2021 CPL regular season (The Kickoff) — Match #17 Pacific FC vs. York United FC July 10, 2021 at 5:00 pm ET/4:00 pm CT IG Field in Winnipeg, Manitoba Watch Live: OneSoccer.ca

With most CPL clubs halfway through their Winnipeg bubble experience at The Kickoff, teams are now beginning to prepare for rematches against opponents with whom they've already done battle in recent weeks. Such is the case with Pacific FC and York United, who will meet on Saturday afternoon as both sides look to win their second in a row.

Pacific roll into this game with a 2-1-1 record and seven points, having convincingly beaten Atlético Ottawa midweek with a 1-0 scoreline that likely flattered their opposition. Led by a dominant performance from Marco Bustos, the Tridents were exceptionally dynamic going forward and they had the lion's share of possession and shots, pinning Ottawa into their own half for much of the contest. At times, this side has looked like one of the strongest in the CPL in attack, but they've stumbled a few times, particularly in last weekend's 3-0 loss to Forge.

It sounds like Pacific might be without Manny Aparicio and Thomas Meilleur-Giguère again this weekend, so expect the club to continue to test their depth.

Meanwhile, Jimmy Brennan's side claimed their first victory of the York United era on Wednesday by defeating Valour FC in front of fans for the first time in over a year. The Nine Stripes fell behind 1-0 early, but they clawed back quickly and ultimately won with a lobbed header by Dominick Zator that gave them a lead. With their first win of the year, York climbed up into the middle of the table with their two draws and one loss to go along with the victory. It seems that York have improved in every contest they've played, and according to Brennan that's made a real difference in the environment around the club.

"There's a belief amongst the players, you can see it when they score," Brennan told reporters on Friday. "They're all coming together, they're all celebrating, everybody feels a part of the team. I think that's why we see the subs come on and have in an influence on the game, which is brilliant. The chemistry just keeps building and you can see that they're working hard for one another."

The last time these two clubs squared off at IG Field, a Canada Day matinee, there was no shortage of fireworks, with Pacific erasing an early York lead and going up 2-1 only for their opponent to return the favour with an 82nd-minute Jordan Wilson equalizer. That was an intensely physical contest, with 30 fouls and eight yellow cards handed out in total, but in the end both sides were able to muster enough quality to find the net twice -- Wilson and Diyaeddine Abzi for York, and Josh Heard both times for Pacific (although the second, which took a massive deflection on the way in, was credited as an own goal to Chrisnovic N'sa).

When these sides met at the Island Games last year, a very late Lukas MacNaughton goal tied it up at 1-1 to give each side a point. Both sides will be looking to break the deadlock of the last two meetings when they converge at IG Field this weekend.

Make your match picks prior to kickoff at canpl.ca/predictor for a chance to win prizes, including the grand prize of a trip to the 2021 CPL Final!


  • More tactical curveballs? Pacific coach Pa-Modou Kah took a tactical gamble before the last meeting between these sides, opting to play Kadin Chung at left fullback rather than in his natural right-sided position as part of a wide tandem with Marco Bustos. So, instead of the battle along one flank between the Bustos-Chung combo and Diyaeddine Abzi, which allowed both sides to spread the field out and work along both flanks. After Chung and Bustos were so lethal together against Atlético Ottawa, though, it would be hard to split them up again. Perhaps, though, Kah has another ace up his sleeve with regard to catching Brennan and co. by surprise with his tactics? Coaches will often try and nullify their opponent's preparation with a curveball or two -- especially so when you've seen each other just 10 days before -- so predicting a starting 11 for either side might be a fool's errand.​
  • Young midfield battle: With neither Manny Aparicio nor Jamar Dixon in the starting lineup on Wednesday, Pacific rolled out a three-man midfield of Sean Young, Alessandro Hojabrpour, and Ollie Bassett, with Matteo Polisi making his first pro start on the wing -- all four players being no older than 23. Meanwhile, York's central unit has often been led by youngsters like Isaiah Johnston, Cédric Toussaint, and Noah Verhoeven. Both sides could bring some of their experience back in -- Jordan Wilson would likely fill that role for York -- but expect the youth element to be a major factor for these teams especially in the central battles. Kah explained on Friday that if he's got youngsters in the squad, they're always going to have a chance to play: "Me as a coach, if I don't trust my players, why do I have them?" he said. "If you understand what our philosophy and vision is, we will throw you in because the work that they put in, we have to reward them as well."​
  • York's physicality: In the game between these sides earlier at The Kickoff, York was at times able to grind down Pacific with some biting challenges and intense contact duels in midfield. Certainly, it took some of the dynamism out of Pacific's attack -- although they won a lot of free kicks because of it as well. York leads the CPL in fouls committed, but they're also near the top in interceptions and tackles won. Brennan so far has been pleased with his team's ability to play with that intensity, and he doesn't expect it to change this weekend: "That always comes into play, being physical -- being first to second balls, winning your individual battles all over the field," he said. "There has to be some physicality within your play, that's part of the game. It is a contact sport, and we've got to make sure we're aggressive in our style, we're aggressive in our play, and this won't be any different. Our guys won't be pulling out of challenges, they'll be getting stuck in every opportunity that they get."​


Pacific FC wins: 1 || York United wins: 3 || Draws: 3

Previous match:

July 1, 2021 -- York United 2-2 Pacific FC


"You learn more about yourself in these kinds of situations, and this year going through it, I think we learned a great deal about ourselves but also how and who we are as a team and the culture we want to build." — Pa-Modou Kah, Pacific FC head coach

"There's regular patterns that we've noticed and we've clocked, but at the same time we've got to really expose them. I think it's gonna be a good match, I genuinely do. Both teams will be trying to play football." — Jimmy Brennan, York United head coach

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