Pa-Modou Kah, who earned his first professional managerial win, saw his side score first, avoid late drama (almost), earn their first clean sheet, and grab their first victory of the 2020 CPL season
“Today was very important for the confidence in the boys – to get ahead and then not concede at the end again – that can be demoralizing,” Kah said after the match. “I’m happy with their response to the Forge game… I’m so proud of the guys – they deserve better.”
Pacific bounced back from an agonizing loss to Forge FC on the weekend quite early on Tuesday night. A fluky cross deflected off Valour Julian Dunn’s backside and onto Alejandro Diaz’s foot. The Mexican forward made no mistake as he opened his CPL account in the fourth minute.
Diaz, 24, was happy to get the opener in his second-straight start since moving from Liga MX.
“It’s a physical game and I like it – I’m starting to get comfortable here,” Diaz said of the CPL. “Every game the team gets better. It was difficult at the start but game-to-game it’s getting better.”
Victor Blasco added a second goal by the 84th minute which, if you’ve followed Pacific thus far at The Island Games, is about the time things get wonky for them. The Tridents avoided conceding a last-minute goal for the first time in PEI, after doing so versus Forge , HFX Wanderers, and York9 FC.
PFC kept a clean sheet thanks to some heroics from debutant goalkeeper Callum Irving. A penalty conceded by Lukas MacNaughton sent Valour to the spot for a shot at a late consultation goal. Dylan Carriero’s first attempt was saved by Irving, only for his rebound to rocket over the bar.
Irving had an impressive seven-save outing as he replaced Nolan Wirth between the sticks. Kah’s ‘keeper swap gave Pacific fans a first look at the former Ottawa Fury and Canada national team player.
“Obviously no one wants to change goalkeeper, but everyone will get their chance. Callum took that chance and got a clean sheet so I think it’s normal he’ll play,” Kah replied when asked if Irving’s run as a starter would continue versus Cavalry on Sunday (12pm ET/1pm AT, on OneSoccer).
“You need a backline to have confidence in your goalkeeper and they have that with Callum and Nolan.”
Kah also spoke to media about his viral address on OneSoccer in the lead-up to Tuesday’s match: The Pacific FC gaffer’s made a passionate anti-racist speech in which he discussed Alphonso Davies’ success as the first black Canadian to win the UEFA Champions League and the recent Jacob Blake shooting in the U.S.