Pacific FC fought off a tough challenge in their first ever CONCACF League game against Waterhouse FC in Kingston, Jamaica, tying 0-0 in the first leg.
It was a game of two halves in the Caribbean country’s capital city, as Pacific initially struggled to get into the game but created a number of chances in the second half.
The game was clearly a step-up in difficulty for Pacific FC who were lucky to keep it tied in the first half. PFC was left scrambling to clear off the line after a series of corners for the Jamaican side on 20 minutes and Waterhouse FC came even closer a few minutes later when PFC keeper Callum Irving rushed out to smother the Waterhouse striker when he was through one-on-one.
“We know Waterhouse like to get into one-on-one situations. They’re very physical, with a ton of pace and power but I thought we dealt with it well,” head coach James Merriman said during a post-match interview.
Pacific was perhaps hampered by their pre-match travel difficulties, with the team missing flights and having to split up onto different flights to make it in time for the match. Speaking after the game, said the team’s administration and the players both adapted well and the players’ energy remained high during preparations and the game.
Fortunes flipped as PFC started the second half brightly with the Waterhouse keeper Kemar Foster being called upon on several occasions. The biggest save came after a long looping ball into the box landed on the head of Thomas Meilleur-Giguere, who knocked it out down to Alejandro Diaz. The in-form Mexican tried to place his shot but it was palmed away by Foster.
PFC’s best chance of the game fell to the feet of Djenairo Daniels moments after he took his place on the field. The lanky Dutchman drove towards the home team’s penalty box and was tackled, but the loose ball fell to Diaz who poked it through leaving Daniels with only the keeper to beat. But his left-footed shot was tame and the keeper got down well to stop the shot, leaving the score tied at 0-0 at 69 minutes.
That’s how it would remain, making the return game against Waterhouse at Starlight Stadium on Aug. 2 all the more important. Merriman said he’s confident going into the second leg.
Although the stands were empty in Jamaica – a Covid precaution – fans gathered to watch the team via live stream at Darcy’s in Langford and at The Strath in Victoria.
Before PFC plays Waterhouse again they face a pit stop in Winnipeg against Valour on July 30.