Pacific 0-1 Forge: Gazdov Error Gives Hammers Three Points
In its first away trip of the season, Forge FC will return to Ontario with three points after defeating Pacific 1-0. It is also Forge’s first league win of the campaign, while Pacific falls to their first defeat across all competitions.
The hosts made just two changes from their 1-1 draw with Cavalry last weekend: Eric Lajeunesse was replaced by Thomas Meilleure-Giguere at center back, while Easton Ongaro started up front with Adonijah Reid dropping to the bench.
As for Forge, who also drew 1-1 at home last weekend, they made five changes to their starting lineup. Captain Kyle Bekker made his first start of 2023, with Alexander Achinioti-Jonsson, Ashtone Morgan, Woobens Pacius, and Terran Campbell also returning to the starting eleven.
Like their last game, Forge hit the crossbar moments into the game. This time, it was Aboubacar Sissoko who saw his effort smash the frame of the goal.
However, the visitors would get their goal shortly thereafter. A marauding run from Bekker saw him play the ball to Morgan on the left wing. The Forge left-back played in a pinpoint cross which was met by Pacius. The striker’s header went straight to Pacific keeper Emil Gazdov, who could not hold on to the ball.
Bobby Smyrniotis’ side continued to push for chances in the opening half, having seven shots in total. That said, Pacific did create their opportunities as well, but failed to have a shot on target from five efforts in the opening stanza.
Forge started the second half with possession, holding onto the ball with ease. Yet, just minutes in, they nearly gave away a sloppy equalizer. Manjrekar James played a heavy pass back to Triston Henry, who did well to clear the ball and avoid conceding.
The Tridents continued to press for their equalizer, mustering 10 shots in the second half (15 in total). Of those opportunities, they only had two shots on target across the whole 90 minutes. Perhaps their best opportunity came in the 64th minute as Manny Aparicio’s curling effort just went past the post.
The home side also came close in the dying moments, as Forge substitute Malik Owolabi-Belewu cut out a pass to Reid. Fortunately for Owolabi-Belewu, his misjudged interception just missed the goal, going wide for a corner. Reid had another massive chance on the ensuing set piece, but Jordan Hamilton got his body in the way to deny the Pacific substitute.
Forge’s maiden league of the campaign win puts them level with Valour at the top of the table with five points from three games. The two clubs, alongside Cavalry and HFX Wanderers, are all still unbeaten thus far. As for Pacific, they remain tied with fellow British Columbian side Vancouver FC, with four points from three outings.
After starting their season with four successive home games, Pacific will head to the nation’s capital for their first away game next weekend. A return to TD Place – where their season ended in 2022 – is on the cards as they face Atletico Ottawa.
As for Forge, their next game will once again be in Ontario, as rival York United is the next opponent. In what will be the first 905 Derby of the season, many eyes will be at York Lions Stadium next Friday night.