HIGHLIGHTS: Eddies hold off Forge, win 4th in a row

HAMILTON – FC Edmonton is the first side to bank points in the Canadian Premier League’s 2019 Fall season, as they edged Forge FC 2-1 on Saturday in a rainy affair at Tim Hortons Field.

Although Forge dominated possession, the Eddies were the only side to strike in the first 45 minutes. Tomi Ameobi got his head on the end of a Ramon Soria free kick to make it 1-0 not long before halftime, rewarding his side for a strong defensive effort.

The hosts didn’t waver in their patient, ball-moving play, however, as they fought back to find a Jace Kotsopoulos equalizer in the 57th minute. Marcel Zajac brought it down in the box with a perfect header into the path of the U SPORTS draft pick for a clean finish.

Forge seemed to be in the ascendancy from there, creating chance after chance that fizzled out at the hands of goalkeeper Connor James. Unfortunately for them, though, it was a mistake from their own keeper that buried them in the end: Triston Henry bobbled a cross from Jeannot Esua, allowing it to bounce behind him for an own goal that gave FC Edmonton a 2-1 lead.

Bobby Smyrniotis’ team continued to play a well-organized game as they tried to find another equalizer with patient buildup play, but it was not to be. The Eddies, content with playing on the back foot for much of the afternoon, held onto their slim lead for all three points on the road to open the Fall.

Both clubs will play on the road next weekend as the Fall season continues. Forge heads out to the west coast to visit Pacific FC on Saturday, July 13 (6:00 p.m. ET, 3:00 p.m. PT, on OneSoccer), while FC Edmonton plays the Sunday matinee at York9 FC (3:30 p.m. ET, on OneSoccer).

Box Score

38′ – Tomi Ameobi (FC Edmonton)
57′ – Jace Kotsopoulos (Forge FC)
73′ – Triston Henry (OG) (Forge FC)

61′ Yellow – Bertrand Owundi (Forge FC)
89′ Yellow – James Marcelin (FC Edmonton)

Three Key Performers

Connor James (FC Edmonton)

The Eddies needed some serious help from their goalkeeper in this one, as Forge threw the kitchen sink at them in search of a late goal. James made four key saves and demonstrated impressive bravery in commanding his 18-yard box, throwing himself into battles to claim almost every loose ball.

Marcel Zajac (Forge FC)

The 21-year-old striker turned heads, especially in the first half, as he used his pace and composure on the ball to create much of Forge’s offence. He had two shots of his own and two key passes, assisting Kotsopoulos’ goal with a perfect setting header. He finished with a 96.4% passing accuracy and played a versatile game, showing an aptitude for burning defenders both on the flank and inside the box.

Mélé Temguia (FC Edmonton)

With his usual centre-back partner Amer Didic unavailable, Temguia stepped up in a game that called for a tremendous defensive effort. His six clearances and six interceptions saved the day for the Eddies on several occasions as Forge were buzzing in and around the box.