PREVIEW: Pacific FC vs. FC Edmonton – Match #41

2021 CPL regular season — Match #41
Pacific FC vs. FC Edmonton
August 7, 2021 at 3:30 pm PT/6:30 pm ET
Starlight Stadium in Langford, British Columbia
Watch Live: // Tickets available here


High-flying Pacific FC will go for a fourth win in a row Saturday when they host Western Canadian rivals FC Edmonton at Starlight Stadium.

The Tridents were the story at CanPL midweek – and since teams returned to home markets, for that matter – after taking top spot in the standings with a 2-1 come-from-behind win over Valour FC. A late red card to ‘keeper Callum Irving was somehow not the most memorable moment from a busy second half that saw defender Lukas MacNaughton score from outside the box (while wearing a rugby helmet) and Player of the Month Marco Bustos heading home a winner from close distance.

FC Edmonton, meanwhile, return to action after being on the other end of a reverse of fortunes in the Al Classico Tuesday, losing to Cavalry FC 2-1. The Eddies were a half-hour away from taking their first win off the Albertan rivals before a pair of goals shuttered those chances. Starlight Stadium has been a difficult visit early this season, with both Valour and the Cavs suffering rather deflating losses.

Both sides will be missing big pieces for Saturday’s match. Irving’s handling of the ball outside of the box against Valour and the resulting red card looks to give Nolan Wirth the start. FC Edmonton, meanwhile, will have to go without versatile wideplayer Sharly Mabussi after he collected his fourth yellow card midweek.

Saturday will be the first time these teams will meet in 2021, as The Kickoff in Winnipeg saw both teams play eastern Canadian opponents only.

The last time these clubs met produced one of the greatest moments in CanPL history when Bustos scored a dramatic late winner at the Island Games, the single-site 2020 season, to ensure PFC’s spot in the second round.

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  • Canadian women set ‘huge stepping stone’: Saturday’s match comes in the shadow of Canadian soccer’s greatest-ever achievement: the Canadian women’s national team’s gold medal match win over Sweden early Friday. Both coaches took time to reflect on the historic result before their CanPL tilt – especially the impact of Christine Sinclair, a British Columbia native, who finally captured her first major title as one of the sport’s all-time best.”Canada won the Olympic gold medal,” Kah repeated for sanity during his pre-match media availability. “We should celebrate this hard because if the US won we wouldn’t hear the end of it.””It’s great for Canadian football and the CPL to have the woman lead the way and hopefully men can follow suit. They put their blood sweat and tears for this country… This will be a huge stepping stone for this country to continue to grow.””I teared up, I’m not going to lie,” Koch said after the match. “The game in this country is going in such a positive direction… We’ve always been speaking about growth and the women’s journey, to go and win an Olympic gold medal is the epitome.”
  • Pacific attack red hot, Eddies defence ready for challenge: Focus will be set firmly towards the Pacific’s attacking third and whether or not FC Edmonton can keep the likes of Bustos, Ale Diaz, and Manny Aparicio at bay. Kah’s side has scored nine goals in four matches to lead CanPL play with 17 total goals. Edmonton, meanwhile, has prided itself on pragmatic defence and solid shape without possession. “They don’t just have 11 players – they have extreme depth,” Koch said of PFC. “We know coming into their house this is going to be a tough challenge – they’re flying high and you’d expect them to come out with a lot of positive energy.” To Koch’s credit, this Eddies style has been effective – with their Al Classico loss as a severe outlier due to just a handful of defensive mistakes capitalized on. At the other end, the Eddies will hope attackers like Easton Ongaro and Tobias Warschewski can break a snakebitten run in the final third. Koch pointed out his side likely could have scored three or more goals against Cavalry considering the chances created, adding the final touches in the box will be the difference. “We worked incredibly hard with the group of players to create opportunities and the positive is we are creating chances and every single game. But we need to capitalize. We need more guys to score to grow and get more confident.”
  • Kah, Koch reunited in CanPL: Saturday’s tilt will see two former colleagues in FCE’s Alan Koch and PFC’s Pa-Modou Kah lock horns as touchline adversaries for the first time. Koch and Kah worked together in the Vancouver Whitecaps system before the former joined FC Cincinnati, in which Kah followed as an assistant.While the two sides lived and worked alongside one another at The Kickoff in Winnipeg, they have yet to face each other, something Koch is particularly relishing.”I’m very proud of him and I’m excited to lock horns with him,” Koch said. “I’m proud of what he has been able to accomplish.”Kah echoed the sentiment, adding: “It will be a fun matchup – I enjoyed my time in Vancouver and Cincinnati. I learned a lot at that team and, for me, it’s just continued to grow from there.”But this isn’t about Pa vs. Alan – it’s about the players.”


Pacific FC wins: 3 || FC Edmonton wins: 2 || Draws: 1

Previous match:

September 6, 2020 — Pacific FC 2-1 FC Edmonton


“Edmonton is a physical team that likes to play rough – they did well in the bubble, too. The expectation is there’s going to be a hard, physical battle.” – Pacific FC head coach Pa-Modou Kah

“If you don’t capitalize on your chances, like we didn’t do in the first half, you leave yourself completely exposed. We could have had three, four, five goals after that first half. We’re trying to build a new identity – we’re not the finished article by any stretch but that second half could have been much different.” – FC Edmonton coach Alan Koch