HFX Wanderers vs. Pacific FC — 2022 Game #79 – Canadian Premier League


2022 CPL Regular Season — Game #79
HFX Wanderers vs. Pacific FC
August 19, 2022 at 1:30 p.m. ET / 2:30 p.m. AT
Wanderers Grounds in Halifax, Nova Scotia
Watch live: OneSoccer.ca and TELUS Ch. 980 // Tickets available here

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June 25, Starlight Stadium, Halifax Wanderers 3, Pacific FC 0. It was easily one of the most surprising results of the CPL season so far as the visiting Wanderers picked up their biggest win in club history , while Pacific suffered their worst ever. home loss.

At the time, it looked like the perfect result to spark a second-half Halifax playoff push, while for the Pacific it was their sixth straight game without a win as they were poised to dive below the playoff line.

Instead, it would have the opposite effect. Pacific used that loss as a rallying point for their group, as they haven’t lost since in CPL action and are currently on a club-record five-game winning streak. They also beat Jamaica’s Waterhouse FC 6-0 on aggregate in the Concacaf League preliminary round. Halifax, on the other hand, have won only once since then in eight matches.

“We’re a different team now than we were then,” Pacific FC head coach James Merriman said of the last time these two teams met. “That game was, I guess, important for us in terms of the turning point and we got together as a group and decided how we were going to go forward. There was a big change in our approach on and in off the pitch. Like I said, I think we’re a completely different team than we were then, in a good way, and much stronger as a group.

What’s particularly demoralizing for Halifax is their home form during this streak. Once considered one of the toughest away dates on the CPL calendar, fans at the Wanderers Grounds have seen the second away goals of any venue this season, and just one win since June 4 .

Both teams could see rotating squads for this game, having played in midweek. After equalizing late against Atlético Ottawa on the road to the nation’s capital, Halifax suffered a heartbreaking 3-2 loss as the hosts scored moments later. TZhey will be without midfielder Jérémy Gagnon-Laparé and full-back Obeng Tabi due to suspension. The Pacific, meanwhile, can sympathize, after a solid performance at home against Costa Rican side CS Herediano in the Concacaf League, they also conceded late in a 1-0 defeat.

There are also other factors at play for visitors. They’ll have their eye on Tuesday’s trip to Costa Rica in the Concacaf League which will likely see them rest a number of starters more. This early afternoon game will mean a four hour time difference for Pacific players and will be played at 10:30 a.m. PT.

“Our group has been excellent in terms of how they behaved off the pitch, professionalism, doing all the little things right on the flights and when we walk into the hotels, so all credit to the players for how they manipulate [the travel]Merriman said, later adding, “It’s also part of the Concacaf journey.

With that, expect another hotly contested affair as there was never much to separate these two parties. Nine of their 12 all-time meetings have been either a draw or decided by a single goal, including the two clubs’ opener as the Pacific beat Halifax 1-0 on April 28, 2019.


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All CPL matches are available to stream on OneSocceror on TELUS Télé Optik channel 980.


3 THINGS TO WATCH

  • Pacific FC looking to make history in Halifax: Picking up a first-ever win in Halifax isn’t the only club story Pacific could make on Saturday. A win or draw would see them set a club record for the longest unbeaten streak, a seven-match CPL streak. A big part of that was a tactical change that saw the club play something close to a 4-4-2, removing a midfielder and adding another striker. What makes this all the more impressive is that it comes after the longest winless streak in club history, a seven-game streak between May 20 and June 30 this season, which included that infamous 3-0 loss to Halifax. They have already chained a club record number of consecutive wins, five straight in CPL action, and are closing in on the league record, which is seven straight games set by Cavalry in 2019. Forge came close to equaling that mark earlier this months, with six trotting victories, but would see their streak come to an end at the hands of the Cavalry last weekend. “To be honest, I haven’t been that focused on it,” Merriman said. “We’ve really been one game at a time, and obviously the Concacaf games between the two are a big part of that as well. So we stick to our daily process, we are always one day at a time, our focus is here. And we haven’t forgotten the last game against Halifax either so there’s a lot to be motivated for tomorrow’s game.
  • A new formation and system have rejuvenated the Wanderers: Pacific aren’t the only team to have undergone a successful roster change of late. Against Forge earlier this month, FC Edmonton went to a five-man defense in a 1-0 loss at Tim Horton’s Field. At first, it seemed like a cynical change meant simply to limit the damage Hamilton’s team could inflict on them, but would actually lead to them overpowering and sometimes overpowering Forge. This has been the case in each of their last three games since the shift, including Wednesday’s 3-2 loss to Atlético Ottawa in which they had 1.22 goals expected to Ottawa’s 0.72. Playing with three centre-backs has allowed Halifax to maintain better defensive stability while allowing their full-backs to move higher up the pitch, as well as being in better possession of the ball. Keeping possession of the ball has been a problem for Halifax at times this season, but since the switch they have averaged an 84% pass accuracy rate over the past three games. “We changed because we felt we had the staff and that would give us a bit more solidarity, especially to get the ball out from behind and push some players forward a bit more. We thought it was needed to do it. It worked for us, we improved possession a lot and with the exception of the last game we were pretty solid defensively.” It should be noted, however, that a potential advantage that Pacific has in that regard is the fact that they lined up against a back five in midweek as Herediano deployed one in Concacaf League action.
  • Expect plenty of rotation as the Pacific have their eye on Tuesday’s Concacaf League: Merriman has his work cut out for him managing his team over the coming week. Traveling to the league’s easternmost opponent on Saturday, before heading to Costa Rica and a different third time zone (Central) will likely mean a lot of rotation in order to keep his players as fresh as possible for Herediano. The good news for Merriman is that he has several players waiting in the wings for an opportunity. Youngster Kamron Habibullah hasn’t appeared much lately given the depth of Pacific’s attacking options, while 18-year-old compatriot Emil Gazdov could be in line for another start in net after having won his professional debut at the end of July. One decision that will be made easier is to rest Josh Heard, who is unavailable for his game thanks to the accumulation of yellow cards. “We don’t know 100% how we will settle. I think we’re quite versatile, especially in our central midfield and our attacking players can play in different positions, and we can set up in different ways, that’s something we feel pretty confident in. So we are now 100% sure of who is going to play where again. Of course, everyone wants to play every game, and everyone is fit and ready to go again. »

ALL TIME SERIES

HFX Wanderers win: 3 || Pacific FC wins: 5 || Draws: 4

Previous game:

June 25, 2022 — Pacific FC 0-3 HFX Wanderers


KEY QUOTES

“I think we have to focus on what we do, especially without the ball, how we win it and on which parts of the pitch we win the ball. Then how we use it when we have the ball, whether we speed it up and push it forward or slow it down a bit and play towards the wings”- HFX Wanderers Head Coach Stephen Hart.

“I think they played a good game against Ottawa, a bit unlucky at the end. They will be frustrated but they will also be motivated and hungry to get into this game. We have seen it and we will be prepared for it. — Pacific FC head coach James Merriman

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