It was a party for Pacific FC at Starlight Stadium Tuesday (Aug. 2) and Waterhouse FC were sorry to be invited as the Tridents beat the Jamaicans 6-0 in the second leg of their CONCACAF League tie.
A hat-trick from Alejandro Diaz, two from Josh Heard and one from Marco Bustos capped off a perfect night for PFC, whose attacking play was glorious and flowing throughout the game.
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“I think this is the best performance all season in terms of how we defended – our discipline defensively, how we attacked how we ran our transition moments and our counter attacks is something I’ve been speaking a lot about. We were very ruthless and clinical in the second half especially, so we take a lot of confidence from the way we played and attacked the game,” said head coach James Merriman during his post-match interview.
PFC had struggled during periods in the first match against Waterhouse in Jamaica – Merriman attributed that in part to the disruption during the team’s travel – but there was little sign of those difficulties during this game. Although physical, Waterhouse struggled to keep up with Pacific, particularly with the pace of Gianni dos Santos who set up the first and fifth goals.
It was Diaz who got the ball rolling for PFC early on in the twelfth minute, after some fancy footwork and a fine cross by dos Santos found Diaz in the box – and that usually means just one thing. With the three goals this game, Diaz now has 16 on the season.
Bustos scored the second in miraculous fashion, rising highest to head home Heard’s cross despite his diminutive stature.
In the second-half, Heard again made the final pass for Diaz to score his second, and then Heard got in on the action himself to score two in five minutes, both being beautiful team goals.
To round off the perfect day, Diaz scored his third on 73 minutes by redirecting Manny Aparicio’s shot with an audacious back heel.
With the win PFC are through to the next round of the knock-out CONCACAF League, where they will face a massive challenge in C.S. Herediano. The Costa Rican powerhouses won the CONCACAF League in 2018 and have made several appearances in the CONCACAF Champions League (the first-tier North America competition) in the past.
“We’re going to lean on some of the players that have had experiences, in those competitions, in those atmospheres, in those stadiums. We have a lot of players who played youth national team games, senior national team games, other players that have been in this competition as well in the past, we’re gonna need that we’re going to need their leadership,” Merriman said after the game.
“That’s also what we want as a club. We want to give players experience as well and embrace it.”
Next up Pacific FC play Atletico Ottawa at Starlight Stadium on August 13 before they face C.S. Herediano on August 16.