HIGHLIGHTS: Pacific FC vs. Vancouver FC (September 30, 2023) | Presented by tonybet
Vancouver FC remained red-hot on Saturday, as they claimed another Salish Sea Derby win over Pacific FC for their third straight victory in Canadian Premier League action.
Also their fourth win in their last five games, Vancouver remained one of the hottest teams in the CPL with this result, as they continue to find their feet despite recently being eliminated from playoff contention.
As for Pacific, it was more frustration, as they’ve now won just one of their last five games. It hasn’t affected their playoff hopes, as they’ve already clinched a berth in the postseason, but that has had a big impact on their placement in the table, as they missed out on a chance to climb to second with a win.
Both teams would get off to a lively start to this game, fuelled by the energy of a derby match. Through that, the guests would find the first chance of the game in the 11th minute, as Mikaël Cantave stung the palms of Pacific’s Emil Gazdov in goal from a tight angle.
At the other end, Pacific nearly went out and opened the scoring on the ensuing counter-attack, as Kekuta Manneh found Steffan Yeates with an inch-perfect cross, but Yeates’s powerful low header would be palmed away by Callum Irving in the Vancouver goal.
Not long after that, Bradley Vliet had another good chance for Pacific in the 14th minute, as he put his right boot through the ball from distance, forcing another nice save out of Irving. Then, on the ensuing corner, Manneh whipped in another fantastic ball, finding the head of Djenairo Daniels on the edge of the six, but his powerful header would also be kept out by Irving.
Yet, having done well to withstand that wave of Pacific pressure, Vancouver would open the scoring in the 28th minute. After forcing a turnover high up the pitch, the ball fell to Kadin Chung, who found Gabriel Bitar with a slicing through ball.
From there, Bitar would do well to settle down the ball and strike it, sending in a dangerous low shot that would bounce in off Amer Didić for Bitar’s sixth goal of the season, tying him for the team lead in that category.
Vancouver wouldn’t be done there, either, as they then doubled their lead in the 35th minute. After carving through Pacific’s midfield, the ball found Bitar in a dangerous area, where he’d pick out Vasco Fry with a simple pass.
A pass Fry would do well to receive in stride, he’d then take the ball into the box and strike it on his left, picking out the bottom right corner with a perfect strike before striding off in celebration.
Continuing their strong stretch of play, Vancouver almost added a third in the 39th minute, as Fry found centre back Rocco Romeo with a perfect cross off a set-piece, but Romeo would send his shot wide from the penalty spot despite finding himself unmarked.
Then, Vancouver once again came close to that third with another shot in the 44th minute, after they caught Pacific in possession high up the pitch, but Alejandro Díaz’s outside-of-the-box shot would be easily caught by Gazdov to keep things 2-0.
On the other of half time, Pacific came out strong, as they looked to put their frustrating end to the half behind them. As a result, they’d fashion up a good chance in the 50th minute, as Easton Ongaro snuck onto the end of a nice David Brazão through ball, but he’d slash his shot wide.
Just two minutes later, however, Ongaro would do well to convert the next chance that came his way. This time, it’d be Vliet who’d provide the service, doing so off a wide set piece, as he’d put a dime onto the head of Ongaro, who did the rest from there to cut Vancouver’s lead to 2-1.
Eager to grab an equalizer, Pacific continued to push, too. After withstanding a small flurry of Vancouver half-chances, Pacific had a premium opportunity in the 62nd minute, as Ayman Sellouf managed to break free in transition, but his breakaway attempt would be nicely saved by the leg of Callum Irving from in-tight.
Having emerged from that Pacific flurry with their lead still intact, Vancouver nearly put an end to Pacific’s comeback hopes in the 76th minute, as Díaz nearly caught Gazdov out with a chipped shot from outside of the box, but despite having the Pacific goalkeeper beat, his shot would narrowly land on the top of the net.
Eager to still claw something back, Pacific found another glorious opportunity in the 82nd minute. After a perfect corner from Vliet, Ongaro nearly added his brace with a powerful header, but he’d be denied by the strong hands of Irving.
Not long after that, Pacific had another great look at goal in the 84th minute, as Yeates struck the post from a tight angle on the second phase of another set-piece, before Sean Young blasted the rebound over the crossbar from in-close, much to the agony of the home crowd.
Keeping up the momentum, Young had an even better chance to score in the 87th minute, as he managed to line up a perfect strike from the edge of the box, but despite firing a seemingly goalbound shot into the top corner, Irving would deny him with a phenomenal diving stop.
Still keeping up the pressure as the game reached added time, Amer Didić then had a powerful volley blocked in the 92nd minute, but other than a failed Abdul Binaté free kick just minutes later, that’d be all that they’d muster up in their push for a draw.
With that, it allowed Vancouver to claim their first-ever win on the Island, while also ensuring that the season series between these two teams would finish level with two wins apiece, two big milestones for the expansion club.
28′ — Gabriel Bitar (Vancouver FC)
35′ — Vasco Fry (Vancouver FC)
53′ — Easton Ongaro (Pacific FC)
26′ — Yellow: Bradley Vliet (Pacific FC)
33′ — Yellow: Mikaël Cantave (Vancouver FC)
38′ — Yellow: Djenairo Daniels (Pacific FC)
54′ — Yellow: Elliot Simmons (Vancouver FC)
65′ — Yellow: Kekuta Manneh (Pacific FC)