Cavalry 1-2 Forge: Hammers Hold On, Will Host Final
In what is seen by many as the most intense matchup in the Canadian Premier League, Forge held their nerve to defeat Cavalry 2-1 at Spruce Meadows in the first semifinal.
Coming off the back of an impressive 3-0 success over Pacific, Cavalry is unbeaten in their last nine, winning eight of them. Remarkably, coach Tommy Wheeldon Jr. decided to start the same eleven as last Saturday. The Cavs had lost just once at home this season: a 2-0 reverse to Atletico Ottawa back in July.
For Forge, they have lost their last two, the more recent one being a 1-0 defeat to Ottawa at home last Saturday. Only one change was made by Bobby Smyrniotis, bringing in Noah Jensen in place of Woobens Pacius. The Hammers seldom defeated Cavalry across their four head-to-heads this season, losing 3-0 on their last trip to Spruce Meadows.
Cavalry started this match with an opportunity three minutes in when Ali Musse crossed it in to Sergio Camargo, whose header went just wide.
The home side continued to look threatening, getting their first shot on target in the sixth minute via Musse. His shot, however, was saved by Triston Henry.
Forge’s first meaningful effort on target came midway through the opening half. Afforded the space to shoot, Jensen decided to let fly. It was a fairly routine save for Marco Carducci.
The visitors hit the front foot via a corner. Kyle Bekker swung the ball in, with Carducci coming out to punch the ball. He was successful, but instead punched the ball on Jesse Daley, into the net.
Bekker was again at it closer to halftime. The Forge skipper ran at the Cavalry defense, going for goal. His attempt went wide in the end.
Five minutes into the second half, Forge doubled their advantage. Rezart Rama smartly flicked the ball back to Jensen, who in turn found Bekker at the edge of the Cavalry box. As he loves to do, Bekker made no mistake, hitting it first-time past Carducci with a stunning strike.
Cavalry, trying to get back into the match, attacked off a Forge giveaway. In the end, Camargo’s shot was defected and easily saved by Henry.
With a quarter of the game to go, Camargo again came close to scoring for Cavalry. After Alexander Achiniotti-Jonsson flufffed a cross, Camargo struck at point-blank range, rattling the crossbar and staying out. It was the Cavs’ closest chance of the game at that point.
Forge went right down the field and nearly ended the match. Rama again was involved, finding Bekker in the box. The skipper’s shot went straight to Carducci, who denied the Forge number 10, to keep his team in the game.
With ten minutes to go, Cavalry found a lifeline. Musse’s corner found Joe Mason, with the substitute, who just came onto the field, beating Henry at his near post to halve the deficit.
The hosts pushed for an equalizer late on, but bar a couple of half chances, they failed to properly test Henry again after the goal.
It ended 2-1 in Forge’s favour, which means they will be hosting the Canadian Premier League final on 28 October. For Cavalry, the road does not end here. They will be back in action next Saturday as Pacific makes the trip to Spruce Meadows for the second semifinal. The winner will meet Forge at Tim Hortons Field the following Saturday for a chance at the North Star Cup.