July 14, 2024
  • July 14, 2024
Forge FC David Choiniere

Forge 3-3 Vancouver FC: Eagles Swoop In Late

By on July 7, 2024 0 429 Views

In what was quite the dramatic match at Tim Hortons Field, Forge and Vancouver FC managed to come away with a point apiece. Friday night’s Canadian Premier League clash ended honours even as the sides drew 3-3 in a back-and-forth encounter.

Forge head coach Bobby Smyrniotis opted to make three changes from his side’s last game, which was a 4-3 defeat at Atletico Ottawa. All of the changes came at the back, which included rotating goalkeepers.

As for Vancouver FC, 2-1 winners over BC rivals Pacific in their last outing, they also saw three adjustments to their starting eleven. Two of the changes came on the right hand side, while Alejandro Diaz, whose loan spell with the club was recently extended, had a different strike partner for this match.

Despite a couple of half chances in the first 10 minutes, it was Forge who fell behind in the 12th minute of play. Vancouver FC went down the field with Paris Gee finding an open Gabriel Bitar. After taking a few touches, Bitar struck from distance, beating Jassim Koleilat with a stunning effort.

After going behind, Forge continued to look for their equalizer. In the 27th minute, Beni Badibanga lined up a free kick which required a diving stop from Vancouver FC’s captain Callum Irving, who was up to the task.

With a little less than 10 minutes to go before half time, Forge restored parity. Badibanga received a quickly-taken free kick, and lofted the ball to the opposite side of the six yard box. Defender Malik Owolabi-Belewu rose the highest, nodding the ball at Irving, who could not keep it out.

However, parity was not restored for very long. Just a few minutes later, the visitors retook the lead. Elage Bah did well to find Gee, who whipped in an excellent cross to Diaz. The Mexican, who had Owolabi-Belewu on his back, did very well to fire first-time, beating Koleilat with a well-taken shot.

Just minutes before the interval, Forge had a glorious chance to level the game again. A poor header from Gee fell straight to Owolabi-Belewu. However, this time, the scorer of Forge’s first goal could not keep his shot on target, pushing his shot wide.

Seven minutes into the second half, Vancouver FC would go down to ten men. A contested ball saw Vasco Fry foul Tristan Borges, with the former appearing to have kicked out at his opponent. Despite protests from several of the VFC players, the referee was firm in his decision, giving Fry his marching order.

The pressure continued from Forge, who stepped it up even more after going up a man. Kyle Bekker sent in a cross that was pushed into Borges by Irving. Borges tried to catch the Eagles’ keeper out, but Irving got back in time to deny him the leveller.

Minutes later, the pressure finally paid off. Bekker swung in a deep corner to Daniel Parra, who was lurking at the edge of the box. The full-back’s shot deflected off of Rocco Romeo, whose attempted block ultimately fooled his keeper. The ball went in, tying the match at two apiece.

With six minutes to play, Forge took the lead for the first time in the match. Bekker’s corner deflected out to David Choiniere at the top of the box. The winger hit a bullet shot past a helpless Irving to give his side the lead with minutes to play.

However, just as it seemed that Forge would walk away with all three points, they let in another at the beginning of stoppage time. Dominic Samuel tried to pass to Alexander Achiniotti-Jonsson, who was under pressure. The Swede failed to properly control the ball, with Bitar stealing it from him and capitalizing on the error. Bitar’s shot sent Koleilat the wrong way, with Vancouver FC getting a late equalizer for their efforts.

The game finished 3-3, with both sides having to be content with a point. Forge remains third going into the weekend on 18 points. They will host Toronto FC in the first leg of their Canadian Championship semi-final on Wednesday. Their next league match will be the Sunday of that same week at home to Pacific.

For Vancouver FC, they hold onto second place, picking up four points from their two away games. Next up for them is a return home, where they will await league leaders Atletico Ottawa, who could increase the gap to nine points between now and then.

Header Image Photo Credit: Jojo Yanjiao Qian

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