HFX WANDERERS 1
PACIFIC FC 0
On the bare scoreline it read as a tough loss for Pacific FC on an own goal in the last 10 minutes. On the pitch, however, it was another story as the HFX Wanderers were dominant in a 1-0 Canadian Premier League victory Monday in Halifax.
Perhaps PFC has become soft after sitting atop the CPL table for much of the season.
“We didn’t show the urgency or desire to win,” said PFC head coach Pa-Modou Kah.
“We met a team playing for its life [HFX moved into the fourth and final playoff position at 8-7-8]. We have to play like our lives are depending on it, too. We have to stay as the hunter. This was one of our worst performances by far. We were second to everything today. That was not up to PFC standard. It was not PFC worthy. Credit to Halifax. We didn’t deserve it.”
With his club in a desperate stuggle for a playoff berth, HFX mentor and former Canada and Trinidad and Tobago head coach Stephen Hart said: “Every game now is a final for us.” And the Wanderers played like it against PFC, with German-born former PDL Victoria Highlanders centre-back Peter Schaale of HFX named man of the match.
Meanwhile, Forge FC of Hamilton and Cavalry FC of Calgary are two points behind leading PFC (11-6-6), each with a game in hand. Sixth-place Valour FC of Winnipeg did PFC a huge favour Monday by knocking off two-time defending champion Forge FC 3-1.
“We need to get off our high horse and back to the drawing board,” said Kah.
“We aim to be, but we are not a Calgary or Forge yet. We need to look in the mirror and ask ourselves how much do we want it.”
The winning goal, off an HFX corner kick, ping-ponged in off two PFC defenders at 83 minutes with Abdou Samake being the last and assessed the own goal.
“They were coming at us with set pieces all game,” said PFC goalkeeper Callum Irving.
“You saw one team out there with a reason for playing and another team that looked lost. It was one of the toughest, most physical games I have been in. We didn’t match that.” Pacific FC did not manage a shot on goal.
“We couldn’t get it together today. It was one of the tougher ones to watch from back there [from his crease],” said Irving.
PFC concluded its five-game road swing with two losses after falling in Edmonton 2-1 in its previous game. “We have to start picking up points, home or away,” Irving said.
Otherwise, that home-field advantage PFC was banking on for the playoffs could dissipate quickly.
“In Starlight Stadium is where we want to be,” said Irving.
“We have to right our wrongs there on Saturday [when PFC entertains Valour FC]. We always look forward to playing at home in front of our fans.”