MLS

Pacific FC upset Whitecaps to advance to Canadian Championship quarter-finals

Pacific FC is through to the quarter-finals of the Canadian Championship after upsetting the Vancouver Whitecaps 4-3 in Langford, B.C., on Thursday.

Pacific will face fellow CPL team Calvary FC in the quarters next month

Pacific FCs' Abdoulaye Samake celebrates with goalie Callum Irving after a teammate scores against the Vancouver Whitecaps during first half Canadian Championship Preliminary Round soccer action at Starlight Stadium in Langford, B.C., on Thursday. (Chad Hipolito/The Canadian Press)

Pacific FC is through to the quarter-finals of the Canadian Championship after upsetting the Vancouver Whitecaps 4-3 in Langford, B.C., on Thursday.

The 'Caps came into the contest heavily favoured, having gone undefeated in their last eight Major League Soccer contests, but Pacific, the top club in the Canadian Premier League standings, repeatedly broke down Vancouver's defence.

Terran Campbell opened the scoring for the home side from the penalty spot in the eighth minute and Manuel Aparicio added a goal in the 28th. The second half saw Josh Heard score in the 63rd and substitute Alejandro Diaz increase the lead to 4-2 in the 76th.

Ryan Gauld had goals for the Whitecaps in the 14th and 66th minutes, and Cristian Dajome added another in the 98th.

Pacific outshot the 'Caps 12-9, including 8-6 in shots on goal, with 'keeper Callum Irving making three stops. Maxime Crepeau had four saves for Vancouver.

Pacific will face fellow CPL side Calvary FC in the quarter-finals next month.

After taking a 2-1 lead into the half, Pacific increased its cushion in the 63rd minute.

Heard held off defender Javain Brown along the sideline, then went 1-on-1 with Andy Rose in the box before sending a low shot past Crepeau and into the corner of the net.

Gauld answered for Vancouver just three minutes later, heading in a cross from Cristian Dajome to cut the deficit to 3-2.

A Pacific free kick landed in heavy traffic in the 76th minute. Diaz found the ball and used a right-footed swing to send it past Crepeau, who'd been knocked down in the net.

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Diaz came on for Gianni Dos Santos in the 65th minute.

Some late dramatics saw Gauld taken out by Victor Blasco in the penalty area in injury time. Blasco was given a yellow card and Vancouver was awarded a penalty kick.

Dajome stepped up to the spot, blasting a low shot that Iriving dove to stop. The Pacific 'keeper couldn't control the rebound, though, and Dajome popped it into the back of the net, sealing the score at 4-3.

The first half of Thursday's match was eventful, too, with two goals and three yellow cards in the first 15 minutes alone.

Aparicio created the first chance of the night, charging toward the Whitecaps goal and blasting a shot on net. Crepeau made an excellent diving save, but the ensuing rebound caused trouble.

Vancouver defender Jake Nerwinski took Campbell out from behind in front of the far post. Pacific got a chance from the penalty spot and Nerwinski was shown a yellow card for the play.

Campbell's stepped up for the penalty kick and rolled a low ball into the corner of the net as Crepeau dove in the opposite direction. The goal put the home side up 1-0 in the eighth minute.

Just six minutes later, Whitecaps forward Brian White wrestled the ball away from Irving at the top of the box. Gauld picked up the lose ball and chipped it into the back of the net to knot the score at 1-1.

Pacific coach Pa-Modou Kah loudly voiced his displeasure with the play from the sidelines, letting the officials know he believed a foul should have been called. Both Kah and Aparicio were given yellow cards for their protests.

A defensive breakdown led to the third goal of the night.

Aparicio waltzed past Vancouver's Patrick Metcalfe at the top of the box and proved relentless as he made his way to the net and sailed a shot past Crepeau from high inside the penalty area.

It's the second time in a row the Whitecaps have been upset by a CPL team in the Canadian Championship. Vancouver lost a two-game series to Calvary in 2019, the last time they played in the tournament.

An abbreviated version of the Canadian Championship was held in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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