The first-ever Battle of British Columbia was one for the ages.
Pacific FC eliminated their MLS neighbors Vancouver Whitecaps FC from the Canadian Championship with a 4-3 win at Vancouver Island's Starlight Stadium on Thursday night.
New DP Ryan Gauld scored twice for the Whitecaps as they fought back to level at 1-1 and then reduce their deficit to 3-2 in the second half. But it wasn't enough to prevent a painful defeat, as the Canadian Premier League side gained passage into the quarterfinals.
Pacific FC were given an opportunity to break the ice early with a penalty kick at the eighth minute. Jake Nerwinski took Terran Campbell down inside the box, leading the referee to point to the spot. Campbell took the penalty himself, beat Maxime Crepeau and made home fans on Vancouver Island believe in an upset.
The Whitecaps silenced the crowd minutes later when Gauld opened his Canadian Championship account. Pacific FC goalkeeper Callum Irving tried to jump for the ball, but contact with Brian White made Irving lose his grip. Gauld recovered the loose ball inside the box and deposited it into an open net, bringing the score back level.
Pah-Modou Kah's squad still had an upset on their minds. Former Toronto FC player Manuel Aparicio put them back in front after beating Crepeau from just above the penalty spot to give Pacific the lead once again.
Pacific took control of the game with a third goal at the 63rd minute. Heard took on Andy Rose 1-on-1, beat his defender and then Crepeau to give Pacific a two-goal lead as Starlight Stadium lit up in ecstasy.
The Whitecaps cut their deficit back to one goal once again thanks to Gauld only three minutes later. The Scot got on the end of a Cristian Dajome cross and headed into the net, giving his team a chance to keep alive their Voyageurs Cup run.
Instead, Pacific found a fourth goal off a free-kick situation at the 76th minute. Aparicio sent the ball in from the right flank and it fell for Alejandro Diaz in the middle of the box. The Mexican hit the ball with a reflex shot and gave his club their second two-goal lead of the night.
The Whitecaps were given a penalty in stoppage time when Victor Blasco was called for a handball inside the box. Dajome's shot from the spot was initially saved by Irving, but a second shot made its way into the net. The effort was too little too late, as the referee blew an end to the match following the penalty, giving Pacific the upset win.
- 8' – PAC – Terran Campbell (PK)
- 14' – VAN – Ryan Gauld
- 28' – PAC – Manuel Aparicio
- 63' – PAC – Joshua Heard
- 66' – VAN – Ryan Gauld
- 76' – PAC – Alejandro Diaz
- 90'+8' – VAN – Cristian Dajome
- THE BIG PICTURE: It cannot get more historic than that for Pacific FC. The men in purple took the lead early and never trailed against their B.C. neighbors en route to a commanding 4-3 victory. Pacific FC will take on Calgary, Alberta’s Cavalry FC in the quarterfinal round. The Whitecaps will be feeling the pain on the ferry back from Vancouver Island.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: From his left flank, Joshua Heard decided to penetrate the box and take on Andy Rose 1-on-1. The Welshman, who grew up on Vancouver Island, beat Rose and notched Pacific FC's third goal of the night.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Manuel Aparicio was the engine that powered Pacific FC on their road to victory. The former Toronto FC player scored his side’s second goal of the night and sent in the free kick that resulted in Pacific FC's game-winning goal.
- PAC: September 22 at Cavalry FC | Time to be determined | Canadian Championship Quarterfinal
- VAN: End of Tournament