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Pacific FC midfielder Marco Bustos on MLS trial with Toronto FC

The three-season Pacific FC standout has 23 goals and 20 assists in 90 career CPL games, and has been capped six times for Canada.
Marco Bustos helped Pacific FC make the CPL playoffs and now he has a shot at moving to MLS with Toronto FC. PACIFIC FC

Everybody should have such ­so-called “off” seasons. Marco Bustos’ goal production may have fallen this season for Pacific FC in the Canadian Premier League, but not his reputation or value, as the crafty attacking-midfielder is on trial this week with Toronto FC of Major League Soccer.

“It was a difficult season for me and tough for me to find the net [three goals with seven assists in 33 games]. But I worked on other parts of my game,” Bustos told the Times Colonist by phone from Toronto, after Manuel Veth of Transfermarkt broke the story Monday.

“It’s important to reflect and get better. I just want to get better every day. When a storm hits, it doesn’t last forever. It was a tough streak, but sometimes seasons just go that way. I’m always working hard and continuing to aspire and rise.”

The three-season Pacific FC standout Bustos has 23 goals and 20 assists in 90 career CPL games, including one season with his hometown club Valour FC in Winnipeg, and has been capped six times for Canada.

That overall upside is not lost on TFC, which has already taken Lukas MacNaughton, now a Reds starter, and Kadin Chung from the 2021 CPL-champion PFC team and elevated them to MLS. Former Cavalry FC stars Joel Waterman of CF Montreal and Mo Farsi of Columbus Crew are other players who have moved up from the CPL to MLS.

“If not for the CPL, they would not have got that opportunity. The CPL is all about creating chances and giving Canadian talent opportunities to express themselves and reach the next level,” said Bustos.

“And with the World Cup ­coming here in 2026, and ­exposure that will come with that, the CPL could become a league that players want to stay in and not move.”

About his own MLS trial with TFC, Bustos said he couldn’t comment, other than to ­confirm he is in Toronto for a week ­training.

CORNER KICKS: Forge FC have reclaimed their spot at the head of the table. The Hamilton-based club has played in every CPL final in the four-year history of the league, winning the North Star Shield in 2019, 2020 and now 2022. A first-half goal from Alessandro Hojabrpour and a second-half marker from David Choiniere lifted Forge to a 2-0 win over Atletico Ottawa on Sunday in Ottawa.