PACIFIC FC 6 - WATERHOUSE FC 0
Pacific FC is starting to like this CONCACAF League thing.
So are Island soccer fans.
And now they’re both going to see a little more of it.
A raucus crowd of 4,506 at Starlight Stadium watched Alejandro Diaz strike early and often for the home side and help Pacific FC to a 6-0 second-leg victory over Jamaican side Waterhouse FC.
The win, after a scoreless draw last week in the first leg in Kingston, propels PFC into the CONCACAF League Round of 16 against Costa Rican champion Herediano FC.
“It was an incredible night for the team and the community. I’m proud of the way the guys came out and used the energy of the crowd to get them going and have a strong night,” said Pacific FC head coach James Merriman.
Diaz, the fleet footed midfielder/striker who was fresh off scoring twice in a league win by Pacific FC against Valour FC in Winnipeg on Saturday, sprinted in for an easy tap-in just 13 minutes in after a sharp cross into the box from Gianni dos Santos. It was of the first of three goals on the night for Diaz.
As PFC continued to attack the flanks with dos Santos and the speedy Olakunle Dada-Luke, the Waterhouse defenders faded and the pressure paid off for PFC when Marco Bustos got his head on one just three yards out after nifty cross from striker Josh Heard.
The teams went to the halftime break with Pacific FC leading 2-0 and they didn’t let up in the second half. Heard tallied twice in the final 45 minutes and Diaz finished his strong night with two more.
“We knew 2-nil was still a dangerous score with away goals counting more so we didn’t want to let up,” Merriman said.
“And the guys were ruthless in the second half and that’s what you want to see in these types of competitions.”
The CONCACAF League Roundof 16 goes Aug. 16-18 for the first legs and Aug. 23-25 for the second legs. The quarter-finals are Sept. 6-8 for the first legs and Sept. 13-15 for the second legs. The semifinals are Oct. 4-6 and Oct. 11-13. The finals are Oct. 25-27 and Nov. 1-3.
Herediano is currently 3-0 and in first place in the Costa Rican Primera Division and finished runner-up in the league last season.
PFC qualified for play in the CONCACAF League this year by winning the Canadian Premier League championship last year.
Waterhouse won the Jamaican National Premier League regular-season title only to underperform recently in the playoffs. Waterhouse FC finished first in the regular season at 15-3-4 in wins-losses-draws and received a quarter-final bye before being upset by sixth-seed and eventual upstart-champion Harbour View 2-1 on aggregate in a two-legged playoff semifinal series.
The current Waterhouse roster boasts a combined 48 caps for the Jamaican national team. Former English League 1 Preston North End midfielder Keammar Daley has 27 caps and two goals internationally, while forward Tremaine Stewart has 11 caps and two goals for Jamaica.
Six teams — the semifinalists and top-two quarter-finalists — will advance to the 22-team 2023 CONCACAF Champions League featuring the big-league clubs of the region.
Pacific FC now gets a break before its next league game which comes Aug. 13 when they host Atletico Ottawa at Starlight Stadium.
PFC is on a four-game unbeaten streak and holds down second place in the CPL standings at 9-4-5 (wins-losses-draws).