HFX Wanderers FC bowed out of Wanderers Grounds for the final time in the 2019 Canadian Premier League season, drawing 1-1 with visiting Pacific FC in a wild match that featured plenty of late thrills for the crowd in Halifax to enjoy.
Pacific defender Lukas MacNaughton opened the scoring just 13 minutes in, scoring off a corner routine on a third try on goal to give his team a narrow lead. But, MacNaughton would quickly undo his good work in the 26th minute, bringing Kodai Iida down in the box to concede a penalty, which Luis Alberto Perea slotted into the top left corner of the net for his third of the year.
The second half saw a late moment of note for the Pacific season, as Marcel De Jong returned after a seven-month term on the sideline through an Achilles injury to make his club debut in the 66th minute of play. He made his presence felt immediately, whipping a perfect cross to Terran Campbell from the left, forcing HFX ‘keeper Christian Oxner, sans backup on the bench, to challenge well out of the box, drawing a fortuitous yellow card.
De Jong would continue to cause problems for HFX, who themselves had a few good looks at goal as the minutes ticked on toward a full 90; Scott Firth had a shot on goal in the 86th for HFX, before De Jong found fellow substitute Issey Nakajima-Farran for another sight on net three minutes later. Tomas Skublak, coming off the bench for HFX, had two late chances, too, but neither found the back of the net.
So, 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.
13′ – Lukas MacNaughton (Pacific FC)
27′ – Luis Alberto Perea (HFX Wanderers)
36′ Yellow – Alexander Gonzalez (Pacific FC)
42′ Yellow – Elton John (HFX Wanderers)
70′ Yellow – Christian Oxner (HFX Wanderers)
81′ Yellow – Lukas MacNaughton (Pacific FC)
Three Key Performers
Kodai Iida (HFX Wanderers FC)
In a match that featured plenty of back-and-forth from both sides, Kodai Iida was an ever-present threat across the HFX front line, helping his teammates out with good industry while driving the tempo of his team’s play on the front-foot. Iida stepped in wonderfully for Akeem Garcia.
Marcel De Jong (Pacific FC)
In just shy of half an hour of play, Marcel De Jong played more dangerous crosses and passes into the box than most of his Pacific teammates managed over 90. His quality was immediately felt on the field, and De Jong was also cool in possession, providing a reliable option for his teammates to use in the build-up.
Chakib Hocine (HFX Wanderers FC)
A quiet, commanding performance from Chakib Hocine, who put in the sort of performance the Wanderers have been missing in the absence of Peter Schaale. This spot would have gone to Lukas MacNaughton, if not for the penalty concession that followed his goal; on the opposite side? Hocine was effective, and clean in his play.