WINNIPEG – It’s the Fall season in the Canadian Premier League, but let’s call it a spring ahead for Forge FC.
A 3-1 away victory over Valour FC moved them to first place in the league table at a time where the club is looking to keep rolling at all levels of competition. The win is made more impressive by the accounts of the Forge players who, despite a 1-0 lead at halftime, did not feel they had played near their best.
“I think we were moving in spurts,” Forge head coach Bobby Smyrniotis said. “When we did do what we planned everything worked out the way we wanted.”
Once again Anthony Novak was the difference maker in Winnipeg. The forward scored twice, including the eventual match winner for Forge. He had the opener in a 2-0 victory at IG Field back in the CanPL Spring season.
“Started out with a good breakfast, so I knew today was going to go well,” Novak said on the OneSoccer post-match show. “We had a good battle in Guatemala that I think gave everybody a standard for the compete level, in a lot of moments we brought that today.”
Michael Petrasso scored one back for the hosts from the penalty spot. But Like Novak said, in the moments, his team brought it. Mere seconds after Valour made it a 2-1 game, Forge went the other way and Chris Nanco silenced a crowd still celebrating a goal for the home side.
“Great to see (the guys) get back on the front foot,” Smyrniotis said.
“Kudos to Chris, (Frano) made a good play to win the ball in midfield, it just fell to me and I gave it to Chris and said “here you go, you do the rest,” Novak said, adding an assist to go with his brace on the insurance marker.
The victory for Forge FC extends the unbeaten streak to five matches across all competitions. And the three points on the road to Valour FC could go a long way towards not only taking momentum back to the CONCACAF League, but to finish top of the table in the Fall season.
Cavalry FC and FC Edmonton drew 0-0 on Friday night and Pacfic FC defeated York9 2-0 Saturday afternoon, leaving Forge at the top of the table when the final whistle went in Winnipeg.
“You’re only as good as the three points you can pick up and what happened earlier today or yesterday is a bonus but we have to make sure we are doing out end,” Smyrniotis said. “Hopefully at the end of the year, we are sitting where we want to be.”
The Hamilton side have been no slouch at any stretch of the first year national league. Desptite a runner up performance in the Spring Season and a 4-1-1 start to the Fall, the club feels they are just hitting their stride with a run of important matches ahead.
“It’s important that we pick up another gear because there’s a lot of consequences if we don’t,” Novak said. “The top of the table is tight and this was a big game for us to put ourselves in front.”
Forge plays three matches in a span of a week to close out the month of August. It starts Aug. 22 against C.D. Olimpia of Honduras in the CONCACAF League before hosting Cavalry on the 25th and played the return match with Olimpia on the 29th.
But Smyriotis and his team are staying in the moment, and hoping the results continue.
“We’ve got a big schedule coming up ahead of us with a lot of games so it’s always great to get these three points and get head of the (league) table and prepare for what’s next.”
EDGAR SETTLING IN
While he made a late appearance in the CONCACAF League, Saturday’s win over Valour FC marked the Canadian Premier League debut of former Newcastle United centre-back David Edgar.
“It was good, got my legs under me and I live for game days so I’m delighted to get my debut in the CPL.”
One thing Edgar has enjoyed so far is getting the time to regain his form with a team that was already a contender in the league. His ability and experience will be an asset moving forward, but for now, the veteran hasn’t had the pressure of playing the role of hero.
“It makes it easier, I can just get my feet going and get back to full fitness and then hit the ground running when the time comes and I am called upon to start matches again.”
It’s also been a motivating factor for Edgar, a mainstay in the Canadian National team when healthy. Knowing that he was signing on with a team full of ambition and poised for a run in both the league and continental competition.
“They work hard for each other, listen to the coach and implement his style of play,” Edgar said of his new teammates. “I’m glad I get to play a part with them, maybe add my experience, some leadership and we’ll see if we can go on a run.”