LANGFORD – It was a rematch of the 2021 CPL Final at Starlight Stadium to kick things off for the 2022 season, and Pacific FC once again got the better of Forge in a 2-1 win, riding two early goals to survive a late push from the visitors.
Pacific would get proceedings started nearly immediately, giving their home crowd plenty to cheer about just 5 minutes into the match. After a nice run down the flank, Josh Heard did well to cut the ball back from the byline, where he’d find an onrushing Alejandro Diaz, who’d slot home coolly on the first touch to give his team the lead.
Shortly after, Diaz nearly added a second in the 8th minute, as Manny Aparicio teed him up inside the box after forcing a turnover high up the pitch, but the Pacific no. 9 would be denied by a strong stop from Christopher Kalongo, himself making his first professional start in Forge’s goal.
From there, Forge would grow into the game, finding a few chances of their own.
First, Kyle Bekker came close to scoring from a dangerous free-kick in the 19th minute, before Alessandro Hojabrpour glanced a dangerous cross over the bar a few minutes later, denying him a chance to score against his former side. Then, right before halftime, Terran Campbell came close to scoring against his old team, sending a powerful shot just over the mark.
Pacific would nearly double their lead right at the stroke of halftime, as Marco Bustos whipped in a dangerous free-kick from right at the edge of the box telegraphed for the top right corner of the goal, if not for a flying stop by Kalongo.
On the other side of halftime, Forge would start the new half the same way Pacific ended the first one – with a dangerous free-kick at the edge of the box, one that Bekker would step up to take, but send just over the mark.
And having survived that scare, that’d pave the way for Pacific to double their lead in the 56th minute. On a dangerous set-piece out wide, Bustos would step up to float one towards the back post, where he’d meet the head of a leaping Amer Didic, who’d nod home for his first goal with Pacific, in just his first game for the new club after joining from FC Edmonton this offseason.
They wouldn’t be done there, either. In the 71st minute, second-half sub, Sean Young, nearly scored a cheeky chip, one that would be only cleared by a big goal-line clearance from Kwasi Poku.
But then, Forge would get a late lifeline, making for a tense end to the game. Off of a corner in the 89th minute, Bekker whipped in a strong curled header, one that would find the head of a running Alexander Achinioti-Jonsson, who would nod the ball past Irving to put his team back into the game late on.
It’d prove to be too little, too late, however, as Pacific would then hold on for all 3 points, giving their home fans plenty to cheer about afterwards.
5’ – Alejandro Diaz (Pacific FC)
56’ – Amer Didic (Pacific FC)
89′ – Alexander Achinioti-Jonsson (Forge FC)
43’ – Yellow: Kwasi Poku (Forge FC)
48’ – Yellow: Thomas Meilleur-Giguère (Pacific FC)
67’ – Yellow: Nathan Mavila (Pacific FC)
80’ – Yellow: Djenairo Daniels (Pacific FC)
88′ – Yellow: Abdou Samake (Pacific FC)