With the playoff race raging and only three games remaining, there’s nothing left to save it for now. Pacific FC head coach James Merriman dismisses out of hand the fatigue factor ahead of Friday night’s Canadian Premier League game against FC Edmonton, the last regular-season home date at Starlight Stadium.
The Tridents waited four days to play the HFX Wanderers on Tuesday night, a 2-0 victory, in a game that was originally scheduled for last Saturday but pushed back due to post-tropical storm Fiona. Then came the 5,832-kilometre trip back to Victoria from what is the third-longest distance travelled in the world between soccer clubs in a top domestic league.
That left Thursday as the lone training day. “We know it’s a tight turnaround for this match. We have to be ready [for the Eddies Friday night]. Players have to accept it. We don’t have a choice,” said Merriman.
“It’s not about fatigue or travel. It’s about mentality and mind over matter and getting on with it. Everybody knows how important the game is for us. This is a big match and I know the guys will be up and ready.”
PFC (11-7-7) is three points ahead of fifth-place Valour FC of Winnipeg in the fourth and final playoff position. Valour FC holds the tiebreaker but PFC has one game in hand with three remaining. The Tridents are one point behind Forge FC of Hamilton and Cavalry FC of Calgary and have a game in hand on Cavalry.
PFC can clinch a playoff spot with a victory Friday night over FC Edmonton combined with a Valour FC loss or draw Sunday in Calgary against Cavalry FC. A Tridents-Eddies draw tonight will also be enough combined with a Valour FC loss in Calgary.
The Eddies (3-15-8 in wins-losses-draws) are in last place but are a feisty group and drew 1-1 in their last game against Forge FC.
“They are in every match and competitive in every game that they play, and we respect that, and know this is not a game we can take lightly,” said Merriman.
The winning goal Tuesday in Halifax came off the foot of Djenairo Daniels as his third tally of the season pinged off the far post at 45 minutes. That’s a good sign for the lanky Dutch import striker, said Merriman:
“Djenairo is frustrated any time he comes off the field without scoring. It will do a lot for his confidence. He is a player who wears his heart on his sleeve. He gives us a big presence defensively, as well.”
CORNER KICKS: PFC will be wrapping several events around Friday night’s game to commemorate Truth and Reconciliation Day.