2022 Canadian Championship — Quarterfinals Pacific FC vs. York United May 24, 2022 at 7 p.m. PT/10 p.m. ET Starlight Stadium in Langford, British Columbia Watch Live: OneSoccer.ca // Tickets available here

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For the second time in less than a week, Pacific FC are preparing to host York United at Starlight Stadium, as the pair of sides get set to meet in the quarter-finals of the Canadian Championship on Tuesday. Just days after they combined for a hard-fought but entertaining 0-0 draw in CPL action on Friday, a game in which both teams had to split the spoils after fighting for every millimetre of territory on the night, it’s a good chance to build off that first battle for both Pacific and York. This time, however, the stakes will be very different for both teams, as while the participants and the location will be the same, the competitive framework around them has changed. Instead of coming in league play like on Friday, where the point that both teams gained will be useful in the long run, they will now do battle on a stage where losing vanishes you from that spotlight until next year. Because of that, both teams will know that they have the chance to accomplish something special in this game, in which they can keep their dreams of winning their first-ever cup crown afloat. Knowing that a spot in the semi-finals sits on the line for the winner, it’s a big incentive, one that will certainly motivate them.

RELATED: HIGHLIGHTS: York United spoils Pacific FCs perfect home record in hard-fought 0-0 draw | Sights & Sounds: Pacific FC 0-0 York United

Yet, while that prospect of moving onto the final four of the Canadian Championship is a great motivator, the reality of having played each other just days earlier will make for an interesting challenge. Knowing how vital preparation can be for such a game, the chance to reflect on film and notes from mere days prior can only be valuable, giving an upper edge to those who best apply that knowledge to this rematch. So while some might see that previous game as a great equalizer, for the pair of these head coaches, it’s a great advantage, one that they’ll both try to nurture and apply to their teams. “I don't think it's a disadvantage,” Pacific head coach James Merriman said ahead of Tuesday. “It was a competitive game, it was a good game, I thought it was high intensity. As I said in the postgame, there was a physicality and an intensity to the match, and I expect the same tomorrow night. There were moments that we felt we can do better in, certain areas that we'll look to improve on tomorrow night, but I expect another very good match.” “Oh yeah, it can help,” York’s head coach, Martin Nash, added on his end. “Both teams probably won't change a lot, because it's tough to change a lot in such a short space of time. But it can help it's good to show the players the things we did well, and the things we can improve on, so hopefully the things that we can improve on, we do better with in this game.” Therefore, it’s important to expect a hard-fought battle between these two teams. York has the slight edge on this matchup in its history, having won four of their 10 meetings since 2019, but another four of those 10 did end in draws, and just three of those 10 were decided by two or more goals, including just one of the last five games between these two teams. Because of that, if there’s one thing that’s clear, a tightly-contested match should be on the cards, making that first matchup a good precursor of what could be to come on Tuesday.


