PACIFIC FC 3
VALOUR FC 2
It’s an oldie but a goodie as far as adages go: “Home is where the heart is,” said Pacific FC head coach Pa-Modou Kah.
It certainly was on Saturday afternoon as PFC returned from a five-game road swing, which concluded with two consecutive losses, to defeat Valour FC of Winnipeg 3-2 before a lively crowd of 3,214 at Starlight Stadium.
“This is a very resilient group and being at home is special,” said Kah.
PFC captain Jamar Dixon echoed those thoughts.
“That was a lot of travel and took a lot out of us,” said the Canada-capped veteran midfielder.
“So this was much needed. The fans are our 12th man. Those last two road losses were tough. But we regrouped. It was very positive today and we fed off each other.”
PFC (12-6-6 in the Canadian Premier League and 14-6-6 overall including Canadian Championship play) leapfrogged back into top spot in the CPL table in the tight battle against Cavalry FC of Calgary and Forge FC of Hamilton for first place and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
On nine minutes, the Tridents’ worked the ball to Josh Heard on the left of the Valour box. The Victoria product, taken by the Vancouver Whitecaps in the MLS draft out of the Pac-12 University of Washington Huskies, made no mistake with his shot to open the scoring.
Valour FC (8-12-4) scored in the 15th minute on a strange goal attributed to Daryl Fordyce that barely crossed the line. The Tridents struck back with a splendid bar-down strike by Terran Campbell off a pass from former Mexico Under-20 and U-23 international Alejandro Diaz.
Campbell scored again at 49 minutes to make it 3-1. The goal came off a sly feed from Diaz, who took a long pass into the box from Dixon and back-shouldered it to Campbell who scored his ninth goal of the season in league play and 11th overall including Canadian Championship.
“That’s no fluke,” Dixon said of Diaz’s inventive assist. “He is very technical. We see that magic every day in training.”
Kah concurred: “[Diaz] has such a high level of intelligence and class.”
Valour FC nicked one back with a William Akio goal at 59 minutes just inside the post to the lower left corner. But Campbell’s second goal and PFC’s trey, off the clever Diaz assist, loomed large.
“That third Pacific goal made it difficult,” said Valour FC head coach Phillip Dos Santos.
“It was a fair result. Pacific deserved to win. Pacific is successful because of its intensity in getting behind the opposition.”
CORNER KICKS: Crafty PFC midfielder Marco Bustos, out with injury since Aug. 16, returned at 76 minutes to an ovation.