Recap: Vancouver FC Claims First Ever Home Win Against Forge
It was a gutsy performance from the CPL’s newest club, Vancouver FC, as they topped Forge 2-0 on Tuesday night. Both goals came in the first half, with Afsheen Ghotbi’s side producing an excellent defensive showing.
The hosts came into the match off the back of a 1-0 narrow defeat to Atletico Ottawa on Saturday in the nation’s capital. There were four changes to the starting eleven, all coming in the more attacking positions. Sixteen-year-old TJ Tahid was among the starters as a more youthful VFC side started the match.
As for Forge, their most recent outing was a 2-0 reverse in Winnipeg against Valour on Friday. As such, Bobby Smyrniotis made four changes to the starting 11. The most notable starter was Khadim Kane, as the 18-year-old got his first start for the club.
As they often do, Forge began the game on the front foot. In the fifth minute, the Hammers found the post. A cross from Kwasi Poku was deflected up in the air before falling to David Choiniere. The winger went for goal first-time, with his shot smashing against the woodwork.
The visitors’ best chance of the match came in the 25th minute. Off a free kick about 30 yards from goal, Forge captain Kyle Bekker went for goal. His shot was excellent and seemed destined to go in, only for Vancouver goalkeeper and captain Callum Irving to come across and make a stunning save. He tipped the ball onto the bar, with it falling back out. As Dominic Samuel tried to convert the follow-up, one of his teammates got in the way of his shot, resulting in the chance going begging.
Forge hit the post once again shortly past the half-hour mark. Choiniere found Aboubacar Sissoko with an excellent pass. The midfielder drove to goal, firing a powerful strike against the post. Once again, another Forge chance going under the drain.
Less than a minute later, Vancouver FC went in front. Ibrahim Bakare did well to beat his marker on the right wing. He played the ball forward to Gabriel Bitar, who toed it into the box. As Samuel slipped, Tahid was able to have a free shot on goal, which the youngster took full advantage of with a calm finish.
Minutes later, it was 2-0. A careless backpass from Kane played in Ameer Khadim. The forward took his time as he rounded Forge keeper Triston Henry before slotting the ball in past a diving Alexander Achiniotti-Jonsson.
Bitar had a half chance in the final meaningful action before halftime, but it was a fairly routinal save from Henry.
Minutes into the second half, Terran Campbell got his head on a Forge corner. The attacker’s free header failed to test Irving as the ball went over the bar. Given how free Campbell was, he should have done better.
That would be Forge’s best chance in the second stanza, as the Hamiltonians never really created any clear-cut opportunities. There were plenty of shots in the second half from them, but not enough on target.
In total, Forge outshot Vancouver FC 17-9 in the match, yet both sides finished with four shots on target. The Hammers also had more than double the number of completed passes (403-163), but in the end, the most important scoreline went against them.
With the win, Vancouver FC picked up their second ever competitive victory. They still remain bottom of the league on ten points, but they are now just two points out of the playoff spots. They make the trip to Winnipeg next weekend as they battle Valour. A win at IG Field will lift the west coast club out of last place.
For Forge, the 2-0 reverse was their third in a row and fourth in their last five outings. They are also winless in that stretch. The defending CPL champions still sit third going into next weekend, where they welcome Atletico Ottawa to Tim Hortons Field.