HIGHLIGHTS: Forge FC takes commanding 3-1 aggregate lead in Concacaf League opener

Forge FC drew first blood in their Concacaf League preliminary round tie on Thursday night, topping Salvadoran outfit CD FAS 3-1 at Estadio Cuscatlán in San Salvador to take a lead in their two-legged series.

Forge entered the match shorthanded, with coach Bobby Smyrniotis and captain Kyle Bekker both missing out due to suspensions picked up in the final game of the club’s 2020 Concacaf League campaign. Still, acting gaffer Kyriakos Selaidopoulos deployed a strong side, with Tristan Borges, Mo Babouli, and David Choinière leading the line and Kwame Awuah wearing the captain’s armband.

The game was surprisingly wide open from the outset for a knockout match, with both clubs looking to play quite direct in the opening stages. Forge were the first to break through, as some good footwork in the right half-space from Mo Babouli allowed him to find Tristan Borges at the top of the box, and Borges beat the goalkeeper with a delightful left-footed low strike back to the far post to make it 1-0.

FAS responded almost immediately, though, as they took control of the next five minutes with a few subsequent waves of pressure. They were rewarded with a corner kick, and they managed to catch Forge off-guard a little with a short pass routine leading to a cross from higher up the pitch, which Erivan Flores managed to deflect into the goal.

That wouldn’t be all for the first half, though; after a few slower phases which allowed Forge to build up possession and calm things down a bit, they managed to get into the attacking third around the 25th minute. Kwame Awuah hunted down a loose ball at the left side of the box, and he cut it back for Borges, whose attempt deflected off the keeper and landed right at the feet of Babouli for a tap-in to restore Forge’s lead before halftime.

The second half unfolded even more in Forge’s favour: Just five minutes after the interval, Awuah again ran onto a ball in space on the left flank, and he hit a wide-open Borges with a perfect cutback pass. Borges, slowing things down for half a second, slid it across to Choinière, who finished in full stride from near the penalty spot.

Forge remained comfortable protagonists the rest of the contest, pushing onward with possession and looking to create from out wide, although the physical nature of the game certainly took its toll with a few key players — including the entire front three — leaving before the 75-minute mark (hopefully as precautionary measures with the second leg upcoming).

FAS had a few dangerous chances in the final 15 minutes or so, but perhaps the greatest hiccup came around the 87th minute, when the floodlights at the stadium cut out to cause a lengthy delay.

After the lights came back on, the Canadians held on to the 3-1 scoreline, which will put them in the driver’s seat heading into next Tuesday’s second leg in the very same stadium (10:15 pm ET, on OneSoccer). This being, technically, Forge’s “home” leg of the tie, FAS will be mildly consoled by having scored an away goal, but nonetheless Forge take a commanding lead into the decider.



16′ — Tristan Borges (Forge FC)
21′ — Erivan Flores (CD FAS)
25′ — Mo Babouli (Forge FC)
50′ — David Choinière (Forge FC)


43′ — Yellow: Tristan Borges (Forge FC)
89′ — Yellow: Erivan Flores (CD FAS)