Forge 2-0 Vancouver FC: Quick-Fire Double Gives Hammers The Win
At the third time of asking, Forge FC finally got the better of Vancouver FC, defeating the Eagles 2-0 at Tim Hortons Field on Friday. It is Forge’s first ever victory against the Canadian Premier League’s newest club.
The Hamiltonians came into the match on a three-game unbeaten run, including a two-nil success at Pacific FC last week Friday. Interestingly, coach Bobby Smyrniotis elected to use the exact same starting eleven as the week prior – that is quite a rarity from the Greco-Canadian.
Coming into the match, Vancouver had lost their last two games, including a 5-1 thumping at home to Cavalry last weekend. Despite the poor run of form, coach Afshin Ghotbi made two adjustments to last week’s starting eleven: the suspended Eugene Martinez made way, along with Shaan Hundal. Ibrahim Bakare and Gabriel Bitar replaced the pair.
It took 14 minutes before a shot came in the match. Forge captain Kyle Bekker whipped in a free kick that was tipped over by VFC’s skipper Callum Irving.
Ten minutes later, the visitors had their best chance of the half. Bitar picked up the ball in space, and played a wonderful through ball to Mikael Cantave. Unfortunately for the Haitian international, Triston Henry rushed out of his goal to deny him a proper shot.
In a first half largely void of major chances, the home side had another great opportunity just before the break. An excellent combination from Bekker and early substitute Tristan Borges saw the latter play a dangerous ball in. Remarkably, Terran Campbell could not get his foot on the ball to tap it home.
Campbell again had a chance to give Forge the lead shortly after the restart. Bekker found the striker with a smart ball, but his shot went straight at Irving.
After making a double substitution before the hour mark, Vancouver started to look more threatening. Within minutes, they had two huge opportunities to take the lead. Substitutes Tyler Crawford and Hundal combined, the latter forcing a big save from Henry.
Hundal was back at it moments later. After being slipped in by Alejandro Diaz, the attacker fired an off-balanced shot on target. Once more, Henry was equal to it, keeping the game scoreless.
With a quarter of the game to go, the chances were starting to come. Campbell had another breakaway, but again could not beat Irving.
Forge got the breakthrough with 20 minutes to play. Despite coming on to the field minutes prior, Aboubacar Sissoko was afforded far too much space. The midfielder cut into the box off the right wing, curling a shot with the outside of his boot into the net. Irving managed to get a piece of the ball, but not enough to deny Sissoko from his first goal of the season.
Forge fans were not able to fully finish celebrating the opener before they saw their team score another. Borges did well to get the ball under control before chipping it to Bekker. The skipper ran onto the pass, playing a first-time ball into the box to substitute Woobens Pacius. With Irving trying and failing to stop the cross, Pacius was able to get his foot on the ball to finish the chance.
Vancouver failed to get on the scoreboard despite one more opportunity before the end of the game. A perfectly weighted ball found Crawford, but he could not keep his shot down. An onrushing Henry did not help the 19-year-old, whose attempt summed up VFC’s evening.
The 2-0 win puts Forge in the lead in the CPL table going into the weekend, albeit with matches in hand. The Hammers jumped ahead of Cavalry and Pacific on 29 points from 18 games. Forge’s next game will be next Friday night at Cavalry in what will be a massive game for both teams.
As for Vancouver FC, they remain at the foot of the table with 13 points from 17 games. They return home for next weekend’s tilt tobattle the side right above them in the ranking, Valour.