Pacific FC and HFX Wanderers FC may be separated by well over 3,000 km of distance, but there was little separating these two coastal outfits at Westhills Stadium, as the two teams played out to a well-fought 1-1 draw on Wednesday evening.
The Islanders dealt the opening blow in the first half, which featured plenty of opportunities at either end of Westhills Stadium. Victor Blasco tested HFX ‘keeper Christian Oxner with a point-blank shot, which Oxner met. Zach Verhoven nearly crafted an opener himself, chipping Oxner on a break, but his ball went just wide.
RELATED: ‘Like a fish to water’: Marcel de Jong’s long road to recovery
Instead, it was indeed Blasco who opened the scoring in the 31st minute, and in fine fashion, with the Spanish attacker finding the back of the net courtesy of a well-struck free kick, dipping the ball over the HFX wall and past Oxner, cool as you like. Pacific held that 1-0 lead to half-time.
That would be Blasco’s contribution to the fixture, as an injury picked up right at the start of the second half saw him ruled out by the 50-minute point. Still, Pacific FC didn’t miss a beat, nearly catching Oxner out of position as Ben Fisk burst past him and took a shot on goal … only to hit the woodwork.
Pacific would rue that missed effort, as the Wanderers slowly regained composure in front of goal, finally finding a breakthrough equalizer courtesy of an Akeem Garcia poke off a corner kick in the 80th minute. Now level at 1-1, the Wanderers nearly added a second two minutes later from a close-range free kick of their own, but Tomasz Skublak’s low drive hit the wall harmlessly.
It would be the last bit of meaningful action in this particular tilt, as the two coastal sides split the points after 90 minutes.
Pacific FC now prepares for a reverse fixture on Oct. 9, heading over to Halifax to compete in one of the world’s longest away trips (6:00 p.m. ET/7:00 p.m. AT, available on OneSoccer). But before that match, HFX Wanderers FC will make a stop in Calgary to take on Cavalry FC at ATCO Field, Spruce Meadows (Sat., Oct. 5, 6:00 p.m. ET/7:00 p.m. AT, available on OneSoccer).
31′ – Victor Blasco (Pacific FC)
80′ – Akeem Garcia (HFX Wanderers FC)
44′ – Hendrik Starostzik (Pacific FC)
52′ – Chrisnovic N’Sa (HFX Wanderers)
57′ – Alessandro Hojabrpour (Pacific FC)
90′ – Duran Lee (HFX Wanderers)
Three Key Performers
Victor Blasco (Pacific FC)
Good for an opening goal, but while he only lasted around 50 minutes, Blasco was the focal point of a first half that saw Pacific FC establish a lead through his individual effort. Hit a perfect free kick in trademark fashion, too.
Akeem Garcia (HFX Wanderers FC)
Garcia continues to lead his team in scoring, helping to deliver a point in this coast-to-coast clash with his timely equalizer. How important has he been to HFX? He’s got seven goals in 22 appearances for the club now, good for 40 per cent of HFX’s goals.
Ben Fisk (Pacific FC)
Has been in and out of the Pacific XI of late, but did enough to impress against the Wanderers, making himself an ever-present threat around the box, connecting well with his teammates, and threatening on net to nearly claw a goal of his own. Not a bad night, all things considered.