Pacific FC on the road to success

Pacific FC and Valour FC both hit encouraging notes in their respective previous games. The question is: Can it lead to sustained melodies?

The teams will find out tonight when they meet in a Canadian Premier League fixture at Investors Group Field in Winnipeg.

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Not only did PFC (1-3 in fall and 3-5-2 in spring) beat the HFX Wanderers of Halifax 3-1 at Westhills Stadium in its last game, but that was 12 days ago, giving the injury-hit club a breather at an opportune time.

“The result against Halifax gave us something to build on while the break that followed allowed us to get fresher,” said PFC head coach Michael Silberbauer.

Valour FC (0-1-2 in fall and 3-7 in spring), meanwhile, stole a point against CPL spring-league champion Cavalry FC with a 1-1 draw on a goal in injury time Saturday in Calgary. What made that tie all the more impressive is that Cavalry was coming off its eye-opening victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps of Major League Soccer in the third round of the Canadian Championship tournament.

Valour FC hasn’t won in seven league games. But two of the Manitoba club’s three league victories on the season have come in 2-1 results against PFC, the first May 1 at Westhills Stadium and the second June 20 in Winnipeg.

The one thing Silberbauer noted in the latter game was the field size at IG Field, which is also home to the Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League.

“The pitch in Winnipeg is huge,” said the PFC bench boss. “We are going to have to cover a lot of area and play together defensively.”

That he would even notice that is something. After all, Silberbauer is a former player who has seen a lot of world class pro pitches in Europe in the Dutch top-level Eredivisie and in playing 25 international matches for his native Denmark, including at Euro 2012.

There is no standard pitch size in soccer. All that FIFA mandates is that the field be between 90 to 120 metres in length and from 45 to 90 metres in width.

Going the other way, the larger IG Field pitch also gives PFC’s dangerous striking pair of Terran Campbell and Victor Blasco more room to roam and create. Campbell has a CPL co-leading seven goals and Blasco is tied for third in the league with five goals.

“We are producing chances on offence,” acknowledged Silberbauer.

“We have come up with ideas up front.”

And that’s been without 27-time Canada-capped former Scottish Premiership striker Marcus Haber for much of the season, who remains injured and did not make the trip to Manitoba.

Jumping into the striking breach have been the undersized former Whitecaps-prospect Blasco, who is a darting player across the pitch, and the muscular 20-year-old Campbell, who is more of a power forward.

“Terran Campbell is learning to use that body of his. He has a physique advantage and is putting that into use,” said Silberbauer.

It’s at the other end of the pitch, however, where most of PFC’s woes have been evident after former Bundesliga pro and 56-time Canada-capped defender Marcel de Jong went down in training camp with a season-ending injury.

“We need to balance our defence and offence a bit more. We need to do a better job of it on defence,” admitted Silberbauer.

Tonight is the first of three consecutive road games for PFC, continuing Aug. 10 at Clarke Stadium against FC Edmonton and Aug. 17 in Toronto against York9. Pacific FC returns Aug. 24 to meet Valour, with Langford hosting its official opening ceremony, for what is scheduled on that date to be an upgrade-completed Westhills Stadium.

cdheensaw@timescolonist.com

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