The race for the CPL’s Fall championship is as riveting as ever now, as Forge FC climbed to the top of the table on Sunday with their narrow 1-0 home triumph over previous leaders Cavalry FC. With the Cavs suffering their first loss of the Fall competition, Forge has jumped to 16 points, one ahead of the Spring title winners.
It began as a cagey affair, with the developing rivals spending the first half struggling to establish themselves in midfield. As a result, neither club looked likelier than the other to leave with all three precious points, setting up a second half with everything to play for.
The hosts Forge emerged from the break looking much hungrier than their foes, as the Hamilton club threw a number of dangerous direct attacks toward Cavalry, ceding the midfield a little to do so. On two occasions, they thought they’d found a goal to break the impasse, with two goals (in the 50th and 78th minutes) denied by sharp offside calls.
With the usual suspects on both sides baffled, Forge required an unlikely hero to open their account. Right-back Jonathan Grant finally solved Cavalry’s Marco Carducci with a stunning left-footed shot from the top of the box, beating the keeper to the far post to score his first CPL goal.
Cavalry made a pair of attacking substitutions in the wake of the goal to try and level terms at Tim Hortons Field, and it nearly worked. A pair of swinging crosses very nearly found a Cavs finisher in space, but it was not to be, as Forge stretched their unbeaten streak to nine across all competitions.
Next up in Cavalry’s quest to sweep both league titles continues on Wednesday, as they return to Spruce Meadows to take on Pacific FC (9:00 p.m. ET, 7:00 p.m. MT, on OneSoccer). Meanwhile, Forge turns their attention back to the CONCACAF League, for their second-leg match down in Honduras on Thursday against Olimpia (10:00 p.m. ET, available on TSN 2).
Forge’s leading scorer didn’t find the net today, but he created a lot with three shots (two on target) and three key passes, launching the attack that led to Grant’s goal. His energy shone through as the home side ran Cavalry ragged in the second half.
Marco Carducci (Cavalry FC)
On several occasions, Carducci kept the Cavs in the game as defenders were caught off guard by Forge’s fast-moving attack. His save on Kadell Thomas’ 58th-minute screamer was the most impressive of his four stops.
Jonathan Grant (Forge FC)
His goal could be a season-defining moment for Forge, having secured perhaps the most important league win they’ve notched yet. On top of that, though, Grant was a major part of the engine that burned Cavalry on both wings. He facilitated their quick ball movement up the sides, and contributed to the clean sheet with two tackles and five clearances.