Kadin Chung proud to net Pacific FC's winner against Edmonton

PACIFIC FC  1
FC EDMONTON  0

Kadin Chung grew up playing soccer in Port Coquitlam, but also watching Vancouver Canucks hockey. This is Canada, after all.

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So perhaps it was only appropriate that Chung, the first player signed in Pacific FC history last November, scored his first goal for the team on a hockey-type shot deflection off an opposing defender.

The goal at 28 minutes held to give PFC a 1-0 Canadian Premier League victory Saturday over FC Edmonton at Westhills Stadium.

“It was a lucky bounce. But it’s a relief to get my first goal and I feel very proud,” Chung said.

Especially since he scored it moving up from his full-back position. “Our defence pushes out,” Chung said.

The 21-year-old British Columbian has returned to Canada after playing last season in Germany, making eight appearances with the FC Kaiserslautern Reserves in Bundesliga 2.

Chung has international experience with Canada at the Under-17, U-20 and U-23 levels. He was named U-17 Canadian player of the year in 2016, an award that has also been won by senior Canadian national team players Russell Teibert of MLS’s Vancouver Whitecaps and Alphonso Davies of Bayern Munich.

Chung’s opportunistic missive helped surging PFC move to 4-5-3 in the fall season after a 0-3 start and propelled Pacific into third place in the standings. FC Edmonton, nicknamed the Eddies, are 3-4-5 following the loss and dropped behind PFC into fourth.

“We are taking it one win at a time, but this was a good stepping stone in a good second half of the season,” Chung said.

One of the few hiccups in the latter was the 2-0 loss at Westhills on Wednesday night to visiting York9 of Toronto. PFC had to regroup quickly for Saturday’s noon start to accommodate the nationally televised game on CBC against the Eddies.

Fatigue meant roster juggling for PFC head coach Michael Silberbauer, especially so on the back line, where stalwarts Hendrik Starostzik, an import from Germany, and American Blake Smith, on loan from FC Cincinnati of MLS, were given breathers.

Lukas MacNaughton was his usual reliable self, while fellow defender Ryan McCurdy returned after sitting out several games and midfield standout Noah Verhoeven was also moved to the back line. It was a jury-rigged PFC defence, but it worked.

“Wednesday was a late-night game and [Saturday] a very early game and fans could see we were just grinding it out at the end,” Verhoeven said. “It was not pretty, but it got the result.”

Mark Village was there when needed for the clean sheet.

“The guys in front of me played well,” the PFC ’keeper said. “Noah [Verhoeven] kept the wingers at bay and Ryan McCurdy kept Tomi Ameobi [the six-foot-three former Leeds United prospect] very busy.”

Verhoeven was never out of position, despite playing in an unfamiliar slot, as the Eddies pressed for much of the second half. He showed the kind of adaptability that earned him a callup to the Canadian national team practice roster ahead of the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup this summer.

“I felt comfortable back there,” said the 20-year-old from Surrey.

Pacific FC heads across the Rockies next Sunday to play Cavalry FC in Calgary.

cdheensaw@timescolonist.com

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