Canadian Premier League Finals 2019 Leg 1 — Match #99 Forge FC vs. Cavalry FC October 26, 2019 — (3:30 p.m ET) Watch Live: OneSoccer.ca, CBC & CBCSports.ca
Canada is about to crown a new champion.
Leg 1 of the Canadian Premier League Finals kick off Saturday with Forge FC welcoming Spring and Fall season winners Cavalry FC to Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton.
Saturday marks the eighth meeting in 2019 between Forge and the Cavs – including their second-round Canadian Championship series – as the CPL’s top two teams duel it out again on the biggest stage.
Cavalry arrives as recent winners of the Fall campaign, a distinction they took away from Forge on the final day with a 3-1 win over Al Classico rivals FC Edmonton. That win followed a loss to Forge, which evened their season series at 3-1-3, and had put the league “double” in jeopardy for the Cavs.
That aforementioned win over Cavalry was Forge’s last league action, as they were idle last weekend, which means they’ll have been off for 10 days by the time Leg 1 kicks off. Forge lost Dom Samuel for Leg 1 after a collision with Jose Escalante cued a second yellow for the defender, ruling him out alongside centre back Bertrand Owundi, who picked up a fourth yellow in the previous match against Cavalry.
After Saturday, attention will shift to the deciding Leg 2 in Calgary on Nov. 2 (3:30 p.m. ET/1:30 p.m. MT, on OneSoccer) at ATCO Field in Spruce Meadows.
KEYS TO THE MATCH
Big game nerves: Saturday is a massive occasion for two teams full of first-year professionals. That being said, they’ve had their fair share of tough games in 2019. Forge played in the CPL’s inaugural game back in April and twice went down to Central America for Concacaf Nations League. Cavalry has Canadian Championship games against MLS opponents under their belt, too. Only problem? For the first time in 2019, there’s legitimate expectations. Both teams are neck-and-neck. It’s a toss-up. So don’t be the team that dropped the ball.
Forge’s backline troubles: Without Dom Samuel and Bertrand Owundi – suspensions stemming from matches against Cavalry – coach Bobby Smyrniotis will have to chop and change his backline in Leg 1, not to say he doesn’t have the players for it. Kwame Awuah will likely move to defensive midfield in place of the injured Alexander Achinioti Jonsson, further narrowing Smyrniotis’s selection options. Not ideal for your home match in a two-legged tie.
Malonga vs. Borges: Both Smyrniotis and Tommy Wheeldon Jr. rested their danger-men attackers ahead of Finals 2019, especially against one another in those home-and-home Fall matches. Dom Malonga has scored four goals against Forge, typically getting in behind on crosses and outmuscling defenders for tap-ins. Tristan Borges, meanwhile, will drag Cavalry’s backline around, potentially leaving chances for Anthony Novak or Kyle Bekker in the middle. Oh, and in the CPL golden boot race, Borges is at 12 and Malonga at 11. Finals goals count. Let’s go.
Forge FC: Triston Henry; Giuliano Frano, David Edgar, Daniel Krutzen, Kwame Awuah; Elimane Cisse, Kyle Bekker, David Choinière; Chris Nanco, Anthony Novak, Tristan Borges
Cavalry FC: Marco Carducci; Malyk Hamilton, Dominick Zator, Mason Trafford, Nathan Mavila; Elijah Adekugbe, Julian Büscher, Sergio Camargo; Nico Pasquotti, Jose Escalante, Dom Malonga