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PREVIEW: Pacific FC vs. Forge FC – Match #40
Canadian Premier League

Canadian Premier League — Match #40
Pacific FC vs. Forge FC
July 13, 2019 — Westhills Stadium (3 p.m. PT/6 p.m. ET)
Watch Live: OneSoccer.ca

After watching from home during the week’s CanChamp fixtures, Pacific and Forge will return to CPL play this weekend as they both look to notch their first victory in the Fall season.

Entering the final contest of a four-game homestand, Pacific will welcome Forge to Westhills Stadium for the first time ever. They’ve lost twice at home over the last three games, including last Saturday when they fell 3-2 to Cavalry FC. Michael Silberbauer’s team had a frustrating Spring campaign, as they went 3-5-2 to finish fifth in the table. One lowlight, in particular, was their 3-0 drubbing at the hands of Forge in early May, from which they struggled to recover.

Forge, meanwhile, come into this game with their confidence wavering a little, with last weekend’s 2-1 loss to FC Edmonton their second straight to that particular opponent. Before that, they’d won five straight in the league as they pushed Cavalry in the Spring title race. They still wound up second in the table with the second-best goal differential, but a win here would go a long way toward restoring their position as Fall season favourites.

After this meeting, Forge heads back to Tim Hortons Field to meet HFX Wanderers FC on Wednesday, July 17 (7:00 p.m. ET, on OneSoccer). Pacific, too, will play in Ontario on Wednesday, as they pay a visit to York9 FC (7:00 p.m. ET, on OneSoccer).

KEYS TO THE MATCH

  • Shake it off: Both clubs are trying to stop the bleeding a little bit right now, with neither in particularly good form after last weekend’s losses. However, neither side looked awful in those matches; it’s very easy to argue that Forge deserved the win against FC Edmonton, as an unfortunate own goal was the death knell for them in a match they dominated. Pacific, too, made their opponents sweat as they played a solid game with just a few too many defensive mistakes.
  • Makeshift defending: With injuries making life difficult for PFC coach Michael Silberbauer, he was forced to throw together a backline featuring both Matthew Baldisimo and Zachary Verhoven out of their ideal positions. It didn’t go particularly well, although both players have done the job there before in stretch of injury troubles. Fortunately, it sounds like centre-backs Lukas MacNaughton and Hendrik Starostzik could be nearing a return, so who knows how much longer Pacific will have to make it work — the return of just one of them would improve PFC’s fortunes significantly.
  • Passing battle: These two sides feature some of the best midfield passers in the CPL. Noah Verhoeven routinely leads his team in passes and pulls them off at a rate above 85%, as the 20-year-old has become the lynchpin of Pacific’s buildup play. Across the pitch from him this time are Alexander Achinioti-Jonsson and Elimane Cisse, both of whom form incredible links between Forge’s backline and their more advanced midfielders, like Kyle Bekker. This game could well be won by whichever team is more clinical through the centre of the park.

PROJECTED LINEUPS

Pacific FC: Mark Village; Blake Smith, Ryan McCurdy, Émile Legault, Kadin Chung; Victor Blasco, Jose Hernandez, Matthew Baldisimo, Noah Verhoeven, Ben Fisk; Terran Campbell

Forge FC: Triston Henry; Kwame Awuah, Bertrand Owundi, Daniel Krutzen, Giuliano Frano; Kyle Bekker, Alexander Achinioti-Jonsson, Elimane Cisse; David Choinière, Jace Kotsopoulos, Tristan Borges


HEAD TO HEAD

May 8 – Forge 3-0 Pacific

STATS LEADERS

Tristan Borges – 4 goals (Forge FC)
Terran Campbell, Victor Blasco – 3 goals (FC Edmonton)

INJURIES

Marcel De Jong (Pacific FC) – Out
Marcus Haber (Pacific FC) – Out
Kadin Chung (Pacific FC) – Questionable
Hendrik Starostzik (Pacific FC) – Questionable
Lukas MacNaughton (Pacific FC) – Questionable
Anthony Novak (Forge FC) – Doubtful

INTERNATIONAL DUTY

None

SUSPENSIONS

Alexander Gonzalez (Pacific FC)

ACCUMULATION
(Players are suspended for one match 14 days after accumulating a 4th Yellow Card)

Matthew Baldisimo (Pacific FC) – 4 – (will miss July 20th match vs. HFX Wanderers)
Kadell Thomas (Forge FC) – 3

REFEREES

Referee: Matt Soare
ARs: Stefan Tanaka-Freundt & Evan Fryer
4th Official: Mo Mohseni


FANTASY PREDICTOR
Download the Centre Circle app to play predictor ahead of each match. 

Q: Will the team that finished higher in the Spring Competition standings win?

A: As we saw last week, teams toward the bottom of the table are capable of beating 1st place team Cavalry. This is a question where the underdog pick is not an unwise choice.

Q: Will the home team lead in possession?

A: Unless the home team is playing Cavalry, then yes. On the first day of Fall Competition, expect home clubs to come out with that extra motivation to put in a strong performance for their home crowd.

Q: Will an international player score?

A: Even though a majority of players on CanPL rosters are Canadian, international players have been crucial as offensive focal points for clubs. Expect Dominique Malonga, Oumar Diouck, and Akeem Garcia to continue being the go-to man up top for their clubs.


Here’s Pacific FC’s Matchday Playlist for their tilt against Forge FC on Saturday.