Langford-based Pacific FC of the Canadian Premier League (CPL) tied leaders Atletico Ottawa 1-1 at a smoky Starlight Stadium on Sunday (Sept. 11).
The men in purple have not enjoyed a purple patch of form recently, losing three straight in the league prior to Sunday’s game. PFC had the majority of the chances but couldn’t make it count against a miserly Ottawa defence, which has allowed the second-fewest goals.
Ottawa opened the scoring with former PFC man Ollie Bassett converting from the penalty spot on 26 minutes, after Kunle Dada-Luke had clumsily fouled the Ottawa attacker just inside the box.
Pacific’s equalizer would come in a seemingly unexpected fashion with the last kick of the first-half, lanky centre-back Amer Didic blasting in a free-kick from the edge of the area, via a deflection.
Didic had already had one strong free-kick saved, but Ottawa goalkeeper Nathan Ingham was left helpless after Didic’s shot cannoned through the Ottawa wall to tie the game 1-1 at the interval.
Ottawa had the best chance of the game just a minute into the second-half after the ball was worked across to Keven Aleman inside Pacific’s box, but the winger blazed wildly wide under pressure from Dada-Luke. PFC quickly went from defence to offence, Djenairo Daniels cutting inside and blazing over the net on 48 minutes. Dada-Luke was involved again 15 minutes later, his cross seemingly an easy catch for Ingham, but the Ottawa keeper fumbled to nearly concede a disastrous own goal as he fumbled the ball against the crossbar, but regathered to the relief of the Atletico fans.
As the clock wound down, PFC nearly had a chance to repeat their first-half feat with a goal from a free-kick with the last kick of the game, but Gianni dos Santos’ shot was saved, leaving the score at 1-1 at full-time.
The draw leaves PFC in fifth place outside of the playoffs and one point behind Valour in fourth, but PFC has a game in hand.
Pacific FC’s home stretch hasn’t been the glorious home return they would have hoped for as the team is set face a stern test next week with Forge FC coming to town on Sept. 18.