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Preview: Toronto FC host Pacific FC in Canadian Championship semifinal

This is the first time TFC and Pacific FC will face off against each other.

MLS: Canadian Championship-Toronto FC vs York United
Toronto FC hosts Pacific FC on Wednesday night at BMO Field, with a spot in the Canadian Championship final on the line.
Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

TORONTO, Ont. - The magic of the cup will be on full display as it takes centre-stage at BMO Field on Wednesday night. The Reds welcome Pacific FC with a spot in the 2021 Canadian Championship final on the line.

Kick-off is scheduled for 7:30 PM EST and can be watched on OneSoccer.

On one side, you have Toronto FC, the seven-time Canadian Championship winners, mired in the worst season the Club has had in nearly half-a-decade and were never even close to a playoff spot. On the other side, Pacific FC, the Canadian Premier League club who currently sits first in the league and is poised for a deep playoff run.

While their league positions are at two ends of the spectrum, that won’t change the motivation for either team ahead of Wednesday. For the Reds, this competition represents their last chance for silverware this season. While for Pacific, a matchup with the Reds serves as an opportunity to eliminate another MLS team - having already dispatched of the Vancouver Whitecaps earlier in the competition - and show the country what the CPL has to offer.

To understand how important Wednesday night is for the Reds, you only have to look at TFC’s most recent match on Saturday night. Head Coach Javier Perez elected to heavily rotate his squad on the weekend leaving many of the Club’s regulars back home in Toronto. Omar Gonzalez, Jozy Altidore, and Alejandro Pozuelo all started the game, but were substituted at half-time. Despite the changes, the Reds found a way to steal a point in Atlanta and have now picked up draws in their last three MLS matches, including against the other finalists in this competition, CF Montreal.

Pacific, who currently sit at the top of the CPL Standings - albeit by having played more games than their direct competition - with a playoff spot already locked in, come into this match having lost in their most recent outing - dropping a 2-1 decision to York United.

Pacific FC will feel optimistic about their offensive returns in 2021. Through 27 games in the CPL, Pacific has scored a league-best 47 goals on the backs of attackers Terran Campbell, Diaz Liceaga, and Marco Bustos who have combined to score 27 of the Club’s 47 goals.

For Bustos, despite being sidelined through injury and having 17 appearances this season, he still leads the club in assists with six and sits third in scoring with seven goals. While typically this would be a trio that can hurt a TFC backline that has struggled this year, Pacific will have to go about their business without Campbell as the club’s joint-top scorer will be suspended for Wednesday night’s matchup.

In the CPL and through the two matches they’ve played to get to this semi-final, Pacific have shown that they can adapt to the style of their opponent regardless of the game they’re playing. In the preliminary round against the Vancouver Whitecaps, Pacific was able to put four past the Whitecaps defence, but have shown the nerve and dedication to be able to play in tight games, with goalkeeper Callum Irving having recorded seven clean sheets in the CPL.

TFC head coach Javier Perez will surely recall many of his senior players on Wednesday night and in doing so will name an experienced squad who have all played in big games. But at the end of the day, this is a Cup match, and one thing every fan knows, it’s that anything can happen in a Cup match.

Path to the semi-finals:

Pacific FC:

Preliminary round: 4-3 win vs Vancouver Whitecaps
Quarter-final: 1-0 win vs Cavalry FC

Toronto FC:

Preliminary round: Bye
Quarter-final: 4-0 win vs York United FC

The winner of this semi-final will face off against CF Montreal, who defeated Forge FC in penalties last week.

Match Details

Toronto FC vs Pacific FC
Location: BMO Field
Kick-off: 7:30 PM EST
Watch: OneSoccer