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Reinforcements arrive as Pacific FC visits Valour

CPL match goes Friday night in Winnipeg
Pacific FC and Valour FC will battle again Friday night, this time in Winnipeg. (ADRIAN LAM, TIMES COLONIST)

From club to country must eventually revert to country back to club. Reon Moore and Steffen Yeates will return to the Pacific FC lineup for today’s ­Canadian Premier League game in ­Winnipeg against Valour FC.

Moore scored in both Trinidad and Tobago’s CONCACAF 2026 World Cup qualifying games last week, a 2-2 draw against Grenada and 7-1 victory over the Bahamas. The explosive striker Moore has 10 goals in 28 appearances for Trinidad and Tobago. PFC teammate and fellow Soca Warriors’ World Cup qualifying call-up Yeates was a starter in the game against the Bahamas.

“We have had some adversity with injuries and missing players but we are excited to get back to health and welcome back players from international duty,” said PFC head coach James Merriman.

Cedric Toussaint and Adonijah Reid are rounding back from knocks but French-import Aly Ndom, who had been outstanding, is out for the season. Goalkeeper Sean Melvin will be out today after turning an ankle in the scoreless draw last weekend in Halifax against the Wanderers, assuring Emil Gazdov of the start today, with Daniel Zadravec called up as the reserve ’keeper.

“[PFC] is a team that’s steady,” Valour FC head coach Phil Dos Santos said in a statement.

“It’s interesting, and it’s credit to them on every occasion where they lose a player, they lose another one and it looks like things could fall apart, but they’ve always found a way of being cohesive and solid defensively. I think they’ve embraced that identity.”

Cards also have not helped PFC this season with Moore having recently completed a three-game suspension after receiving a straight red. PFC’s 20-year-old Colombian defender Juan Quintana will miss today’s game with a one-game suspension after receiving a red card as the result of two yellows in the last game in Halifax, the first for tossing the ball after a whistle.

Merriman said there have been some “cheap yellows” handed out this season “some I have agreed with, and some not.”

The Tridents gaffer added: “The officials have taken strong stances on certain things, such as touching the ball after whistles. It was a learning experience for [Quintana]. I didn’t say anything to him after the [HFX] match. He knows.”

Merriman, meanwhile, is wary, of today’s match-up, noting: “Valour FC has progressed.”

Not that it has been easy for Valour, having to play its first seven games on the road while new turf was being installed in Princess Auto Stadium, which is also home to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the CFL.

That almost certainly has had something to do with seventh-place Valour’s league record of two wins, six losses and a draw. But now with 14 of its final 21 games at home, Valour will be looking to make a push.

“We know they are home now and on a new pitch that we have yet to play on,” said Merriman, whose PFC club comes into the game with three wins, two losses and four draws in league play.

Not that the Tridents haven’t done well historically against the Manitoba club, whether at Princess Auto Stadium or Starlight Stadium, with PFC leading the all-time series against Valour FC 15-2-3 in wins-losses-draws. It is PFC’s best overall record against any team in the CPL.