Forge FC vs. Pacific FC: CPL champs look to keep pace with front-running Cavalry
John Molinaro, Director of Content (@JohnMolinaro)
2020 CPL regular season (The Island Games) — Match #11 Forge FC vs. Pacific FC August 22, 2020 at 4:00 p.m ET/5:00 p.m. AT
UPEI Artificial Turf Field in Charlottetown, PEI Watch Live: OneSoccer.caandCBC
Over to you, Forge FC.
Cavalry FC put down a marker on Thursday night with a 2-0 win over FC Edmonton in the latest installment of Al Classico. With the win, the Cavs assumed sole possession of first place in the CPL standings with seven points from three games – just two points ahead of Forge, who’ve also played three games
Forge can leapfrog their Finals 2019 opponents in the standings, and take another big step towards a second-round berth at The Island Games with a win against Pacific FC on Saturday.
The reigning CPL champions are coming off a 1-1 draw with HFX Wanderers FC, and will be eager to return to their winning ways in order to keep pace with Cavalry.
Pacific, meanwhile, battled York9 FC to a 1-1 stalemate in their last outing, and the West Coast club is still looking for its first win of the regular season.
Some good news for Pacific is that Marcel de Jong appears to be back to normal – he made his first start for the club (against Y9) after being sidelined by an Achilles injury in 2019. The Canadian national team veteran shined on the left side, ending with a match-high three key passes, three completed crosses, and six gained possessions.
Campbell looks to bag 1st goal of season: It would be unfair to call it a goal drought. Still, after two appearances and 140 minutes of playing time, Pacific’s Terran Campbell hasn’t scored at The Island Games. After finishing tied for second in last year’s Golden Boot race, Campbell has had two shots (but none on target) through Pacific’s first two matches, and he’ll be facing a stingy Forge back line on Saturday.
Squad rotation from Forge: Five Forge players — Triston Henry, Kyle Bekker, David Edgar, Daniel Krutzen, and Kwame Awuah — have been on the pitch for all 270 minutes of action at The Island Games, while Alexander Achinioti-Jönsson has played 269 minutes. At some point, coach Bobby Smyrniotis is going to give this quintet some time off and rotate his bench players into the starting 11. Could this be the game to do it?
Beware of Pacific in the second half: All three of Pacific’s goals at The Island Games have come in the second half, including Lukas MacNaughton’s injury-time equalizer against Y9 earlier this week. Forge can’t afford to let up against Pacific, especially when it’s late in the game. “York was struggling at the end (against us), Halifax was struggling at the end,” MacNaughton said. “We’re a fit team and we have players that are always ready to take a chance.”
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
“When you haven’t played games… It’s easy to move the ball around, sure, but the hardest thing to do in this game is score goals. But, to be honest, we at Forge need to be sharper in the final third of the field.” – Forge FC coach Bobby Smyrniotis
“We need to fine-tune ourselves and finish these games off.” – Pacific coach Pa-Modou Kah, after the game vs. Y9