Pacific FC has wrapped up the Spring portion of the 2019 CPL season in fine fashion, defeating the opening stanza champions Cavalry FC by a score of 3-1 at Westhills Stadium in a wild back-and-forth that produced three red cards – one for the home team, two for the away side – in the second half.
After a cagey first half, the opening goal came courtesy of Pacific attacker Ahmed Alghamdi in the 48th minute, with the 17-year-old picking out a pass at the edge of the box and striking a perfect curling ball into the top corner of goal. A mad scramble in the Pacific box at the hour mark gave Dominique Malonga his own look at goal, with the French striker tucking his effort away after a few bounces and a struck post.
While a red card to each of Alexander Gonzalez and Dean Northover reduced both sides to 10 men, Pacific came out with the advantage at home, as birthday boy Victor Blasco once again shot from distance, and fortuitously saw his effort rewarded by the ruffling of the net. Another late moment of drama could have turned the narrative once again, as Jordan Brown looked to have beaten Nolan Wirth, but the Pacific ‘keeper made the save right on the goal line, preventing an equalizer in the 80th minute.
Pacific would go on to hold the 2-1 lead until seconds before the final whistle, but with six minutes of added time, a late red card to Mauro Eustaquio opened the door for substitute Issey Nakajima-Farran to score a beautiful free kick to make it 3-1.
As a result, Pacific FC takes all three points out of a team that has only lost one previous encounter in this 10-match sprint, and now both teams refocus their efforts toward the Fall portion of the 2019 season. Pacific, having avoided the Spring table basement with this win, next return to action against this very same opponent at this very same venue, hosting Cavalry on July 6 to kick off the Fall (3:00 p.m. PT/6:00 p.m. ET, available on OneSoccer).
48′ – Ahmed Alghamdi (Pacific FC)
61′ – Dominique Malonga (Cavalry FC)
76′ – Victor Blasco (Pacific FC)
97′ – Issey Nakajima-Farran (Pacific FC)
37′ Yellow – Julian Buscher (Cavalry FC)
49′ Yellow – Ahmed Alghamdi (Pacific FC)
51′ Yellow – Alexander Gonzalez (Pacific FC)
51′ Yellow – Mauro Eustaquio (Cavalry FC)
56′ Yellow – Nathan Mavila (Cavalry FC)
58′ Yellow – Victor Loturi (Cavalry FC)
72′ Red – Alexander Gonzalez (Pacific FC)
74′ Red – Dean Northover (Cavalry FC)
96′ Red – Mauro Eustaquio (Cavalry FC)
Three key performers
Nolan Wirth (Pacific FC) – The No. 2 ‘keeper at Pacific FC called his team’s win “more than sweet … it was sweet-sour” and while we’re not quite sure what that means, if the interpretation indicates that his performance was worthy of merit, we’re for it; Wirth stepped in wonderfully and performed between the sticks, saving his team with a goal-line stop late in the match.
Joel Waterman (Cavalry FC) – Clean in all his touches, won 86% of his duels, and lead his teams in passes in the attacking half; it was just one of those games where everything Waterman touched was resolute and calming. Sure, this wasn’t Cavalry’s best performance, but with little to actually play for in this Spring bow-out, Waterman’s consistency was a noteworthy sight.
Victor Blasco (Pacific FC) – Happy birthday, Victor Blasco. It’s a second strike from distance for the Spanish attacker, and just as peachy as the first. His game-winning goal puts the rest of the league on notice, with Pacific finally coming alive on the front foot courtesy of his impressive attacking play.