‘We saw this one out’: Forge rally to grab clean sheet in Winnipeg

Draw, loss, win, loss, win.

The first half of Forge FC’s Spring Season was inconsistent, to say the least. The side wrapped it up on a positive note, however, with a 2-0 away win over Valour FC on Thursday.

That second-to-last result, a last-minute defeat to Cavalry FC, saw head coach Bobby Smyrinotis get his marching orders and a subsequent touchline ban.

It was a disappointing result, one that Forge captain midfielder Kyle Bekker now sees firmly in the rearview mirror.

“Today we saw the fight we’ve been missing in the last few games,” Bekker said following the game, his first back with the side following a two-match ban.

“It sucks [when you get scored on late], but there’s a lot of positives take out of it…It’s a growing experience for a lot of young guys, so they can see that you got to see these things out and turn on in those in those situations.

Assistant Peter Reynders was at the helm at IG Field in a match with few chances for either side.

Anthony Novak opened the scoring for Forge after converting on a nearly 50-year breakaway opportunity in the eighth minute. It turned out to be a rare opportunity on goal in the match. Forge did their part, limiting Valour to just two shots on target.

“Every game, we’ve had to be a little bit more clinical and, on the defensive side, be better at seeing things through,” Bekker said. “We saw this one out. To get a clean sheet on the road as a huge testament to the group.

Bekker had a rebound performance of his own on Thursday. Forge’s captain for 2019 was suspended two matches by Canada Soccer for striking Joesph Di Chiara in the CPL’s inaugural match on April 27.

It was arguably Bekker’s best match in a Forge uniform, leading his team in passes (50), sporting an 84% passing percentage that was in the mid-90s well into the second half and putting a pair of shots on goal.

Bekker’s fellow Forge midfielder Tristan Borges was another standout for the away side. The crafty midfeilder looked likely to score for most of the match before eventually smashing home an outside-the-box left-footer just before the 70th minute.

“Everybody just had a positive attitude at halftime,” Borges said to OneSoccer following the match. “That as the big focus of this game coming in — knowing how to close a game out. We did that today.”

The win puts Forge on seven points, two behind first-placed Cavalry FC in the Spring Season standings. Forge’s win is also their first result of CONCACAF League qualifying, which includes Valour and FC Edmonton.

Forge will have the weekend off before switching focus to 905 Derby opponent York9 FC (4 p.m. ET/OneSoccer), who they will face on Saturday, May 25 in the first CPL match at York Lions Stadium.