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HAMILTON – David Choiniere was told his time would come.
Forge FC’s platooning attacking option had his number called off the bench again on Thursday as Bobby Smurniotis looked to his substitutes to deliver a go-ahead goal in their CONCACAF League preliminary qualifying first leg tilt with Guatemala’s Antigua GFC.
Goalless but impressive in his few appearances this season, Choiniere has come to the assistance of one of the CPL’s most lethal attacks, competing with the likes of Kyle Bekker, Tristan Borges, Emery Welshman and Kadell Thomas for playing time.
His time came on Thursday when he delivered arguably the club’s biggest goal to date – an injury-time winner in Forge’s massive mid-summer climax, giving the home side a 2-1 advantage.
“Obviously it’s a huge moment for the club but I would have wanted to score my goal sooner than that,” Choiniere joked.
“I got a pass from [Kyle] Bekker, I saw Kwame [Awuah] on the overlap, he found me back and in the back of the net.”
It’s been a long time coming for the former Montreal Impact midfielder, who has just 338 minutes of gametime in league play.
“We have a lot of depth in the team,” Smyrniotis said post-match. “That’s something I believe in.
“One thing I’ve told the guys, David included, is we’re all going to play a big part in this.
“It always helps when something like this happens today because it reiterates what you’re preaching.”
Forge’s attacking depth has proven to be a useful tool for Smrynotis recently; Anthony Novak helped create their lone goal in Edmonton last week. Kadell Thomas came off the bench and scored, well, that goal the week prior, which came just a few yards from where Choiniere scored his first on the season.
“You just need to keep having conversations with the players [who aren’t playing], keeping things positive in training … making sure they know that [you believe in them],” Smyrniotis continued.
“It’s great for David to get his first goal in the moment he did. He’s been playing well and training well.”
That late goal and, by extension, Choiniere’s contribution proves to be massive for Forge, who are the first CPL side to compete in a continental competition.
After coughing up an away goal in the first half, Forged looked in danger of heading to Guatemala without an advantage – a difficult ask for the side’s first foray into the tournanamnt, let alone the challenge of playing in Central America.
“The confidence from that goal is huge,” Choiniere continued. “It’s going to be tough over there but we’ll be ready.
“Just keep on working you’ll have your chances,” Choiniere continued. “I knew my opportunity would come. I took my chance and it worked out.
“I’m happy with my year, though. This season is a process.”
That “process” will continue on Thursday, August 8, when Forge leave Canadian soil for the first time this regular season in Guatemala.