May 20, 2024
  • May 20, 2024
Forge FC Tristan Borges

Brilliant Borges: Forge’s Title-Winner Off To Hot Start In 2024

By on May 1, 2024 0 503 Views

After securing Forge’s fourth championship win with a truly iconic Olimpico last year, Tristan Borges is tearing the league apart – again – in 2024’s opening stanza.

The Forge midfielder has racked up five goal contributions from his club’s opening three league matches, tallying two goals and three assists as Hamilton’s own opened the league with three straight wins.

Forge boss Bobby Smyrniotis has been more inclined to start Borges as a number ten in the middle of the park this year, a decision that seems to be paying off in dividends. While he’s quite a capable coming in from the flanks, his more direct role in attack seems to be hitting a sweet spot, particularly with the inaugural CPL MVP being flanked by the likes of David Choiniere and Beni Badibanga.

“I think the most important thing is [that] they’re quality players,” said Smyrniotis on the trio. “Our job as coaches is to make sure we don’t restrict that quality, but we want to get them into certain parts of the field where their best qualities can be shown.”

Forge FC Tristan Borges
Photo Credit: Jojo Yanjiao Qian / Forge FC

Smyrniotis did point out that Borges can more subtly drift out left or right from his more central position, allowing him to form devastating combinations with one of the most potent offenses in the league. Thus far, it’s a system that league opposition hasn’t quite found an answer for.

As pointed out by the CPL’s Alex Saunders, the red-hot start from Tristan is the best the league has seen from any player through a season’s opening three games, with Borges besting the record of goal contributions previously held between Alejandro Diaz and Marco Bustos back in 2022.

It’s also worth noting that Borges played through some lingering injuries last season, so we might just be seeing what a healthy Prime Borges looks like.

“If you look at him statistically, he’s one of the top attacking players in this league – and he hasn’t been here for the full five years that many others have,” adds the Forge head coach.

Borges has been recognized for the successful showings, racking up three straight Team of the Week nods from the league before picking up the CPL’s Player of the Month award today.

Even before the season kicked off, one guess who assisted Forge’s first goal against Chivas Guadalajara in the Champions Cup: yep, it was Borges.

Forge FC Tristan Borges
Photo Credit: John Jacques

The midfielder’s first season in the league saw Tristan tally an incredible thirteen goals and five assists, earning him not only a league title, but the league’s golden boot, Best U-21 Canadian Player, and the CPL’s MVP award, too. He also made history as the first player to score against the all other teams in the league.

He was then sold to Belgium’s Oud-Heverlee Leuven in a deal worth over $300,000 but, after struggling for playtime there, returned to Forge on loan and eventually made the move permanent. He made 8, 13, and 5 league goal contributions in the following seasons, with 2024 looking destined for a return to double digits.

Still, Bobby Smyrniotis would be the first to say it isn’t about the individual efforts: Forge’s identity lies in its team-first mentality, and that’s why over half of the 23-man squad found the net last year.

Forge will be back in action tonight in a 905 Derby cup clash against York United, and we’ve no doubt they’ll have circled Borges’ name as one man they’ll want to mark closely. Easier said than done.

Header Image Photo Credit: Jojo Yanjiao Qian / Forge FC

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