HAMILTON – Forge FC’s debut in North American continental competition ended in dramatic fashion, with the CPL’s entrant in the CONCACAF League taking down Guatemala champions Antigua FC 2-1 on Thursday at Tim Hortons Field by way of a last-gasp goal by David Choiniere, giving the Hamilton side an important advantage heading to the away leg in their preliminary round matchup.
Forge struggled to break down their Central American opponent through the first half, despite long stretches of possession Antigua, meanwhile, looked confident, holding a strong block and looking to score on the counter. That goal came after 33 minutes when a blocked in-swinging Antigua freekick fell to Edgar Pacheco outside of the box. The Mexican forward smashed a looping 30-yard strike over Triston Henry, opening the scoring and grabbing a crucial away goal.
Forge stormed out of the blocks after the halftime interval quickly evening up the score. A corner swerved towards a crowd around the Antigua ‘keeper, with Forge defender Daniel Krutzen nodding down a first goal in continental competition from a CPL side.
Play started to open up after 70 minutes with both sides getting their best chances of the match. Antigua nearly took a lead before Bertrand Owundi blocked a shot destined for net.
Forge would complete the comeback late on in injury time when substitute David Choiniere hopped through the defensive line and laced a left-footed volley for the first-leg win.
Forge has no CPL action over the weekend, with their 905 Derby against York9 FC rescheduled from this Friday to Sunday, September 8. These two sides will meet in Guatemala for the second leg of the preliminary round tie, which will decide who goes through to the CONCACAF League round of 16, next Thursday, August 8.
33′ – Edgar Pacheco (Antigua GFC)
46′ – Daniel Krutzen (Forge FC)
90+1′ – David Choiniere (Forge FC)
60′ Yellow – Bertrand Owundi (Forge FC)
Three Key Performers
Kyle Bekker (Forge FC)
Forge captain Bekker showed his veteran leadership as a key transition piece for the home side, shaking off swarming defenders and laying off some key passes before setting up his team’s equalizing effort.
Edgar Pacheco (Antigua GFC)
Antigua’s goalscorer made due with one of their only uncontested efforts of the half, beautifully sailing an away goal into Forge’s net. Just how important was Pacheco’s away goal? We’ll see in Guatemala.
Daniel Krutzen (Forge FC)
Forge’s versatile defender cancelled out the above goal with a bit of clutch attacking know-how, getting on the end of the ball in an unpredictable attacking sequence. Krutzen also had a tidy game at the back, limiting Antigua to just a handful of looks from his side of defence.