Pacific FC fell behind 0:2 to Cavalry FC at home in the first leg of the Qualifying Round on 15 May at Westhills Stadium in Victoria, […]
Pacific FC fell behind 0:2 to Cavalry FC at home in the first leg of the Qualifying Round on 15 May at Westhills Stadium in Victoria, B.C. The Canadian Premier League teams will now travel to Calgary on 22 May where Pacific will try to overcome the deficit in the return leg and advance to face Forge FC in Qualifying Round 2 in June.
The visitors opened the scoring of the all Canadian Premier League matchup in the 10’ when captain Dominik Zator flicked a header out of the reach of Pacific FC goalkeeper Nolan Wirth off a long throw from Nico Pasquotti. The visitors doubled their lead in the 16’. Pasquotti once again put in a fantastic cross from out wide, this time with his foot. Oliver Minatel dove to get his head to the ball to knock the cross past Wirth, making the score 0:2. Cavalry would continue to create dangerous opportunities by putting crosses in from wide areas throughout the match.
After falling behind, the home side was able to put some pressure on Cavalry, but had difficulty getting clear shots on goal. Two minutes after allowing the second goal, Pacific created one of their best chances of the match. The ball bounced around inside the Cavalry penalty area and the visitors were unable to clear it, but the eventual volley from Alessandro Hojabrpour sailed over the crossbar (18’).
A misunderstanding between Zator and his keeper, Nikolas Giantsopoulos, where both players thought the other was going to play the ball, led to a Pacific FC corner in the 30’. The cross from the corner nearly resulted in an own goal as it bounced off a Cavalry player but squeaked just wide of the far post. The follow-up corner was headed on goal by Pacific FC captain Marcus Haber but the Giantsopoulos made one of his best saves of the match, diving to keep the ball out of the net and hold on to any potential rebound. Issey Nakajima-Farran drove in a powerful strike on goal from a long-range free kick in the 35’ but the shot was punched clear of danger by Giantsopoulos.
Just before halftime, Carlos Patino nearly gave Cavalry a three-goal lead (42’) but Wirth was able to push the ball over the crossbar. On another dangerous long throw-in from Pasquotti, the Pacific keeper made a phenomenal reaction save to keep the deficit at two. Wirth, who was making his debut for Pacific FC, had to make a number of challenging saves in the final five minutes of the first half.
The visiting side started the second half with a strong push for the third goal, building off the momentum they had finished the first half with and forcing Pacific FC to scramble in their own box. In the 50’, Buscher rattled the crossbar with a left-footed strike, after finding some space from two Pacific defenders with a right-footed fake.
Cavalry were happy to maintain possession in the second half and hold on to the two-goal lead in the pouring rain away from home. In the 66’, Cavalry captain Zator made a perfectly-timed sliding tackle on the opposing captain, Haber, as the Pacific player was making a run into the visitors’ penalty area. Zator was able to get the ball clear of danger while avoiding giving up a penalty.
The Pacific FC Starting XI featured 10 Canadian players. The home squad was backstopped by Canadian debutant goalkeeper Nolan Wirth. Defender Blake Smith joined Canadians Lukas MacNaughton, Ryan McCurdy, and Kadin Chung in forming the backline. Matthew Badisimo, Ben Fisk, Alessandro Hojabrpour, and Zachary Verhoven formed the all-Canadian midfield. Canadian Marcus Haber captained the home side and led the attack alongside fellow Canadian Issey Nakajima-Farran.
Pacific FC coach Michael Kappelgaard Silberbauer made his first substitution early in the second half, bringing on Canadian Ahmed Alghamdi to replace Badisimo (55’). He followed this move up in the 61’, when Ben Fisk gave way to Jose Hernandez. The final substitution came with 15 minutes remaining, with Victor Blasco coming on for Nakajima-Farran.
Visiting Cavalry FC’s starting XI featured Canadian goalkeeper Nikolas Giantsopoulos alongside a defensive line led by captain and fellow Canadian Dominik Zator and also including Nathan Mavila and Canadians Joel Waterman and Malyk Hamilton. The midfield was formed by Julian Buscher, Oliver Minatel, and Canadian Mauro Antunes Eustaquio. Jordan Brown formed the attack up front with Canadians Carlos Patino and Nico Pasquotti.
Cavalry coach Tommy Wheeldon Jr. was forced into an early change, replacing the injured Minatel with Canadian teenager Victor Loturi in the 26’. In the 61’, Canadian Gabriel Bitar came on for Brown, and the away side made their final change in the 66’ with Canadian Dean Northover in for Mavila.
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