  • York’s stingy defence expected to be a big boost to cup action: So far this year, there has been no CPL team that has been stingier at the back than York, as goalkeeper, Niko Giantsopoulos, and regular defenders, Dominick Zator, Roger Thompson, Jordan Wilson, Chrisnovic N’Sa and Diyaeddine Abzi, have all been excellent this season in CPL action. And the numbers speak for themselves. Just five goals conceded in seven league games. A league-low 3.77 xG allowed. Only four big chances allowed against them. You factor in their Canadian Championship preliminary round tie, where they allowed just one goal, one big chance and 0.92 xG on 10 shots, and things really look good for York defensively, who by every metric, have been excellent defensively. So as they get set for this cup tie, that bodes well for them, as with it being a one-game knockout, not conceding goals is immensely valuable. Therefore, unlike in league play, where a lack of offence has hurt them at times this year, as long as they defend at the level that they have there, at the bare minimum they’ll be able to push the game to penalties (there is no extra time in this year’s Canadian Championship), and if they add some attacking punch on top of that, even win the tie comfortably. So although York remains steadfast in their desire to score more goals, something that they have the talent to do, they understand that in this game, their defence provides extra value given what’s at stake. “We were able to force them into certain areas and keep them there,” Nash said of his team’s defensive success in the first match. “It's not easy to do, but if they can get service to their attacking players, it makes life difficult for us, so we'll have to keep pressuring the ball and stay organized, but it's not an easy task with the talent they have.”
  • Pacific hoping for a return to the goals: For the third time in eight games this year, and the first time at home, Pacific were treated to what feels like a rare sight for them - a goalless game. So as they get set for this rematch against this stingy York side at home, they’ll want to avoid making it four in nine. One of the most dangerous teams in the league for a reason, with their main attacking quartet of Alejandro Diaz, Josh Heard, Manny Aparicio and Marco Bustos leading the way offensively (although Aparicio is unlikely to feature in this one after exiting early on Friday), that’s unlikely to last long, however. Now up to 13.53 xG in eight games, miles ahead of anyone else, there’s been no better team at generating quality chances than Pacific, whose 20 big chances created lead the league. You add in that Diaz leads the league in goals with five, and Bustos leads the league in assists with four, that’s just gravy on top of that, showing the team’s offensive proficiency. Yet, as they’ve also shown, it’s been very boom-or-bust this season, as it’s either been no goals (three occasions), or two or more (four occasions), something that they’ll want to change, starting with this game. Of course, being as well-rounded as they are, they don’t need bushels of goals to win games, but they’ll want to find a tad more consistency in their offence, especially given the talent that they have at their disposal. Because of that, while they know it won’t be easy to find the net against York, they’ll hope it can be the start of a more consistent flow of goals going forward. “Those are the areas that we want to improve on,” Merriman said. “Those areas that we've been speaking about working on, and we'll hope to be able to bring them alive in the moments tomorrow night.”
  • Different journeys lead down the same path: It’s been quite the journey to this point for both teams, who after solid Canadian Championship runs in 2021, are looking to take things further in 2022. On York’s side, they’re after a special landmark in this game, as they made it to the quarter-finals for the first time in 2021, where they lost 5-0 to Toronto FC at BMO Field. As a result, this year they came out with a vengeance in response to that, nabbing a hard-fought road win over fledgling rivals Atlético Ottawa in a penalty shootout to reach that stage again. So now, as they look to reach the semi-finals for the first time, they’ll be feeling confident despite being on the road again, knowing that they’ve proven once now that they can be road warriors. “It's a great competition,” Nash said of the tournament. “And one that every CPL team wants to get as far as they can in and try to win it so yeah, I think there's a lot in the line in this game.” But in Pacific, they’ll have an opponent also chasing history, although they’re far from that yet. Having made the semi-finals last year, going on a run that saw them take down the Vancouver Whitecaps at home and Cavalry away, Pacific only narrowly lost 2-1 on the road to TFC to miss out on the final last year, leaving them wanting more. So this year, it feels like they’re on a ‘final or bust’ mission, so the last thing that they’d want to do is lose at home in the quarter-finals in this game. Having gotten a bye to this round as 2022 CPL champions, things have already lined up for them to make a run, but now, they’ve got to make true on their ambitions. “We want to take it one match at a time,” Merriman explained. “But for sure, we want to build off of what we did last season as a club and as an organization.”


Pacific FC wins: 2 || York United wins: 4 || Draws: 4

Previous match:

May 20, 2022 — Pacific FC 0-0 York United


“We know in these games, there's a little bit more in it, there's that little bit extra in it, because it's one match (elimination), right? And only one team can move forward and advance, so it creates that naturally. But we want to build off of what we were able to do last year in the competition, and it is a tournament so we want to take it one match at a time, it is a cup match, and we know there's a momentum that we can take (forward).” -- Pacific FC head coach James Merriman.

“We have a few things to clean up (from Friday), but we’re looking for the same kind of effort. I think it's gonna be an even game, and the team that finishes their chances is going to win.” -- York United head coach Martin Nash.

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