‘A Trophy We Don’t Have In Our Cabinet’: Forge Hungry For Voyageurs Cup
Forge FC have proven to be consistently strong contenders in the Canadian Championship, with this year’s knockout cup campaign kicking off against first-time PLSQ entrants FC Laval tomorrow.
Speaking with media ahead of the match, head coach Bobby Smyrniotis spoke to media about a matchup that he isn’t taking lightly, regardless of the non-professional status of his opposition.
Laval Expected To Come In Hungry
“You have to understand the importance of the game for them,” opens Smyrniotis. “Of course, it’s an important competition for us, and a competition that we were close to winning last year. For them, it’s a massive event, so we’ve got to make sure we’re sharp from the beginning because it means a lot for them as well.”
The hammers had opened their last Canadian Championship campaign to PLSQ opposition too, with CS Mont-Royal Outremont frustrating Forge with an extremely low defensive block that provided a nervy affair, though Forge eventually climbed to a two-nil home win.
Forge FC has been doing its homework on FC Laval, who are expected to enter the match with a similar line-up that fans watched them win the PLSQ Championship with last season. It’s a fairly young-leaning team anchored around veterans Wandrille Lefevre and Adama Sissoko, and Laval head coach Boubacar Coulibaly believes even his youngsters are playing like veterans.
The team – formed from the grouping of several pre-existing clubs in 2021 – was the developing ground for players like Zakaria Bahous and Forge’s own Garven Metusala, so there’s certainly talent to be found in the systems of the purple ranks.
“We want to hopefully lift another trophy and try to do well in this competition,” added Metusala himself. “It starts tomorrow, and no matter the opponent, we’re going to give our one hundred percent.”
Forge has examined the footage of Laval’s title-winning campaign closely, with Smyrniotis noting that they’ve had a ‘robust’ lead-in of friendlies in preparation for tomorrow’s bout. Forge isn’t taking them lightly.
Forge Hungry To Add Voyageurs Cup To Cabinet
“It’s a competition that we want,” declares Smyrniotis, who saw his team succumb to a belated cup final loss to Toronto FC last season. “The club has been successful in our first four years, winning three North Star Shields. This is obviously a trophy that we don’t have in our cabinet.”
Smyniotis describes cup nights as special, but this year is particularly different in that there are no continental matches to play for given the re-structuring of the tournament that leaves the CPL in a gap year for competition berths.
“This is everything outside of the CPL season, so the guys are prepared for it, but the most important thing is that you take it one game at a time and we’ve got a team that I think will come in here and be hungry for a result.”
Roster Depth To Play Its Part
The Forge FC roster isn’t just the most consistent year to be found in the CPL year-over-year, but it’s also one of the biggest ones in terms of depth. Forge is quite accustomed to having a heavy fixture schedule, so opening its season with three matches in seven days is something Bobby is prepared to flex his roster for.
“We have a lot of players who didn’t play a lot this past Saturday who can get the job done, but we can also roll players who played quite a few minutes on Saturday,” says Smyrniotis, who says he’s comfortable with all of the players on his master roster.
“We’ve planned this first week well because it’s an intense week and it’s also the first game of the season, so you’ve got to make sure you’re not putting any players into jeopardy of injuries and so on with these cup games coming in the first week.”
The hammers will kick off their 2023 Canadian Championship campaign against Laval at 7:00PM EST, playing in front of a home crowd at Tim Hortons Field.
Header Image Credit: Jojo Yanjiao Qian / Forge FC