Pacific FC’s first experience in the Concacaf League was an ultimately uneventful one, as they played out a 0-0 draw with Jamaican side Waterhouse FC on Tuesday night in Kingston, Jamaica. They’ll therefore return home for Leg 2 next week knowing a win would see them through safely to the next round.
Looking for a strong showing in his side’s first-ever foray into Concacaf competition, Pacific boss James Merriman made two changes to the XI that beat Cavalry FC last Friday, as captain Jamar Dixon returned to midfield and Gianni Dos Santos entered as an inside forward.
Both sides came out with gusto in the first half on a humid night in Kingston, as Pacific took the early initiative and made a few trips in the first 10 minutes into the Waterhouse box — to no avail, though. The hosts grew into the game from there and challenged Pacific with some very dangerous set-piece opportunities. They also managed to take advantage of a few Pacific mistakes to get behind their defence, but goalkeeper Callum Irving stood strong for his side to keep them level.
The visiting Canadian side went on to improve over the course of the first half and again went on the front foot for the last 15 minutes, but they too were continuously denied by the opposition and the sides went into halftime scoreless.
Coming out of the break, Pacific looked even more ambitious in attack. Alejandro Diaz had one early chance from the top of the box that troubled the Waterhouse keeper, and another Josh Heart effort just seconds later — around the 51st-minute mark — also found the target, but couldn’t beat the Kemar Foster.
Dos Santos had one of Pacific’s best chances of the early second half just before the hour mark, as his shot from well outside the box took a deflection that required Foster to make an excellent diving save to knock it over the bar.
With about 20 left to play, Merriman turned to his bench with a bold change. He removed tricky right winger Marco Bustos, opting instead to deploy Djenairo Daniels, looking to throw a different attacking dimension at the Jamaican side. Daniels helped add some more energy to Pacific’s attack, and they created a few more chances over the next 10 minutes, but still they couldn’t solve their opponents.
With the game winding down, Pacific opted to shore up their midfield for the final few minutes, as Merriman added Sean Young and Matthew Baldisimo to the mix while removing Diaz and Dixon.
They ultimately did their job as Waterhouse wouldn’t have another sniff at the Pacific goal, and the two sides had to settle for a 0-0 draw at Sabina Park. So, all is left to play for next week as they play the decisive second leg on Tuesday, April 2 at Pacific’s Starlight Stadium, where one of these teams will punch their ticket to the round of 16.