Recap: Hammers Get the Job Done in Canadian Championship
It was a professional job from Forge as they got their first competitive win of the season against PLSQ side FC Laval. A brace from Noah Jensen and one from Woobens Pacius were enough for Forge to win 3-0 in the preliminary round of the Canadian Championship.
The hosts made six changes from their two-two stalemate with Cavalry in their Canadian Premier League opener on Saturday. For the exception of Manjrekar James, the backline was completely different from the first game. Less changes were made to the attack, with Pacius and Terran Campbell coming in for tonight’s game.
FC Laval, winners of last year’s PLSQ title, was playing their first competitive match of 2023, as their season doesn’t get underway until next month. It was also their first game in the Canadian Championship, becoming the third semi-pro team from Quebec to compete in the tournament after AS Blainville and CS Mont-Royal Outremont.
Forge started the game on the front foot as expected, creating several opportunities for themselves. The visitors were lucky to not be behind after seven minutes, when FC Laval keeper Karl Gouab was nearly pickpocketed by Pacius. Fortunately for the goalkeeper, Pacius’ deflection went just wide.
Despite spending the majority of the game fending off Forge’s chances, the PLSQ side did manage a couple of good chances. Shaloom Chimpuki picked off Jensen in the midfield, firing a shot that required a save from Triston Henry. Off the ensuing corner, Mamoudou Davilmar broke free, having an excellent chance to score. However, the midfielder’s effort went over the bar.
Forge continued to press for their goal, ultimately breaking FC Laval’s defense 10 minutes before the break. David Choiniere’s cross initially intercepted, but the ball fell to Jensen. The midfielder calmly slotted it past Gouab to score his second goal in as many outings.
That was the only goal of the opening period, as the Hammers had enough control of the game to merit the lead. Ten minutes after the interval, however, the game would be done and dusted.
Jensen took a free kick after Wandrille Lefevre fouled Pacius just outside of the box, withJensen’s effort deflecting off of Lefevre and into the goal. That doubled Forge’s lead.
Less than two minutes later, Pacius would again be fouled, but this time by Gouab in the FC Laval penalty area. The striker stepped up and converted his penalty down the middle.
From there, the match was well and truly over, with Forge never really put under any pressure after that. The home side had a few more chances to add to their advantage, but in the end, it would end 3-0 for Bobby Smyrniotis’ men.
Forge will face the winner of tomorrow’s clash between Atletico Ottawa and Halifax Wanderers. The pair will renew acquaintances after they drew 1-1 on Saturday at TD Place. The game on Wednesday night, however, will occur at York Lions Stadium as the Wanderers are not able to host the game.
Forge’s next game will be against the Wanderers on Saturday at Tim Hortons Field. The match will sandwich a triple header, as Sigma FC will take on Pro Stars in League1 Ontario Men before the Forge – Halifax game. Following the CPL match, Hamilton United Elite’s women’s side will host Electric City FC.
As for FC Laval, their PLSQ campaign will not get underway until the first weekend of May. They will play one more friendly before the game, and then they will attempt to defend their title.