Langford-based Pacific FC lost 1-0 on the road against Valour FC in Winnipeg Sunday (Aug. 28.) in capping off a tough extended road trip for the Tridents.
The loss is a gut punch after the Islanders had suffered heartbreak in Costa Rica on Tuesday (Aug. 23) against C.S. Herediano in CONCACAF League action.
With the win, Valour has tightened the gap between them and Pacific to just five points. PFC currently sits in fourth place on 35 points but has seven games left — one more than league leader Atletico with 39 points. PFC needs to finish in at least fourth to ensure a playoff berth.
PFC struggled to get anything going in Winnipeg, with zero shots on target during the game. PFC came under pressure from Valour, particularly from set-pieces. The only goal of the game came from a corner that PFC failed to clear, the ball bouncing off Amer Didic and landing at the feet of Rocco Romeo, who slammed it home.
Romeo nearly had a second from a corner a few minutes later after PFC goalkeeper Callum Irving had parried his header back into the Valour defender’s path. But Irving saved well from the rebound.
Head coach James Merriman said the team looked tired after a tough week of cross-continental travel, which he said caught up with them slightly.
“We looked tired and fatigued, we tried to change it at half-time but it didn’t,” Merriman said after the game.
New striker Jordan Brown did make his debut but got subbed off midway through the second half. Merriman said it was hard for Brown to get involved with the disjointed performance PFC put on display.
Irving said the team couldn’t use travel as an excuse, with long journeys common in the Canadian Premier League, adding the team was proud to have competed in CONCACAF League even with the extra strain that it had put on players. But the loss was tough to take.
“We’re pissed to lose, but in the dressing room I didn’t see any of the boys dropping their heads,” he said during the post-match press conference.
Irving added the team had to adapt multiple times with red cards in back-to-back games against Halifax and C.S. Herediano, but the group had shown a lot of character, particularly in the Herediano game.
PFC return to Starlight Stadium on Sept. 3 against York United for the first of a three-game home stretch.