Forge FC on the cusp of earning historic Concacaf Champions League berth

2020 Concacaf League
Arcahaie FC vs. Forge FC
Dec. 1, 2020 at 7:50 p.m. ET
Estadio Olímpico Félix Sánchez, Dominican Republic
Watch Live: on TSN 2, and online at

Can Forge FC take that next step?

That’s the pressing question on the minds of Canadian soccer fans as the reigning CPL Champions get set to face Haitian club Arcahaie FC in the quarter-finals of the 2020 Concacaf League on Tuesday.

After earning historic wins over Club Deportivo Municipal Limeño in El Salvador during the preliminary round and Tauro FC in Panama in the round of 16, Forge can become the first CPL team to reach the final four of this continental competition with a victory on Tuesday.

It could be a history-making night on two fronts for Forge, as a win over Arcahaie would also see them advance to the 2021 Concacaf Champions League, becoming the first CPL outfit to qualify for the Concacaf region’s most prestigious club competition.

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The winner of Tuesday’s game advances to the Concacaf League semifinals in January when they will play either Deportivo Saprissa (Costa Rica) or Club Deportivo Marathón (Honduras).

Beyond that, it’s important to remember that qualification for the 2021 Concacaf Champions League is also at stake.

The winner of the Concacaf League, which features 22 teams from across North and Central America and the Caribbean, as well as the other three semi-finalists will qualify for next year’s Concacaf Champions League. Therefore, Forge will clinch a berth in next year’s Champions League if they beat Arcahaie FC.

If Forge loses on Tuesday, it would still have a shot at qualifying for the Champions League.

Concacaf recently announced a change to the format of the Concacaf League, and installed two “play-in” matches featuring the losers of the quarter-finals. The winners of those two matches, along with the four semi-finalists, will advance to the 2021 Concacaf Champions League.


  • What to expect from Arcahaie FC: It’s fair to say that Forge coach Bobby Smyrniotis isn’t taking the Haitians lightly, as he felt they were full value for their win over the favoured Waterhouse FC of Jamaica in the previous round. “It’s an energetic team, we’ve been able to see them play a few of their matches, they’re a team that brings a lot of energy to the field,” Smyrniotis told “A lot of the stuff that we saw against Waterhouse was what we’ve seen also before in them, just guys that can buzz around the park. They can defend well as a unit, look for the counter quite well, and that’s something they did quite well in that game.”
  • Injury report: Smyrniotis confirmed to that Klaidi Cela will miss his third Concacaf League match in a row on Tuesday, as the defender is still recovering from torn knee ligaments suffered in August. Marcel Zajac (wrist) and fellow forward Gabriel Balbinotti (Achilles) missed the last match against Tauro FC, but have recovered and are able to play against Arcahaie FC. Also, Forge defender Jonathan Grant is available for selection after being suspended for the Tauro match.
  • David Edgar’s last match?: In a bit of a surprise, David Edgar announced his retirement this week. The veteran defender confirmed that he plans to hang up his cleats at the conclusion of Forge’s Concacaf League run in 2020. His last game could come as soon as Tuesday’s quarter-final. If Forge loses, Edgar’s career will be extended by one week for the Concacaf Champions League “play-in” match. “It’s been very special (at Forge). When I met with Bobby and signed the deal I remember driving home from Hamilton to Kitchener and thinking, ‘this feels right,’ and it’d been a while since something felt right in football for me. I knew we were on the cusp of something special with Forge and with the CPL. The whole league, I’ve just been so proud of it and so proud to be a part of it,” Edgar told
  • Arcahaie in Concacaf League: Similar to Forge’s preliminary opponent Municipal Limeño of El Salvador, Arcahaie FC is making its debut into Concacaf competition this year. Arcahaie is just the second Haitian club to participate in the Concacaf League, following in the footsteps of AS Capoise, who competed in the 2019 tournament. Arcahaie qualified for this year’s Concacaf League based on their third-place finish in the group stage of the Concacaf Caribbean Club Championship held earlier this year. The Haitians booked their spot in the Concacaf League quarter-finals by earning a 3-1 road win over Jamaica’s Waterhouse FC in the round of 16. Arcahaie won their round of 16 contest by default when Belize’s Verdes FC pulled out due to several of their players testing positive for COVID-19.
  • Forge’s past continental experience: Forge competed in the 2019 Concacaf League, when it beat Guatemalan champions Antigua GFC in the preliminary round 2-1 on aggregate. Forge upset Honduran giants Olimpia 1-0 at Tim Hortons Field in the first leg of their round of 16 series, before dropping a 4-1 decision in the return match in San Pedro Sula. Many players from that Forge side are still with the team for this year’s run in the Concacaf League, including captain Kyle Bekker, starting goalkeeper Triston Henry, and veteran defender David Edgar.

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“Everyone knows the gravity of the situation and what it would mean for this club and our league as a whole if we can qualify for that next stage. We know what’s on the line, but I wouldn’t say there’s an everyday air and nervousness about it… This isn’t the first do-or-die game that we’ve played, so I think we’re going in there with, by no means a cockiness, but definitely a hunger to go in and achieve this and keep continuing to write history — another page in this Forge book that we’ve started the last two years.” – Forge captain Kyle Bekker

We know who the opponent is in front of us, and I think the most important thing is we know this could be a historic moment for Forge, the CPL, and Canada Soccer, but we always have to remember it’s the same thing on the other side of the ball with our opponent. For them, this is the biggest game they’re ever gonna play in their club history, and they’re looking to do the same thing there.Forge coach Bobby Smyrniotis

“We’ve already made history like three or four times (in Concacaf League). We know what it’s like to win. We know that feeling, and we’re looking to raise the bar every time we step on that pitch. That’s like the goal. That’s what we need to do.”Forge defender Dom Samuel