HIGHLIGHTS: Valour FC vs. Forge FC (August 31, 2022)
Valour FC picked up three more crucial points on Wednesday night, beating Forge FC 1-0 at home to extend their unbeaten streak at IG Field to five. The Winnipeg club continued their surge up the table, moving to within two points of the final playoff spot with the victory.
Playing for their playoff lives in this match, Valour kicked off on the front foot. They held most of the ball in the early stages of the match, looking well organized with their back five and looking to suppress Forge’s forward passes and spring their own attacks.
The hosts were rewarded for their confident play just 20 minutes in. Sean Rea brought the ball down on the right flank and managed to pull it past a defender before curling a cross toward the box. Matteo De Brienne, playing on the left flank, deceived his marker Rezart Rama by drifting centrally before dropping to the back post, where Rea’s cross found him for an impressive acrobatic volley to make it 1-0 for Valour.
Forge improved after conceding, though, as they began to command more of the ball and sought to find a way through a Valour defence that remained exceptionally rigid. As the half progressed, the visitors began to see more time in the attacking third, leading to a moment just after the half-hour mark where they came inches from scoring — only for Andrew Jean-Baptiste to read the play perfectly and clear a Kyle Bekker shot destined for goal off the line.
The Hammers had the better chances of the last 15 minutes of the half — although none of them as good as Bekker’s — but Valour kept the visitors at bay, doing well to maintain a deserved 1-0 lead going into the break.
Things became considerably more cagey in the second half, as Valour sought to hold on to their slim lead. Still, Forge took the role of protagonists, trying to advance further and further up the pitch, although struggling to get the ball into the box.
After about 20 minutes with no joy, Forge boss Bobby Smyrniotis turned to his bench, choosing to take Alessandro Hojabrpour out of the game in favour of defender Garven Metusala — which allowed Alexander Achinioti-Jönsson to push up into his natural centre-midfield position.
Valour coach Phil Dos Santos countered soon after by putting Daryl Fordyce into his own midfield, sacrificing forward Walter Ponce to add another body to the central area and help his side keep the ball. Still, though, Smyrniotis continued to add fresh legs, as both Terran Campbell and Woobens Pacius came off the bench into attack as Forge looked for an equalizer.
With the stakes so high, tempers began to boil over after the 80-minute mark, as Moses Dyer and Rezart Rama got tangled together in an episode that led to a handful of players from both sides coming together — with four yellow cards being shown, two to each side.
After that, the hosts were able to see out the match in professional fashion, keeping Forge’s chances to ambitious long-distance attempts and crosses that didn’t cause much trouble for goalkeeper Rayane Yesli.
Valour kept things relatively quiet with the ball for over 11 minutes of stoppage time, although there would be one more altercation between the sides that saw all 22 players on the pitch engaged in hostilities. Moses Dyer picked up a second yellow card from the affair, meaning he’ll be suspended for the rematch between these sides on Sunday.
The home team ultimately held firm though, sealing the win and vaulting themselves even more solidly into the playoff conversation as Forge’s winless streak extended to four matches.
20′ — Matteo De Brienne (Valour FC)
14′ — Yellow: Alessandro Hojabrpour (Forge FC)
30′ — Yellow: Aboubacar Sissoko (Forge FC)
37′ — Yellow: Brett Levis (Valour FC)
49′ — Yellow: Diego Gutierrez (Valour FC)
82′ — Yellow: Moses Dyer (Valour FC)
82′ — Yellow: Nassim Mekidèche (Valour FC)
82′ — Yellow: Jonathan Grant (Forge FC)
82′ — Yellow: Rezart Rama (Forge FC)
90+6′ — Yellow: Triston Henry (Forge FC)
90+6′ — Yellow: Tristan Borges (Forge FC)
90+6′ — Second Yellow: Moses Dyer (Valour FC)
90+7′ — Yellow: Emery Welshman (Forge FC)