June 22, 2024
  • June 22, 2024
Pacific FC Ayman Sellouf Goal

Pacific Ousts Ottawa To Lock In CanChamp Semi-Final ‘Caps Clash

By on May 30, 2024 0 1046 Views

Vancouver Isle is two cup stages away from a national trophy after Pacific put on a show at home against Atletico Ottawa.

Trident Territory proved to be a recognized state following the club’s 2-1 win, a scoreline that flatters a largely flat performance from the visitors.

The result means that Pacific tees up a tantalizing semi-final match against the Vancouver Whitecaps, who they’ve met twice in previous iterations of the cup with one win and one loss.

Flashback: Pacific Offers Merch Swap Deal For Whitecaps Fans

The opening twenty minutes of the quarter-final’s second leg saw Pacific put on a passing clinic which helped the side produce the lion’s share of chances, calling Rayane Yesli into action multiple times.

The red-and-white visitors were then witness to a rough sight as captain Maxime Tissot was forced off after suffering what appeared to be a knee injury, echoing concerns of a long-term spell on the sidelines. Dani Morer would step on to replace him in the 23rd.

The Tridents came knocking again with Juan Quintana earning a corner off the mitts of Yesli, with the subsequent set piece scramble seeing the Colombian an architect once more. With his header blocked, the ball arrived to his feet for a quick shot, but Ruben Del Campo’s block resulted in a handball whistle from Pierre-Luc Lauziere.

Up stepped the cool and composed Ayman Sellouf, doing what he does to give the hosts a one-nil lead:

James Merriman’s didn’t lay off the gas after grabbing the lead – particularly with the threat of away goals in mind – with Sellouf loosing an out-of-the-box shot that pinged off the post. Fortunately for fans clad in purple, the ball bounced right back into the path of Tridents captain Josh Heard, and he made no mistake with it.

While Atletico Ottawa would register some shots before half-time, it’s safe to say Carlos Gonzalez was left with a lot to do in his half time team talk.

His side came out with a new formation featuring both Ruben Del Campo and Samuel Salter, though they still found themselves outmatched in intensity by the hosts.

Reon Moore – still suspended in league play – looked lively as the second half got underway, with a header flying just wide and, moments later, a pass from the Trinidad and Tobago international seeing Yeates force a fine stop from Yesli.

Atletico Ottawa were left thanking their lucky stars at Starlight after Ayman Sellouf missed an absolute sitter in the 53rd that would have put the match to bed after Heard laid out a perfectly flat cross for the forward just a few feet in front of the net.

Ayman must have overextended himself as he ran to get that ball, with the forward coming off right after as Zakaria Bahous stepped on against his former club.

Unbelievably, Josh Heard was able to break free in an identical run on the right flank and send in another perfect ball, but the resulting shot from Reon Moore would improbably stay out after smacking off the crossbar.

They would rue the misses after Ottleti snatched itself a lifeline with a half hour on the clock, with Samuel Salter bagging his first of the season:

There was a tangible shift to the match’s tempo once Salter’s shot went in, with the visitors growing more into the game afterwards.

Ottleti would produce a few half-chances and a last-gasp close range effort, but that wouldn’t be enough: Pacific would hold on for the 2-1 win over Atletico Ottawa in their third meeting of the month, with Merriman’s showing smart gamesmanship by taking the ball to the corner and killing precious minutes as the game came to a close.

The blast of the final whistle from Pierre-Luc Lauziere signalled celebrations from Pacific, who will march on to face reigning cup champion Vancouver Whitecaps in a two-legged semi-final.

“You could see it tonight, we were angry and we were hungry,” reflected Josh Heard, who saw his side fall to Ottawa in league play two weeks ago. Now, he gets to look forward to a match MLS opposition after getting his just desserts against the nation’s capital tonight.

“I’m hoping we get a good game here like we had in ’21,” he added about the ‘Caps clash. “They’re a solid team and we respect them. I’m excited for the occasion, it’s great for soccer in BC as well.”

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If the Tridents can prevail there, they’d book a ticket to their first-ever Canadian Championship Final, which would be against either Toronto FC or Forge FC.

Header Image Photo Credit: Sheldon Mack / Pacific FC

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