The 905 Derby may be coming to a close on Saturday, but with three wins in their last four encounters, Forge FC has already earned the edge in this Ontario rivalry over York9 FC, which comes to its conclusion with a fifth and final tilt at York Lions Stadium.
A 1-0 win just one week prior gave Forge FC the “win” in this battle for Ontario, but it wasn’t necessarily an assured victory. In fact, it took a controversial penalty to give the Hamiltonians that slim-margin win, which Tristan Borges tucked away to earn his 12th goal of the season – and, thus, to lead the Golden Boot race. Of course, if not for a Rodrigo Gattas penalty miss at the last second, perhaps that encounter would have ended 1-1.
So, the Nine Stripes will be feeling confident that a result is possible against Forge, who themselves will be wary of losing key contributors for Finals 2019 through yellow card accumulation. Kwame Awuah is suspended for this particular tilt, but with both Anthony Novak and Marcel Zajac on three yellow cards, and Bertrand Owundi suspended for Leg 1, perhaps Bobby Smyrniotis will hold his side back with one eye on the bigger prize, two weeks down the road.
Forge next heads back to Tim Hortons Field to play hosts to familiar competition in this second Finals 2019 preview tilt, with Cavalry FC coming to Hamilton to cap off Forge’s regular season campaign (Oct. 16, 7:00 p.m. ET/5 p.m. MT, available on OneSoccer). York9 has a pair of tilts to go in 2019 before their end-of-season home tilt against HFX Wanderers FC, with a trip to Winnipeg to take on Valour FC next on the docket (Oct. 16, 8:00 p.m. ET/7:00 p.m. CT, available on OneSoccer).
KEYS TO THE MATCH
Play the long game: Whether or not Forge will admit to it, this isn’t a match that this team needs to win unless the Fall title is a high-priority from within the club. Whether the Fall is won or lost, Forge is playing in Finals 2019, after all. So, the Hamilton-based outfit ought to play conservatively. Keep the risk of injuries as low as possible. Don’t accumulate yellow cards, or, worse yet, a multi-match red card offense. There’s absolutely no pressure on Forge here. Use it.
Take advantage of Key 1: If our first key to the match is true, then the second, naturally, gives York9 the window of opportunity needed to earn a win of their own. Forge will want to manage the long-term, but for York9, an all-out assault could yield a win, especially with their last performance instilling confidence in camp.
Finish your chances: It goes without saying, but York9 can’t afford to leave chances begging against Forge; they’ll come at a premium, regardless. The Nine Stripes managed five shots on goal in their last encounter with Forge, but couldn’t convert any … including a missed penalty at the last. This time around? Those chances have to find the back of the net.
York9 FC: Nathan Ingham; Morey Doner, Luca Gasparotto, Daniel Gogarty, Diyaeddine Abzi; Joe Di Chiara, Wataru Murofushi, Manny Aparicio; Rodrigo Gattas, Simon Adjei, Kyle Porter
Forge FC: Triston Henry; Dominic Samuel, David Edgar, Daniel Krutzen, Klaidi Cela; Elimane Cisse, Alexander Achinioti-Jonsson, Kyle Bekker; Chris Nanco, Anthony Novak, Marcel Zajac