HIGHLIGHTS: Forge FC vs Pacific FC (June 12, 2022)
Forge FC continued to ascend on Sunday afternoon at Tim Hortons Field, as they won their third consecutive league match with a 3-0 triumph over first-place Pacific FC. As a result, they solidified their position within the top four, moving up to 14 points from eight games.
In this hotly-anticipated rematch of the 2021 CPL Final at Tim Hortons Field, both managers put their best (available) foot forward with their starting XIs. Forge coach Bobby Smyrniotis made just one change from the side he deployed last week against Toronto FC, as Woobens Pacius came in up top in place of an injured Terran Campbell. Pacific boss James Merriman, meanwhile, made three changes from the lineup that fell 2-1 last weekend to Atlético Ottawa: Matthew Baldisimo slotted into midfield, Djenairo Daniels joined the attack on the left wing, and Abdou Samake came into the squad at left-back.
Forge’s recent run of good attacking form continued unabated in the first half. Just 10 minutes into the game, the hosts found themselves with a heavy numerical advantage in the attacking third as the ball came to Woobens Pacius at the top of the box. He laid it off to his left for Ashtone Morgan, who took it into the six-yard box on his own and flicked it past Triston Henry and in at the far post to make it 1-0.
Just three minutes after, David Choinière got on the end of a through ball in behind on the right side and he drove toward the end line, then sent a well-placed pass across the goalmouth where Tristan Borges was waiting to tap it home and put Forge up 2-0 before 15 minutes.
Pacific did ultimately grow into the match more; they began pressing a little and created a few decent chances, including from a couple set-piece opportunities, although they were never quite able to create the top-quality looks that Forge had generated earlier in the match.
Seeking to change things up and get his side back into the game, Merriman turned to his bench (admittedly quite depleted due to injury). He brought Luca Ricci into midfield in place of Thomas Meilleur-Giguère and switched to a back four, before adding Matteo Polisi on the left wing to replace Djenairo Daniels.
However, Pacific continued to struggle for space in the attacking half and couldn’t get the ball to their front three enough to find chances to score. Ultimately, it would be Forge who got on the scoresheet once again. Late in the second half, as the hosts continued to swarm around the Pacific box, they advanced into the penalty area from the left and a loose ball skipped up off the hand of Abdou Samake, prompting referee David Barrie to point to the spot.
Woobens Pacius claimed the ball and stepped up to take the penalty, and he slotted it calmly by the left post to make it 3-0. Forge coach Smyrniotis went on to hand debuts to youngsters Orlendis Benitez and Malcolm Duncan, a pair of local players the club had signed earlier on Sunday to short-term deals.
In the end, the Hamilton club sailed on to hold onto the 3-0 win on what was ultimately a comfortable afternoon.
10′ — Ashtone Morgan (Forge FC)
13′ — Tristan Borges (Forge FC)
83′ — Woobens Pacius (Forge FC) (Pen.)
24′ — Yellow: Kunle Dada-Luke (Pacific FC)
50′ — Yellow: Rezart Rama (Forge FC)
74′ — Yellow: Josh Heard (Pacific FC)