Roller-coaster game a tie for Pacific FC, York9

PACIFIC FC 2

YORK9 2

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It was the best of times in the first half, and the worst of times in the second half, on a Dickensian Saturday afternoon for Pacific FC.

A tale of two halves concluded in a 2-2 Canadian Premier League draw at Westhills Stadium.

Pacific FC ended its three-game scoring drought in the first 45 minutes. Unfortunately for the home side, a soccer game includes two halves.

York9 from the Greater Toronto Area rallied from a 2-0 opening-half deficit to tie PFC before 2,661 fans.

“It was a roller-coaster game,” said PFC striker Marcus Haber.

The 27-time Canada-capped European leagues veteran scored his first goal of the season by heading home a Ben Fisk corner kick at 28 minutes.

“Our first half was excellent. All credit to York in the second half. They put pressure on us, especially in the set pieces. It was exciting for the fans, I guess.”

Fisk launched a cracker of a shot from well outside the box that appeared to be slightly tipped before finding the top corner at 41 minutes.

“We are disappointed we couldn’t hold on to win,” said Fisk, who represented Canada in U-20 and U-23, with two senior national-team caps.

Indeed, a road side that rallies from 2-0 down in the second half has to feel better about a draw than a home team that blows a two-goal half-time lead.

“Our message at half time was to keep a clean sheet in the second half and get out with three points,” said Fisk.

“But we needed to be better defending their set pieces.”

Chilean-import Rodrigo Gattas of York9, who hit the post at 26 minutes, finally connected on a penalty kick at 53 minutes on a foul in the box called on PFC off a York9 corner kick.

“I didn’t agree with the call, but that’s football,” said Fisk, who played in the Europa Cup last season with Derry City of Ireland.

PFC head coach Michael Silberbauer concurred: “I’m not sure of that call. Suddenly, it’s 2-1. Anything can happen in football.”

A PFC own goal, headed into the net by Ryan McCurdy from yet another York9 corner kick, levelled the score at 58 minutes.

Silberbauer is becoming known for his loyalty to his players and wasn’t about to toss anybody under the metaphorical bus.

“Our two centre backs [McCurdy and former MLS Montreal impact defender Blake Smith] were excellent,” said Silberbauer.

“All the boys put in a really good effort. I felt we created a lot of chances.”

PFC is 1-2-2 in league and 0-1 in Cup play. Winless York9 — so named because of the nine municipalities within York Region — is 0-1-2 in league and 0-0-1 in Cup play. Both teams are now extreme longshots in the CPL first-half race, which is only 10 games for each team, compared with the 18-game chase for the second-half championship.

Former MLS Toronto FC-signed Manny Aparicio of York9 — who has played 36 games for Canada at the U-18, U-20 and U-23 levels — matched PFC’s Fisk as a buzzing bee causing havoc among the opposition in the middle of the field. The battle between the two midfielders came to a head — quite literally — when Aparicio was yellow-carded when his cleat clipped Fisk’s head on a high-kick attempt.

CORNER KICKS: Among the CPLs inaugural-season learning curves apparently involves scheduling. Saturday was PFC’s last home game for more than a month. PFC next plays at Westhills Stadium on June 23 against FC Edmonton. That will be after four road games — three league and one Cup.

cdheensaw@timescolonist.com

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