July 14, 2024
  • July 14, 2024
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Forge 2-1 Toronto FC: TFC Receives Hammer Blow

By on July 11, 2024 0 515 Views

After beating CF Montreal in the last round, Forge picked up where they left off in the Canadian Championship: another MLS team falls on the sword as Toronto FC was defeated 2-1 in Hamilton.

Forge’s last match came on Friday night in a dramatic 3-3 draw against Vancouver FC. Coach Bobby Smyrniotis made three changes to the team’s starting eleven, with one being forced. Daniel Parra picked up two yellow cards in the competition, and was suspended for the semi-final opening leg.

For Toronto FC, they were defeated 4-0 away to Columbus Crew on the weekend. On a disappointing run, TFC head coach John Herdman opted for five changes in his side’s starting lineup. Like Forge, the MLS side switched goalkeepers ahead of the match.

It was TFC who had the first big chance of the match coming just five and a half minutes in. The club’s two Italian stars combined, as Federico Bernardeschi found Lorenzo Insigne in the box. Remarkably, the latter missed from point blank range, despite his shot going unchallenged.

Forge made their opponents pay five minutes later. After Bernardeschi was dispossessed, Beni Badibanga collected the ball and easily moved past the Toronto FC number 10. Catching goalkeeper Luka Gavran well off his line, Badibanga shot from inside his own half, scoring from his own half.

Things got even better for the hosts, as just three minutes later, the lead was doubled. David Choiniere and Tristan Borges combined on a give-and-go, with the former finding Kwasi Poku in the box. A flick from Forge’s utility man deflected off Shane O’Neill and in, with Poku now scoring against two MLS sides in the club’s cup run.

Toronto FC continued to try and break down the Forge backline. Bernardeschi had a go in the 28th minute from distance, but Christopher Kalongo easily gathered it. It was one of six shots in the first half for the away side, and their only attempt on target.

Forge started the second half with a few great chances themselves. Six minutes in, Choiniere managed to get a shot off that hit the post, but stayed out. Bernardeschi replied for Toronto moments later by cutting in and firing a hard shot that went just wide.

Kalongo came up big almost immediately after Bernardeschi’s shot. The Toronto FC captain found Prince Owusu in the box with an inch perfect cross. However, Owusu’s header was kept out by the Forge shot stopper.

TFC really turned things up in the second half in an attempt to get back into the game and the tie. Insigne was again involved as he made his way into the box and shot. Like the first half, his attempt went just wide of the mark.

Forge caught TFC on the counter a couple minutes later, Choiniere plays in Bekker, whose shot required a save by Gavran. On the ensuing corner, Bekker played the perfect cross to Poku. The latter’s header hit the post.

In the 77th minute, Badibanga cut in and took a shot from the top of the box. This required an acrobatic stop from Gavran, who was still busy late on in the match to keep his side in it.

With a few minutes of normal time to go, Toronto FC get their goal. Off an Insigne corner, Owusu’s header was impressively saved by Kalongo. The TFC striker did not stop there though, following up on his initial shot by poking the ball past the Forge keeper to give his side what could be a vital away goal.

After Kalongo made another save on Insigne, Toronto FC had a massive chance to tie things up. A cross into the box was headed to DeAndre Kerr. The TFC substitute beat Kalongo to the ball, but his header went the wrong side of the post.

The match ended 2-1 in Forge’s favour, who will head into the second leg in late August with a narrow advantage. Before then, the Hammers are back in action on Sunday night when they host Pacific. For Toronto FC, they return home for Saturday’s tilt with the Philadelphia Union.

Header Image Photo Credit: Jojo Yanjiao Qian

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