Pacific Tops Forge, League Standings After Henry Howler Gives Visitors Deserved Win
A tap-in from substitute Djenairo Daniels did the damage for Pacific as they topped Forge 1-0 in Saturday’s Canadian Premier League night match. It also means that there is a new team atop the CPL standings.
For the first time in several weeks, Forge did not have a midweek match. That allowed coach Bobby Smyrniotis to maintain eight of the players who started last weekend’s 1-1 draw at Cavalry. Dominic Samuel, Alessando Hojabrpour, and Tristan Borges all came into the side.
As for Pacific, they came into Saturday night’s tilt off the back of a thrilling 6-3 success over fellow BC rivals Vancouver FC. Only two changes were made to the eleven, as Daniels and Sean Young made way for Easton Ongaro and Steffen Yeates.
As they often do, Forge had a glorious opportunity to take the lead early in the contest. Off a corner, Hammers captain Kyle Bekker played the ball in to an open Woobens Pacius. Yet, the striker failed to test Kieran Baskett, firing his shot well over the bar.
Minutes later, Forge was at it again. This time, Aboubacar Sissoko had a marauding run down the right wing, with his cross finding Bekker. Unfortunately for the skipper, his header did not have any power and was easily gathered by Baskett.
Pacific’s first chance of the game came in the 18th minute. Manjrekar James was caught on the ball in his defensive third, with Adonijah Reid dispossessing. The Pacific attacker drove into the box then fired a low shot which was saved by Triston Henry. The chance came out of the blue, yet the Tridents nearly found themselves in front.
With 10 minutes to go before the break, the visitors had another excellent opportunity. Reid’s corner was met by an open Amer Didic, whose header required an acrobatic stop from Henry to keep the score level. Had the center back put his header either side of Henry, he would have likely scored.
In the second half, Pacific looked the hungrier side. They created much more chances and could have easily scored on multiple occasion. The first of the efforts came at the hour mark, as substitute Ayman Sellouf found some space just inside of the box. His shot went just wide of Henry’s left post.
Moments later, Kunle Dada-Luke fired in a cross which was parried by Henry, but fell straight to Reid. Yet, the Pacific number ten failed to find the back of the net, blasting his shot over the bar. The same two combined moments later as Dada-Luke’s cross ended up going to Reid at the edge of the box. Again, his shot missed the target.
Henry was again called into action in the 74th minute. Sellouf got himself into the box, twisting and turning to afford himself some space. His shot forced Henry into another save, pushing the ball out for a corner.
Pacific had nearly triple the shots to Forge in the second half (14-3), putting on a lot of pressure on the Hammers. The pressure was mounting on the home side, and they would go down a goal with five minutes of normal time to play.
Manny Aparicio played a long ball down the field, which initially looked harmless. Daniels put pressure on Samuel as the latter headed it back to Henry. A weird bounce made Samuel’s header more difficult, ultimately giving Henry too much to do. As the Forge goalkeeper dropped the pass, with the ball falling to Daniels. It was an easy tap-in for the Pacific substitute as both Forge players were out of position.
Forge could not create any meaningful attack in the short time following Daniel’s goal. The match would end 1-0 in Pacific’s favour, and it would be hard not to justify the visitors collecting all three points.
The win means Pacific now leads the CPL with 18 points from nine games. They are now five games unbeaten in the league since their 1-0 reverse to Forge at Starlight Stadium at the end of April. James Merriman’s Tridents return home to host second place York United next Sunday. The Nine Stripes are also on a five-game unbeaten run, which will make that game all the more interesting.
As for Forge, who has now lost their second straight home game. It also means they have dropped to third as a result of the defeat. They are level on points with York, but their 905 rivals have one more win under their belt (5-4). Forge will be back at it on Friday as they make the trip to IG Field in Winnipeg to face Valour.
Header Image Photo Credit: Canadian Premier League