • Edmonton looking for a stabilizing performance: After their loss to Forge this past weekend, Edmonton are just looking to get back to basics as they get set for this game. From the defensive side of things, where they allowed three goals, to the attacking side, where they just couldn’t muster up much at all, finishing with no shot attempts, let alone any goals, there was a lot for them to want to forget from that match. But as they get set to return home for this game, they’ll believe that they can steady the ship in both of those areas. For example, offensively, it’s worth noting that they generated an average of eight shot attempts (3.5 of them on target) in their first two games, which considering they held an average of just 38% possession, shows the sort of damage that they were able to inflict in transition. You combine that with two solid defensive performances, where they allowed an average of 1.12 Expected Goals (xG), they were a tough outfit to deal with at both sides of the pitch at home, which just wasn’t there on the road against Forge. As a result, look for them to not just try to get back to that previous standard, but improve on it, as well, showing that Forge game was just a blip on the radar for them. “We need to make sure we are defensively sound and get that clean sheet,” Koch said. “Because that'll allow us to capitalize on moments. We have guys who can create and score, but It's going to take a collective effort, we have to defend together and then we have to attack together.”
  • Pacific’s hunt for clean sheets: Surprisingly, for a team that has picked up three wins in three games, scoring an impressive seven goals and conceding just four, one thing that has eluded this Pacific team so far? The ability to keep a clean sheet. Despite leading the league with just 2.22 xG against, they’ve had a knack of giving up some tough goals, making games closer than they would’ve liked them to be. To be fair, luck has been a factor in that, as the four goals that they’ve conceded have come via one penalty, one free-kick, one own goal and one corner, meaning that they’re yet to concede via open play, but at the same time, those are areas where they’ll want to be tighter on. Because of that, look for Pacific to try and out and nab a clean sheet in this one, giving their back five the reward that they believe they deserve given their performances in the first three games, even if the lack of clean sheets would’ve usually suggested that wasn’t the case. “We haven't conceded (much) from open play,” Merriman explained. “(It’s been) set-piece goals and given away (own) goals in the game. So it is something that we've discussed and we want to work on and we want to improve on, but the group is focused on it, and we know we want to improve there, for sure.”
  • Physical battle expected in midfield: Part of Pacific’s success as a team early on? Their ability to control the middle of the park, especially in possession. So sensing that, the HFX Wanderers really tried to shut down that area of the park in their last match, and while they didn’t get the result that they desired, it did allow them to change the complexion of the game. Because of that, look for Edmonton to do the same on Wednesday, especially seeing how physical they've liked to be in that area of the pitch in previous games. Likely to play in a well-organized 5-3-2, as they’ve mostly used so far this season, it’ll be a good way to try and counter Pacific’s fluid 4-2-3-1, one that loves to create play through the middle and into wide areas. Therefore, it could mean that the midfield battle could prove to be quite the interesting one for both teams. On Pacific’s side, they’ll look to try and avoid getting dragged into the physicality of the battle, and instead focus on the technical side of things, although they’re prepared for the former. “I think we expect it,” Merriman said. “We know how they play. I know Alan very well, and how his groups play for him. And they've done well at home with the results that they've had there, so we know what to expect, we know their approach and we need to be ready to match that.” And on Edmonton’s side, it’ll be about doing what they can in that area of the park, while also keeping an eye on Pacific’s different threats, of which Koch made sure to talk about, as well. “The reason Pacific are the Champs is they can hurt you in the middle, they can hurt you out wide - they can hurt you everywhere,” Koch said. “So you've got to be fully cognizant of shutting them down, and not just shutting down on one player, you have to just shut down their entire team.”


FC Edmonton wins: 4 || Pacific FC wins: 4 || Draws: 3

Previous match:

October 26, 2021 — Pacific FC 5-1 FC Edmonton


“We're still not satisfied with some of our moments in the game and with our performances. We want to be more consistent, and that's something that we spoke about from last season. (We want) consistency in our approach and in our play, especially on the road. We want to become a team that has a consistent approach to every match, so when we do go on the road we can develop there as well. So this is the first opportunity of this season (to do that), and we're looking forward to it.” -- Pacific FC head coach James Merriman

“I think the negative is that the schedule that's been presented to us this year is an absolute nightmare. This week that we're going through is an almighty challenge. The positive is that we just lost the game and we get to go play right away. So we're going to focus on the positive that we don't have to wait a full week or 10 days or two weeks to go play again. We get to go play right away. So I know our group is chomping at the bit to go in and put in a good performance, we weren't happy with the performance (nor) the result on the weekend, we want to get back to the performance levels of how we played in the first games.” -- FC Edmonton head coach Alan Koch

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