Forge Locks In Champions League Dates
Concacaf has officially locked in the dates and locations for the 2022 Champions League Round of 16, which will feature a Canadian Premier League side for the first time in league history.
While teams like New York City FC and Cavaly AS had to shift to temporary venues for their home legs, Forge FC will officially be playing its home match from Tim Hortons Field.
Drawn against Liga MX giant Cruz Azul, the Hamilton-based side will host the opening leg on Wednesday, February 16 with a kickoff time set for 8:00 PM, with its away trip to the Estadio Azteca set for Thursday, February 24.
They aren’t the only Canadian side in the competition, with CF Montreal set to face Santos Laguna in the same round.
Prior to Forge’s opening leg, the Hamilton-based stadium is set to host a World Cup Qualifier between Canada and the USA, which is still set to go despite the province’s ongoing lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Forge qualified for the premier continental competition after a stellar campaign in the Concacaf League, which saw them score the second-most goals out of any team with 13. The hammers reached the semi-final stage against Honduran side FC Motagua after dispatching Santos de Guapiles, Independiente, and CD FAS.
Related: Bekker Aiming For Champions League Heights With Forge FC
The three-time CPL finalists will be supreme underdogs in the upcoming matchup against Cruz Azul, with Estadio Azteca frequently described as being one of the most hollowed grounds in the world of football. The Liga MX side won the Concacaf Champions League in 2014, defeating Deportivo Toluca through a penalty shootout after two legs.
It had won the previous form of the tournament – the Champions’ Cup – five times between 1969 and 1997.
The winners of the Round of 16 will advance to a quarter-final home-and-away series set for March, though Forge FC would need to be giant killers in order to reach that stage.
The Hamilton-based side made its first new player announcement earlier today, officially announcing the arrival of Pacific FC striker Terran Campbell. The transfer news had been scooped by his former club in the days prior, with the Tridents revealing that both Terran Campbell and Alessandro Hojabrpour would be joining the hammers this season.