Forge FC picked up a crucial rivalry win in the Spring Season standings on Saturday. A 2-0 result was a great reward for a team that was up against an organized York 9 FC side and a rain delay that was nearly 90 minutes long. They also had to contend with whatever this is:
Reasons not to visit North York #248 pic.twitter.com/KTBqMJDoQA
— Barton St. Battalion (@BartonBattalion) May 25, 2019
The first half was a riot of chances for both sides. The narrow pitch at York Lions Stadium made the match feel a little like a basketball game, with the sides trading chances. Tristan Borges, Kyle Bekker, Anthony Novak and Emery Welshman all came close for Forge FC. Goalkeeper Nathan Ingham was equal to the task each time, making five saves on the night. Bekker in particular had a great game, pulling the strings and orchestrating attack for the visiting side. He had a looping bicycle kick effort touched over near the end of the first half.
York 9 had chances of their own, and Forge FC goalkeeper Triston Henry made several good stops to keep things level through the first 45 minutes. Henry made 5 saves for the clean sheet. York 9’s Rodrigo Gattas was dangerous on the night, forcing a good save with a first-half volley.
CPL’s First Weather Delay
When the rain started falling in the second half, the match moved ahead, players and fans both getting drenched in the downpour. Around the 60th minute, the referee halted play for player safety. The thunder and lightning continued for seventy or so minutes. After nearly an hour and a half in the locker rooms, players re-took the field to close out the game.
Unfortunately, security at the stadium sent fans away, saying the match was concluded. Later, a small number of fans did re-enter, but many went home and were disappointed to find out they’d missed the conclusion of the match.
Some of the confusion could be attributed to growing pains as a new league and particularly a new host venue. York Lions Stadium was hosting their first ever Canadian Premier League match.
Closing the Gap
When the teams re-took the field, it was all Forge FC. Kyle Bekker continued to impress after having a slow start to the season, setting up substitute Chris Nanco for a goal barely five minutes after the restart. Nanco broke free on a counter-attack and poked a left-footed shot home.
Less than ten minutes later it was Bekker again, laying a set piece back toward Nanco from the edge of the 18-yard box. Nanco stepped over the ball, leaving Tristan Borges free to fire past Nathan Ingham in the York 9 goal. The two goals gave Forge FC a rivalry win and three crucial points.
York 9 head coach Jim Brennan felt that his side had a real chance to win the game before the rain delay, but said that the stoppage “took the wind out of our sails.” York 9 sit at the bottom of the spring standings with two points from four games.
At the other end of the table, another win keeps Forge FC within touching distance of the league leaders Cavalry FC. The Calgary side are a perfect 5-0 thus far, though, and may already be out of reach. The two sides don’t meet again in league play until June 22nd.
Another Quick Turnaround
Forge can be pleased with the two results they got while Head Coach Bobby Smyrniotis served his two match touchline ban. The gaffer will be back on the bench for Wednesday’s double-dip match against FC Edmonton. With Forge FC having won the first determining match against Valour FC, and FC Edmonton having also beaten the Winnipeg side earlier in May, Wednesday’s match hold serious implications for CONCACAF league play.
CONCACAF League is a qualifying tournament for CONCACAF Champions League. It is one of two possible routes for Canadian Premier League clubs into the continental competition, the other being the Canadian Championship. If Forge FC are able to secure points against FC Edmonton at home on Wednesday, they would find themselves on six points with two matches remaining in the tournament-within-the-season.
The Spring Standings are also a big prize for Wednesday’s match. FC Edmonton have played only three matches to Forge’s six. A win for the Eddies could put them within touching distance of the top of the table. With so much at stake, expect the match to be an instant classic.