Pacific FC stole a point at the last gasp in Edmonton on Tuesday night, as they scored a late equalizer to earn a 1-1 draw with FC Edmonton after trailing for much of the second half.
With usual starter Connor James given the night off, FC Edmonton gave Darlington Murasiranwa the nod in goal, with a centre-back pairing of Amer Didic and Ramon Soria playing in front of him and the fearsome trio of Easton Ongaro, Tobias Warschewski, and Azriel Gonzalez starting up top. Pacific’s squad stayed relatively consistent to what they’ve used in recent weeks, although Thomas Meilleur-Giguère stepped in at centre-back for just his fourth start of 2021.
After a fairly back-and-forth first few minutes, with Pacific controlling the ball but the Eddies pressing well, FCE coach Alan Koch saw fit to make an early substitutios, taking left-back Paris Gee out of the game in favour of Jeannot Esua — Koch revealed postmatch that Gee had entered the match with a slight injury, and the early stages suggested he wasn’t quite fit enough to play.
MORE COVERAGE: Match Analysis: FC Edmonton 1-1 Pacific FC | Sights & Sounds: FC Edmonton 1-1 Pacific FC
Changes aside, the first half ended up being fairly uneventful; Edmonton had the only shot on target, despite Pacific playing with 60% possession and making over 100 more passes than their foes. Both sides’ defenders were quite busy in transition, though; Didic made an incredible tackle to cut off what looked like a three-on-two counter from Pacific, and Lukas MacNaughton broke up a spate of Eddies attacks at the other end. Alejandro Diaz had the best opportunity of the first frame, with a shot from distance that beat Murasiranwa but caromed off the post for a rebound that Terran Campbell couldn’t quite finish.
Coming out of halftime, the match had a similar flow — plenty of possession for the visitors, and some dangerous counters by the Eddies. From that back-and-forth, it was Edmonton who found the net first, in the 57th minute. Warschewki found the ball in space along the right flank, and he outstripped his marker before whipping in a low cross behind the Pacific defenders that Ongaro got on the end of for a forceful strike to make it 1-0.
The Eddies very nearly made it 2-0 just 10 minutes later, as a long free kick found Shamit Shome at the back post for a header but Pacific ‘keeper Callum Irving made a phenomenal reaction save on the goal line to keep his team alive.
Pacific made a late push to equalize, with one chance in particular that saw Diaz apparently all alone in the box — only for Didic to come barreling in to kick the ball to safety for Edmonton. It took them until deep into stoppage time to find their equalizer, but it did come eventually: With their tenth corner kick of the game, the ball came to Lukas MacNaughton, who picked up the rebound from his own header and flicked a volley over traffic and past Murasiranwa to make it 1-1.
With the point, Pacific increased their lead at the top of the CPL standings to four points ahead of Cavalry FC, while the Eddies improved to 18 points as they fight to stay alive in a tight playoff race.
57′ — Easton Ongaro (FC Edmonton)
90+2′ — Lukas MacNaughton (Pacific FC)
59′ — Yellow: Josh Heard (Pacific FC)
77′ — Yellow: Jamar Dixon (Pacific FC)