A fantastic Pacific FC road performance against the HFX Wanderers FC means they will advance in the Canadian Premier League playoffs. Kekuta Manneh should be given a lot of credit for the win as his speed was the reason why Halifax committed an own goal, in what was the first-ever home playoff game for the HFX Wanderers FC.
A Fantastic Pacific FC Road Performance at the Wanderers Grounds
Full Game Summary:#ForTheIsle’s defence and goalkeeping played a big role in the win.
— Last Word on Soccer (@LastWordSC) October 14, 2023
HFX Wanderers FC Hit the Post A Few Times
The HFX Wanderers FC hit the post a few times against Pacific FC. Some examples include:
- Tiago Coimbra’s header hit the post.
- Wesley Timoteo shot just from outside the box hit the post.
- Zachary Fernandez had another chance late as his shot also hit the post.
The game really opened up for both teams in the latter stages of the second half. For Halifax, the scoring chances really opened up, with most of their best scoring chances happening late in the second half. Credit should also be given to Langford, who made some key defensive and goalkeeping plays to preserve the win.
Pacific FC’s Defence and Goalkeeping Stepped Up
Emil Gazdov made some really fantastic saves in Saturday’s contest against the HFX Wanderers FC. He had to be sharp, as he made three saves and Halifax had most of the possession. One example was off following a Halifax corner, where he made an acrobatic save in order to keep Pacific’s lead. Some examples include:
- Thomas Meilleur-Giguère made a diving and goal-saving block to prevent Halifax from getting a sure goal.
- Lorenzo Callegari shot was blocked in the sixth-minute.
Also, in the initial stages of the game, Halifax looked to struggle to break down Langford and their 4-4-2 formation. The four at the back deserve a lot of credit as Langford was prepared and cleared the ball and did not allow Halifax many scoring chances for most of the game. Of course, at the end, Halifax made a big push to score, but it was just enough for Langford to eliminate the HFX Wanderers FC from the playoffs.
Kekuta Manneh Has Really Been Clinical for Pacific FC
37’ The road team opens the scoring! It is an own goal by #TogetherfromAways’ Zachary Fernandez, but it was an own goal created by #ForTheIsle’s Kekuta Manneh! #OneSoccer#HFXvPAC | 0-1 | #CanPLPlayoffs pic.twitter.com/71e2uNPaVb
— Last Word on Soccer (@LastWordSC) October 14, 2023
Kekuta Manneh has stepped up big time come playoff time. He assisted in the late stoppage goal against York United FC, and his speed and agility caused the own goal committed by Fernandez. Yes, maybe Halifax should have done better, especially with maybe the goalkeeper’s positioning.
This is what Pacific FC head coach, James Merriman, said about Manneh stepping for Langford this year in the CPL playoffs (source: Mitchell Tierney, Digital Content Producer):
“You see his experience, you see his pedigree, you see his quality, we feel it in the locker room. He’s had injuries the last couple of years, he has taken a season to round into form and you see him on the break and in those transition moments and that’s Kekuta Manneh. If anybody has watched his career that is where he is at his best. Now you are starting to see that, which makes us that much more dangerous to have him as an option to start the match, or to come into games, he can break a game wide open.”
Other Factors: A Big Occasion for the City of Halifax
Miss out on tickets to today’s sold out playoff match? @pinthalifax has you covered
Join the viewing party and watch the broadcast with sound along with delicious food and cold drinks pic.twitter.com/lbfdmJ6ZQC
— Halifax Wanderers FC (@HFXWanderersFC) October 14, 2023
Yes, the HFX Wanderers FC lost, but it was a huge occasion for sport and soccer in Canada. With only two professional sports teams residing in the city (the other being the Halifax Thunderbirds of the NLL) and the QMJHL’s Halifax Mooseheads, this moment was a big one. They sold out Saturday’s game and they have also sold out the game on October 31 game for the CanWNT, where they will play against Brazil.
This is what the HFX Wanderers FC head coach, Patrice Gheisar, summarized the season as Halifax went from second-last in 2022 to third place in 2023 (source: Mitchell Tierney, Digital Content Producer):
“It’s been a rollercoaster. I’ll never forget the first eight games and going to places I’ve never gone, to continue to believe in the way we play and the way we do things. We stuck to our principles. I’m so proud of the group for remaining with our identity and continuing to play. I genuinely believe this group has two or three extremely high and elite players that keep moving and moving up and I wish there were more games that we could have played to see what we were made of, but I’m really proud of the way we grew. We got better, we learned to manage things, the 46th-minute goals were gone, the 90-plus minute goals were gone so we learned a lot about management. We learned to stick to our principles and continue to play football and hopefully, the results will go our way and we will go further next year, can’t wait for it.”
How to Watch the Cavalry FC vs. Pacific FC Game
As for Pacific FC, the 2021 North Star Shield champions will want to win again, with the new trophy now called the North Star Cup. They will now face Cavalry FC at Spruce Meadows, who recently lost to Forge FC on Saturday. It will be a tough test for Langford as the team representing Calgary won the first-ever 2023 Canadian Premier League Shield, by having the best record in the CPL this year.
That game will take place on Saturday, October. 21 at 4:00 p.m. ET and it will be shown live on OneSoccer and Telus.
Photo Credit: Canadian Premier League
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