LIVE BLOG: Pacific Hosts TSS Rovers in Can Champ Action
Northern Tribune’s League1 Canada Correspondent Nelson Mahmoudi will be updating this page live during tonight’s match between the Canadian Premier League’s Pacific FC and League1 BC’s TSS Rovers.
FULL TIME – The referee blows her whistle and that marks the end to the historic campaign in the 2023 Voyageurs Cup! James Merriman’s Pacific FC will be moving on to the semi-finals to take on the Vancouver Whitecaps in two-weeks time!
90′ – The Fourth Official signals for 4 minutes of added time.
81′ – Pacific Substitution
➡️ #4 Paul Amedume
⬅️ #34 Manny Aparicio
88′ – ⚽️⚽️🔱 PACIFIC GOAL!!
Adonijah Reid finished a beautiful volley off a cross from Brazão to all but end the Rovers’ dream of carrying on in this national championship!
85′ – TSS Rovers Substitution:
➡️ #20 Taylor Richardson
⬅️ #24 Niko Papakyriakopoulos
82′ – Pacific Yellow 🟨 Card
81′ – Pacific Substitution
➡️ #14 David Brazão
⬅️ #11 Josh Heard
75′ – TSS continue to play incredibly defensively in face of better passes by the Pacific attackers. If they are to equal up the score, they will need to get more aggressive on the ball. At this point, seeing as they are already down, they don’t have much more to lose.
67′ – Erik Edwardson nearly evens out the score with a beautiful curve from outside the 18-yard box that just barely goes wide of the Pacific net.
66′ – ⚽️🔱 PACIFIC GOAL!!
Josh Heard converts from the spot! Will Cromack’s men from Burnaby have less than 30 minutes left to get back into this.
65′ – PACIFIC PENALTY!
Captain Josh Heard is taken down at the inside edge of the penalty area by Gabriel Escobar. The Rovers defender claims that he didn’t touch Heard but the official is having none of it.
63′ – Pacific Double Substitution
➡️ #9 Easton Ongaro, #5 Bradley Vliet
⬅️ #10 Adonijah Reid, #2 Georges Mukumbilwa
59′ – TSS Rovers Substitution:
➡️ #3 Gabriel Escobar
⬅️ #8 Ivan Meija
With this substation, it is clear the Will Cromack is looking at a more defensive lineup. Even more, the majority of his team are playing in the back third of the pitch.
47′ – I honestly think he is just showing off at this point. TSS keeper Justyn Sandhu pulls a nifty move with a quick 180 turn against an incoming Easton Ongaro. OneSoccer’s Terry Dunfield dubbed this the ‘Reverse Cruyff’ and I can’t argue with that name.
46′ – And here we go in half #2!
Halftime – Some thoughts at the half on the performances by both Pacific and TSS Rovers.
-Pacific needs to improve their crosses. Far too many balls into the box either end up at the feet of a Rovers defender or roll away from their intended target(s). They were limited to two shots, 0 on target.
-The Tridents have a huge advantage over their Rovers opponents and that is in experience. The home side haven’t taken advantage of this discrepancy as much as they probably should. Use your knowledge of the game and pro minutes to test the resilience of the D3 visitors.
-Pacific are doing good with their passes. Their 63% possession and quick passes between their midfielders and attackers are leaving the Rovers defence spinning in circles.
-The Rovers are not allowing their semi-pro status define their style of play. They are proving themselves and any casual onlooker would have a hard time guessing that these two teams are not at the same level (on paper).
-They are making easy work of the through balls and are repeatedly finding holes in the Pacific d-line, creating chances – albeit with no payoff.
-If the Rovers want to avoid a penalty shootout like we saw between Forge and Atletico on Tuesday, they will need to up the aggression. They have been playing relatively defensively (safe for a few pushes) and thus will need to take some risks if they are to take the lead.
45′ +8 – We are scoreless at halftime as the referee blows her whistle to signal for the break.
45′ +3 – Kunle Dada-Luke crosses the ball into the Rovers goal area to the feet of Captain Josh Heard. After some bouncing back and forth between bodies, Heard appeals for a handball to no avail and the official lets play go on.
45′ – The Fourth Official signals for 8 minutes of added time.
43′ – An error by Baskett leaves the ball the to the feet of Matteo Polisi. A quick tap in sends the ball into the net… but Assistant Referee Michael Hood signals for a corner claiming the ball had left the pitch off of Baskett’s hands prior to Polisi’s tap in.
