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Goals by hometown products Heard, Young propel Pacific FC past Valour FC

PFC moves to 2-0 on the season
Pacific FC midfielder Georges Mukumbilwa tries to fend off Valour FC midfielder Themi Antonoglou ­during the first half at Starlight Stadium on Friday night. ADRIAN LAM, TIMES COLONIST

Among the people watching the Canadian Premier League game Friday night at Starlight Stadium was CPL commissioner Mark Noonan, who said: “The CPL is about developing Canadian players and the Canadian soccer ecosystem.”

He must have liked what he saw as homegrown Victoria products Josh Heard and Sean Young scored to give Pacific FC (2-0) a 2-0 victory over Valour FC of Winnipeg (0-2).

Not happy with its listless and scoreless first half, Pacific FC inserted into the mix reliable veteran Heard. The former University of Washington Huskies attacker made an immediate impact with a well-built goal two minutes into the second half. It was started on a through ball by another second-half substitute, Haiti-capped midfielder Cédric Toussaint, to 26-time Trinidad and Tobago capped off-season signing Reon Moore, who crossed the ball in the box to Heard for the finish.

“The first half was not us and not good enough,” said PFC head coach James Merriman.

“We challenged ourselves [at half-time] to be more direct and attack-minded. In the second half we showed the potential of what we can be.”

Young added the insurance goal at 79 minutes by burying a Toussaint rebound to the back of the net in his club-record 100th career game for PFC.

“It’s really special. I couldn’t have imagined my career and life going this way,” said Young.

“I am grateful to have a Canadian pro league to showcase myself. Josh and I are Island products and playing pro in our hometown and that is an honour we don’t take lightly.”

Added Merriman about Young’s goal in his 100th game: “I don’t think you could have scripted it better. He represents the vision behind the league and is an example to young players across the country of why we created this club and this league. It’s a proud night.”

Tridents goalkeeper Emil Gazdov recorded his second consecutive clean sheet following the 1-0 win in the season opener last weekend at Starlight over the HFX Wanderers of Halifax.

“When asked, Emil has been there, which wasn’t always the case last year. It’s a really strong start for him,” said Merriman.

Valour FC lost its second consecutive game after being downed 4-1 by Vancouver FC in their opener in Langley.

Canada’s long-awaited ­domestic pro soccer league is in the second week of its sixth season.

“Building a league from scratch is hard. It takes time and years to construct. But you need a foundation to start and we are building that foundation and will keep doing it year after year,” said CPL commissioner Noonan.

CORNER KICKS: The League1 B.C. runner-up TSS Rovers of Burnaby have been slotted in to replace the defunct Victoria Highlanders for the opening-round Voyageurs Cup Canadian Championship game against PFC on May 1 at Starlight Stadium. The defending League1 B.C. champion Highlanders ceased operations this month. … Pacific FC this week signed six-foot centre-back Juan Quintana, 20, to a one-year contract, plus two option years. “He has played in the first and second divisions of Colombia [for Orsomarso SC and Western Colombia since 2021],” noted Merriman. Quintana did not play Friday and will be eased into the lineup. … PFC next plays its first away game April 28 in Calgary against Cavalry FC.

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