Pacific FC played valiantly, but lose in penalties in Costa Rica

Marco Bustos converts penalty as Pacific FC played valiantly but loses in a penalty shoot-out on August 23, 2022

HEREDIA, CR – Pacific FC played valiantly. They were a goal down to start the game and were also a man down for most of the second half. However, the team from Langford was somehow able to make the game interesting and push it to penalties, where C.S. Herediano would emerge victorious at Estadio Eladio Rosabal Cordero.

Pacific FC played valiantly but did not advance

Three keys to the game

First half

C.S. Herediano almost scored to start the game. Waylon Francis delivered a great cross to Jefferson Brenes, whose header was off-target. Anthony Contreras shot was easily stopped by Pacific’s goalkeeper, Callum Irving. Jafet Soto made a potential goal-saving play for C.S. Herediano.

Kunle Dada-Luke defended the ball well in the 10-minute. Jefferson Brenes missed the near post in the 10-minute. Irving got to the ball in the 16-minute. Thomas Meilleur-Giguère made a great defensive play in the 19-minute, as Pacific conceded a corner. Nathan Mabi-Mavila made a great defensive header.

He then made another great defensive play straight afterward. Sean Young’s shot was easily saved by Irving, but he could not stop the shot on goal. Amer Đidić made a fantastic defensive play in the 30-minute. Dada-Luke drew a great foul in the 38-minute. Dada-Luke then made another great defensive play in the 40-minute.

Second Half and Penalties

Irving got to the ball in the 64-minute. Đidić played well defensively in the 70-minute. Esteban Alvarado made a fantastic save in the 70-minute. Dos Santos delivered a great pass to Bustos, whose shot was stopped. Mavila made a great block in the 72-minute. Dada-Luke tried to keep the ball in the 80-minute but was unable to. Alvarado made a fantastic save in the 87-minute to keep the lead.

Pacific had to press on and Alvarado played spectacularly. It looked like the game was all but lost. However, Pacific FC played valiantly throughout the second half, and it resulted in a goal by Gianni Dos Santos. The key to the goal was Dos Santos reacting immediately to the ball coming to him. Additionally, the accuracy of the shot was able to get past Alvarado to take the lead on the road. More importantly, it tied the aggregate as the game went into penalties.

It looked like after Miguel Basulto did not convert his penalty the Pacific could actually advance in the Concacaf League. However, six-straight penalties converted by C.S. Herediano combined with a couple of Pacific FC penalty shots being stopped was the difference in the game. Callum Irving might feel that he could have stopped the second-last penalty, as he guessed in the right direction, but was just out of reach.

Game Analysis

Pacific FC was not the better team in the first half. C.S. Herediano in all truth should have converted some of those chances into goals early in the game. As a result, the game was in the balance in the second half as Pacific did just enough defensively.

In the second half, it felt that C.S. Herediano got a bit tentative, despite having a glorious scoring opportunity straight after Pacific got a red card. Pacific, though, did lose the two-legged tie, and as a result, will not represent CPL or Canada in the Concacaf Champions League next year. However, that is not taking anything away from Pacific. Costa Rica is a country known for its obsession with soccer and the CPL is still quite a young league that will only get better as time goes on.

Pacific FC will now head to Manitoba’s capital to face Valour FC. That game will take place at 3:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, August. 28. The game will be shown live on OneSoccer and Telus. Herediano will also be traveling on the road to face L.D. Alajuelense on Sunday, August. 28 a 7:00 p.m. ET.

Read More: The Relationship Between the Canadian MLS Teams and CPL

Three takeaways: Pacific FC played valiantly, but lost in a penalty shoot-out

Pacific FC should have gotten a result at home. Pacific FC was the better team at home against C.S. Herediano, but never truly troubled Alvarado in the first leg with their scoring chances. This was something they did on the road leg, and it resulted in Pacific winning the road leg, but in the end, did not advance to the Concacaf League.

Esteban Alvarado was the player of the game. Alvarado made a few big saves throughout the game. The one in extra time that came to mind was Alvarado’s save against Bustos in the 70-minute (source: Concacaf). He also made two saves in the penalty shoot-out, this included Amer Đidić’s shot, which Alvarado had to stretch to make the save.

C.S. Herediano advances to the Concacaf League quarterfinals. Herediano took a massive step to try and qualify for the Concacaf Champions League for the first time since 2018. They will face either C.S. Cartaginés or Real C.D. España in the quarterfinals stage. The four semifinalists and the two losing quarterfinalists of the Concacaf League will qualify for the Concacaf Champions League next year.

Photo Credit: Sheldon Mack of Pacific FC on August 23, 2022.