Pacific Opens Title Defense With Win Over Forge
Reigning Canadian Premier League champion Pacific FC set a golden standard for itself after securing a 2-1 home opener over last year’s runners-up Forge FC.
Goals from Alejandro Diaz and Amer Didic saw Pacific FC soundly defeat the visitors in front of a boisterous home crowd that also enjoyed the debut of a phenomenal alternate kit designed by Coast Salish artist Maynard Johnny Jr:
It took just five minutes for the reigning champions to set the tone, with Mexican forward Alejandro Diaz firing home the go-ahead goal after a nice run from Josh Heard saw the forward unmarked in the box:
It was a tough start for 19-year-old Forge goalkeeper Christoper Kalongo, and the pressure kept mounting with Diaz nearly netting a brace for himself just a few minutes later. Things went from bad to worse for the hammers not long after when Ashtone Morgan went down in the 17th minute, meaning another 19-year-old youngster, Kwasi Poku, had to come in.
Pacific-turned-Forge midfielder Alessandro Hojabrpour nearly leveled things in the 38th minute, firing a shot that went just high of the crossbar.
The home side would wrap up the first half with a freekick just outside the box after Poku brought down a charging Dada-Luke with a late challenge, with Marco Bustos firing in a deliciously curving ball that forced Kalongo into the best save of his young career thus far:
Forge came out with renewed vigor in the second half, starting off on the front foot with Kyle Bekker sending a blistering freekick just high and tempers flaring off not long after.
The reigning champions would respond to the pressure with another crushing blow in the 57th minute, with a Marco Bustos freekick from the right flank curling in to meet a towering header from six-foot-four defender Amer Didic:
The second half saw hope of a comeback slip steadily away from Forge, with Hojabrpour sending another header wide before being taken off and Victoria local Sean Young forcing the hammers into a goal-line clearance.
The hammers would bag one back in the final minute of regular time, with Forge making good on its final set piece with a great twisting header from Alexander Achinioti-Jonsson:
By the time of the final whistle, it was a dominant display from Pacific that showed why the Tridents led the league in goals scored last season. For Forge, it was a tough reminder that nothing in the league will come easy – not that they thought it would.
Pacific FC will now march on to the second game of a three-match homestand that will see them host Valour FC next week, while Forge FC will return home for a match against another rival in Cavalry FC.