30′ – EMS entered the pitch with a stretcher but were ushered away as the Rovers medical team have bandaged up MacMillan’s head. Didic was also left with a nasty welt over his eye from the challenge and is simultaneously being checked out by PFC staff.
25′ – YIKES! After an Ariel duel between MacMillan and Amer Didic, play is stop as the challenge leaves MacMillan with a massive gash on his head. Club trainers are trying to stop the bleeding as to not go down a man or use a sub too early.
21′ – Down goes Connor MacMillan. After a check-up with the Rovers trainer, he walks off the pitch for a final evaluation.
He returns less than a minute later.
16′ – Edwardson takes down Sellouf along the sideline, leaving TSS exposed to a dangerous Pacific set piece. Ultimately, the Rovers were able to clear it out of their penalty area after the cross in.
5′ – Erik Edwardson takes a powerful strike from 25 yards out and it seems that the sun got in the eyes of 🔱 keeper Kieran Baskett as he isn’t able to get his hands on the ball and it goes over the crossbar for a Pirates corner.
4′ – In these first four minutes, it is clear that TSS know they deserve to be in this position. They are playing with a very balanced system have had only one or two minor errors while also having been able to break the Pacific back line a few times already. Their pass completion is also very good so far.
If they can keep this up, they will give Pacific a run for their money…
1′ 🕐 – And we are off here at Starlight!
7:32pm EST – TSS Rovers don their classic Black stripped kits in front of the Langford crowd, one which includes over 100 Swanguardians who made the trip to Van Isle.
Pacific will be playing in their clean ice blue alternate kits, ones which I truly believe are some of the nicest alternates kits in the CanPL.
7pm EST – TSS Rovers have announced their starting eleven, 30 minutes before kickoff.
After 1-nil defeat to the Victoria Highlanders on Sunday in L1BC action, Coach Cromack makes only two changes to his lineup in the lead up to tonight’s match.
The aforementioned Edwardson and Pirates captain Polisi get the start alongside former York9/York United defender Fugo Segawa, who replaces Tyler Dhillon from Sunday. Also getting the start is Kyle Jones who takes off Grant Verhoeven.
6:30pm EST – Pacific have revealed their Starting XI for the match tonight!
James Merriman has made four changes to his starting lineup from the weekend when they handily beat Atletico Ottawa 4-1 in the nation’s capital.
Kieran Baskett gets the start for the Tridents, giving Emil Gazdov a rest after a masterful performance in his last outing. Steffen Yeats, Bradley Vliet, and Easton Ongaro all get the call up as well. Ongaro has been a strong sub for Pacific this season and now gets his chance to shine once again on a CanPL starting XI.
6:15pm EST – You honestly must give a lot of credit to both the Pacific and Rovers organizations for tonight’s match-up. After having shed some light on the realities of a semi-pro club having to cover the expenses of the visiting club during the Voyageurs Cup – something TSS had to do when the took on Valour and that proved to be very costly for them – to the attention of Canadian footy fans, they partnered with Pacific to provide a special ticket for Rovers fans.
A reasonably-priced $21 ticket to tonight’s game at Starlight Stadium made attendance affordable while also sending $5 from every ticket back to the Rovers to support their franchise!
What a beautiful way to grow the game in Canada! No matter who walks away the victor tonight, this game has already been a major win for the Canadian scene as a whole.
4pm EST – Let’s break down what this games means to each of these clubs.
For the Rovers, this game represents a time to further cement their club in Canadian soccer history. They already made history as the first semi-pro/League1 Canada club to make it out of the first round of the Voyageurs Cup and are hoping to continue this journey against a Pacific squad that has only one loss in their 2023 league campaign. Coach Will Cromack also is aware of his clubs disappointing showings so far during their L1BC play this season as they currently sit in last place with an 0W-1L-1D record.
For the hosts, Pacific FC, this game should be routine. Head Coach James Merriman knows not to underestimate his Burnaby opponents, and he has said that himself. In an interview with canpl.ca he said himself “It’s a special night for the game in BC, so full credit to TSS for what they’ve built, and I think you got two organizations that are both in it for the right reasons, 100%.”
The general sentiment for these cup games – especially for matches against lower-tier competition – is that you rest your main squad and play your reserves. I am sure though that Merriman will not make this mistake against a Rovers squad that boasts the likes of former CPLers Matteo Polisi, Fugo Segawa, and Gabriel Escobar and their L1BC 2022 Golden Boot winner Erik Edwardson.
3:30pm EST – The Swanguardians are on their way to Starlight!