PREVIEW: HFX Wanderers FC vs. Pacific FC – Match #89
Canadian Premier League — Match #89 HFX Wanderers FC vs. Pacific FC October 9, 2019 — Wanderers Grounds (6:00 p.m. ET/7:00 p.m. AT) Watch Live: OneSoccer.ca
The flight from Vancouver Island to Halifax spans 4,500 km in distance. It’s the third-longest away trip in professional soccer. And, for one final time in the 2019 season, Pacific FC embarks upon that long journey across the country to take on HFX Wanderers FC, to settle the series over five tilts.
Pacific has already garnered a pair of wins, a draw, and a loss in the first four of these five fixtures, and enters Wanderers Grounds hungry for three points against the Fall’s basement outfit, though with the Wanderers bidding farewell to their raucous fans in this final bow at home, you can be sure HFX will put up more than a fight to ensure celebrations are earned in this reflective tilt for the City of Halifax.
Pacific FC striker Terran Campbell will be on the hunt for more goals, too, as he is now one behind Forge attacker Tristan Borges in the CPL’s Golden Boot race, sitting on 11 goals for the season. Campbell may have begun the year as a relatively unknown quantity, but has burst onto the scene in fine fashion this season, and could turn heads once again when taking on an HFX outfit that sits dead-middle in goals against over the Fall (23).
Michael Silberbauer will be without Victor Blasco for this particular match, however, as the Spanish attacker accumulated four yellow cards and is thus suspended. The Wanderers will be without Jan-Michael Williams, who picked up a red card in their last meeting.
Following this final coastal clash, HFX Wanderers FC bids farewell to Wanderers Grounds for the 2019 season and heads off on the road one final time, looking for an elusive away victory when they take on York9 FC at York Lions Stadium on the final day of the regular season (Oct. 19 at 1:30 p.m. ET/2:30 p.m. AT, available on OneSoccer). Meanwhile, Pacific FC has a stop in Edmonton on Oct. 16 to contend (Oct. 16 at Clarke Field, 9:00 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT, available on OneSoccer), before turning their attention to their final home match of the season against Valour FC at Westhills Stadium on Oct. 19.
KEYS TO THE MATCH
No place like home: This is it for HFX Wanderers FC – a final bout at home to cap off the 2019 season, before one final journey away to bring this chapter to a close. Because this is the team’s last bow for the year, Stephen Hart’s side will want to make the most of the atmosphere and support they’ll draw from the stands. There’s no better opportunity to celebrate a successful season, even if the results on the table don’t reflect the sentiment. Because, in the end of the day, soccer has come to Halifax, and that’s worth sharing a pint or two over, no? Make it count.
Win the wings: Pacific FC’s wide attackers will need to be in tip-top form to find any success on this day, especially if HFX rolls on with a 3-5-2. Ben Fisk was anonymous in their last meeting, and he’ll need to impose himself on the match more if any success is to come, especially in the absence of Blasco. Winning the wide battle could be the key to giving Campbell the kind of service he thrives on in and around the box. As such, the space between HFX’s advanced wing-backs and the centre-backs on either end of their backline will be a hot spot for Pacific.
Minimize mistakes: Jan-Michael Williams’ individual errors may have cost Halifax in their last meeting, and keeping those individual mistakes to a minimum will be key for Hart’s side, as a tendency to defend well but shoot themselves in the foot has permeated throughout 2019. The Wanderers will want for a complete 90 minute performance, and if they can give it, then this is a Pacific FC team that can be defeated. But, it’ll mean accountability from defenders, and no time off when tracking back for Zela Langwa and Andre Bona.
HFX Wanderers FC: Christian Oxner; Duran Lee, Matthew Arnone, Chrisnovic N’Sa; Zela Langwa, Andre Rampersad, Elton John, Andre Bona; Mohamed Kourouma, Juan Diego Gutierrez, Zachary Sukunda
Pacific FC: Nolan Wirth; Blake Smith, Hendrik Starostzik, Lukas MacNaughton, Kadin Chung; Alexander Gonzalez, Alessandro Hojabrpour, Noah Verhoeven; Ben Fisk, Terran Campbell, Zachary Verhoven