VAN ISLE – Although it took its toll, Pacific FC’s first win of the Fall season is in the books as they beat HFX Wanderers FC 3-1 on Saturday at Westhills Stadium.
Pacific has now broken a three-game losing streak, but the cost was significant: coach Michael Silberbauer was forced to use all three of his substitutions for injuries, as key contributors Victor Blasco, Kadin Chung, and Hendrik Starostzik all went down before the 70-minute mark.
The home side got off the ground quickly, as Blasco sent a stunning free kick past goalkeeper Christian Oxner in the ninth minute. As has been the case all too often in recent games, though, Pacific wasted their goal by conceding quickly after — this time in the 15th minute, as HFX’s Matthew Arnone headed home a corner kick. The goal came as a huge relief for the Wanderers, who hadn’t yet scored a CPL goal away from home.
Both sides threatened offensively throughout the first half, with Blasco especially taking a number of chances before leaving just before halftime. However, it wasn’t until the hour mark in the second half that Pacific’s Terran Campbell tapped in his team-best sixth goal of the season to break the deadlock.
The Wanderers desperately sought an equalizer in the final 30 minutes, hoping to pick up a road point for the first time, but Nolan Wirth continued to make his case for Pacific’s number one goalkeeper job, keeping the road team at bay.
It was Campbell yet again who delivered the dagger to HFX, as he slid in to finish an excellent cross from Zachary Verhoven in stoppage time to make it 3-1. With seven goals on the season now, Campbell moved into a tie with Forge FC’s Tristan Borges for tops in the CPL.
HFX must recover quickly from this one, as they’ll now fly all the way to Ottawa for Wednesday night’s must-win Canadian Championship second leg against Ottawa Fury (7:30 p.m. ET, on OneSoccer). Pacific won’t feature in the midweek slate or next weekend’s CPL games; they’ll have some time to recover from Saturday’s injuries, with their next match coming Wednesday, July 31 away to Valour FC (8:00 p.m. ET, 7:00 p.m. CT, on OneSoccer).
9′ – Victor Blasco (Pacific FC)
15′ – Matthew Arnone (HFX Wanderers FC)
61′ – Terran Campbell (Pacific FC)
91′ – Terran Campbell (Pacific FC)
8′ Yellow – Peter Schaale (HFX Wanderers FC)
26′ Yellow – Zachary Verhoven (Pacific FC)
54′ Yellow – Elton John (HFX Wanderers FC)
95′ Yellow – Matthew Arnone (HFX Wanderers FC)
Three Key Performers
Terran Campbell (Pacific FC)
Campbell’s nose for the net was on full display here. His goals aren’t often flashy, but there’s a reason it always seems to be him; he timed his run perfectly to tap in both of the markers he scored against HFX, as he became the first CPL player to match Tristan Borges in the scoring race.
Hendrik Starostzik (Pacific FC)
Wearing the armband today, Starostzik was almost perfect with the ball at his feet in this one. He led Pacific with 74 passes (completed at a 94.6% success rate) and 82 touches, making five clearances and two tackles. His early departure due to injury was a major blow to PFC, who just got him back after a long absence.
Mohamed Kourouma (HFX Wanderers FC)
Pretty much every Wanderers attack came through Kourouma here. He had five shots (three on target), and he provided the cross for their only goal — one of 10 balls he played in from the wing. He was a key contributor out wide for HFX, and it’s a pity their forwards weren’t able to make more out of his crosses.