Anthony Novak and David Choiniere powered a Kyle Bekker-less Forge FC to a 3-0 win over Pacific FC in their CPL debuts on Wednesday, giving the Hamilton side their first victory in club history.
Novak made an immediate impact in the CPL by scoring a spectacular goal in the third minute, starting with his back to the goalkeeper and turning before blasting a shot into the top right corner of the net at Tim Hortons Field.
Fellow Forge forward Emery Welshman converted on that same north-stand side soon after, slotting home the second goal in the 14th minute after holding off a defender and finessing a series of impressive touches.
Choiniere assisted on Welshman’s marker, his first in the CPL.
Missing centre-forward Marcus Haber up top due to a toe injury, Pacific FC’s best chance in the match came in the final moments of the first half when a perfectly-weighted ball at the back post was headed wide by Issey Nakajima-Farran.
The final goal of the game came in the second half, in the 70th minute, when Forge captain Giuliano Frano headed home a Daniel Krutzen corner.
The match gives Forge their first win and puts them back into contention for the Spring Season title, having now collected four points from their first three matches. Pacific FC, meanwhile, sit on three points from three matches.
Forge will return to Tim Hortons Field on Sunday when they host Cavalry (1 p.m. ET/OneSoccer, CBC). Later in the day, Pacific will take on FC Edmonton in the opposing side’s home opener at Clarke Stadium (3:30 p.m. ET, 1:30 p.m. MT/OneSoccer).
Three key performers
David Choiniere (Forge FC)
Not a bad debut for the former Montreal Impact midfielder, who routinely fooled PFC midfielders and defenders with crafty touches. Constantly cutting inside and making space, the 22-year-old’s efforts were rewarded with an assist on Emery Welshman’s goal and man of the match honours.
Anthony Novak (Forge FC)
Scoring arguably the most aesthetically pleasing goal scored in the inaugural season of the CPL will get you noticed. The 24-year-old’s early goal eased the tension for a Forge side that went into Wednesdays match desperate for a result. Novak’s journey to the CPL may have been long, but his showing on Wednesday proved he’s fit for the role up top at Forge FC.
Noah Verhoeven (Pacific FC)
Another impressive match for the standout youngster, who pinged a number of long, impressive balls during the 90. Verhoeven was a key part in his side’s late push in the match, eventually recording an 85% passing accuracy (83% in the opposing half); an impressive stat for a team missing key players like Marcus Haber and Hendrik Starostzik.