Pacific FC striker Jordan Brown knew he had the most unenviable task in the Canadian Premier League when he was signed in August. Brown was tasked to replace Alejandro Diaz, whose 13 goals still lead the CPL, after the former Mexico U-20 and U-23 international was shipped to Sogndal of the Norwegian First Division for the second-highest transfer fee in CPL history, which Transfermarkt listed as $165,000 US.
Brown scored in the 60th minute Wednesday night, converting a Marco Bustos rebound, that proved the difference in a 1-0 PFC victory over Forge FC at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton, Ont.
“I knew there was going to be lots of pressure,” said Brown.
“But in my head, I just removed that. I am very driven and motivated with self-belief and am always pushing myself. I’m not trying to be anybody else. The guys knew [Diaz] for three years. My teammates are getting used to me and it seems to be clicking week to week.”
Although this was Brown’s first official goal for PFC, his pressure also directly caused the own goal in the 1-1 draw against Forge FC last month at Starlight Stadium in Langford.
“I was in the right space and the right time and there to pick up the pieces tonight [to bang home Bustos’ rebound],” said Brown.
Scoring opportunistic goals is nothing new for Brown. The six-foot-one forward, in his previous CPL tenure, scored for Cavalry FC in the Calgary club’s landmark win over the Vancouver Whitecaps of MLS in the 2019 Canadian Championship tournament. The native of London began in the Arsenal and West Ham youth academies and represented England at U-16 and U-17 levels, scoring three times in the latter in seven appearances. Brown played two seasons with Hannover 96 in Germany before coming to North America and scoring seven goals in 33 CPL games for Cavalry FC in 2019 before signing in Germany with Regionalliga club VfR Aalen in 2020 and later with Fylkir in Reykjavik, Iceland. He returned to Canada this year and had 11 goals in 17 games with Electric City of Peterborough in League1 Ontario before being signed by PFC. Brown has 30 goals in 139 professional games.
“[Brown] is always working and working, and pushes himself and challenges himself, with a tremendous work rate off the ball,” said PFC head coach James Merriman.
The match-up featured the only two teams to have lifted the North Star Shield as CPL playoff champions with PFC the holders and Forge FC the 2019 and 2020 champion.
“Our team is loud, proud and happy with the performance,” said Merriman.
“This has been a difficult place for us to play with last year’s playoff final one of the few times we beat them here [Forge FC leads the all-time series against PFC 9-3-2].
“We have a history of coming here without a fearless mindset and too much respect sometimes. We wanted to play today and did that. Forge FC likes to be in control and we tried to take that away from them. They are a quality side but wanted to ask a few questions of them.”
The Tridents did that and forced Hammers’ goalkeeper Triston Henry to make some quality saves. The goal came off a Forge FC turnover caused at midfield by PFC’s Cédric Toussaint, who fed a charging Bustos, whose shot was stopped by a sprawling Henry before being kicked home by Brown.
“We made a mistake and will learn from it. That’s football. It happens whether players are making $10-million or what our guys make,” said Forge FC head coach Bobby Smyrniotis.
The win was sweet for the Island visitors against former-Tridents-teammates-turned Hammers Alessandro Hojabrpour and Terran Campbell.
PFC (13-7-7) won its third consecutive game, and is unbeaten in five, and will officially record the best regular season in club history with its current 46 points topping last season’s 45 and good enough currently for second place.
The Tridents and Hammers (13-9-5) are headed to the CPL playoffs along with Cavalry FC and Atletico Ottawa. The victory kept alive PFC’s hopes of the regular-season championship but the Tridents must beat Cavalry FC in their final regular-season game Saturday in Calgary and have leading Atletico Ottawa lose to York United.