CONCACAF League — Round of 16 (Leg 2)
C.D. Olimpia vs. Forge FC (0-1 agg.)
August 29, 2019 — Estadio Olímpico Metropolitano (10 p.m. ET)
Available on TSN 2
Forge FC will take the Canadian Premier League abroad once more on Thursday as they travel to Honduras to try and exorcise some Canadian soccer demons. With a spot in the CONCACAF League quarter-finals on the line, Forge will try to hang onto the 1-0 aggregate lead over C.D. Olimpia they earned in last Thursday’s first leg back in Hamilton.
The Canadian side, of course, has their slim lead courtesy of Chris Nanco’s fourth-minute goal, followed by a heroic penalty save by Forge keeper Triston Henry to preserve a clean sheet.
Of note: this match will not be played in Olimpia’s home stadium in Tegucigalpa, but rather in San Pedro Sula — the site of the Canadian men’s national team’s infamous 8-1 loss to Honduras in 2012 (a match in which Forge defender David Edgar played).
The CPL outfit will enter with perhaps the most confidence they’ve had all season, though, riding a nine-game unbeaten streak in all competitions. On Sunday they climbed into first place in the league table, dispatching Cavalry FC in a tight 1-0 contest to cement themselves as frontrunners for the Fall championship.
Olimpia also played over the weekend, winning 2-0 on the road over UPNFM to go second in the Honduran Liga Nacional. They have four wins and a draw in the new Apertura season; in fact, their loss in Leg 1 of this tie was their first defeat of the season.
With their 1-0 lead, Forge would advance from this tie with any win or draw in San Pedro Sula. They’d also advance on away goals with any one-goal defeat other than another 1-0. Of course, a two-goal defeat would send Olimpia through, and another 1-0 scoreline sends us to penalties. The winning side will go on to play either Comunicaciones or Guastatoya, both from Guatemala, in the quarter-finals.
Forge’s return to CPL action comes next Wednesday, when they’ll head to Canada’s west coast for a clash with Pacific FC (10:00 p.m. ET, 7:00 p.m. PT, on OneSoccer).
KEYS TO THE MATCH
- Reinforcements: The Olimpia that Forge saw last week in Hamilton is not the Olimpia they’ll see on Thursday. They took a depleted 17-man squad to Canada for Leg 1, with several visa issues and international responsibilities keeping a number of key contributors out of the lineup. This time around, Olimpia will have first-choice defenders Maylor Nuñez and Jonathan Paz, plus the eight talented young players who just helped Honduras to a silver medal at the Pan Am Games in Peru. This new-look opponent will be a challenge for Forge to plan for, since it’s hard to tell what changes they might make.
- Go for the win: Forge knows they have the upper hand in this tie, having kept a clean sheet at home, but they shouldn’t be content to play out a draw. In the CONCACAF League, the top six clubs qualify for the CONCACAF Champions League, and every win is another three points that go toward those rankings. If Forge can win outright in Honduras, they’ll have six points banked, putting them in a very good position to get into the continent’s premier competition, even if they lose in the quarters.
- Surging backline: Part of the reason for Forge’s recent success has been the emergence of their defensive quartet as a veritable brick wall. They’ve conceded once in their last four games, including a clean sheet on Sunday achieved by smothering Cavalry completely. Right-back Jonny Grant seems to be breaking out, scoring on Sunday in a great all-around performance. David Edgar, especially, is well familiar with these Central American road trips, so look for him to be giving the orders at the back on Thursday.
Forge FC: Triston Henry; Kwame Awuah, Dominic Samuel, David Edgar, Jonathan Grant; Kyle Bekker, Alexander Achinioti-Jonsson, Elimane Cisse; Kadell Thomas, Anthony Novak, Tristan Borges
CD Olimpia: Edrick Menjivar; Johnny Leveron, Ever Alvarado, Jonathan Paz, Maylor Nuñez; Cristian Maidana, Rembrandt Flores, Jorge Alvarez, Carlos Pineda, Jose Reyes; Jorge Benguche
HEAD TO HEAD
August 22- Forge FC 1-0 C.D. Olimpia
Tristan Borges – 7 goals (Forge FC)
Junior Lacayo – 2 goals (C.D. Olimpia)