Forge have now climbed into a tie for second in the Canadian Premier League table, as they picked up a commanding 3-0 win over Vancouver FC at Langley’s Willoughby Community Park on Sunday.
Led by a 47 minute Woobens Pacius hat trick, it was a big performance from the defending champions, who snapped a four-game winless run with the victory.
As for Vancouver, it was another painful defeat, one that has them on the verge of being mathematically eliminated from playoff contention, now sitting 15 points outside of the last playoff spot with six games to go.
Despite Forge’s dominant victory, however, it’d be a relatively even start to the game. As a result, Vancouver’s Gabriel Bitar would have the game’s first opportunity in the 12th minute, making a great connection on a volley in the box after a great Mikaël Cantave run and cross, but his attempt would trickle just wide of the goal.
At the other end, however, Forge would find the game’s opening goal soon after that. On the second phase of a corner, Rezart Rama managed to send in a dangerous cross, one that Woobens Pacius did well to rise highest to meet, nodding it into the bottom corner to make it 1-0.
Then, moments later, they nearly doubled their lead, as Aboubacar Sissoko managed to sneak in behind Vancouver’s defence, but his shot would be nicely saved by Callum Irving in goal.
Eager to tie the game back up, Vancouver generated a good look in the 23rd minute, as they won a free kick in a dangerous area. Unfortunately, they wouldn’t make the most of it, however, as Cantave sent the ensuing shot well over the target with power.
They’d come to quickly rue that missed opportunity, too, as Forge then doubled their lead just minutes later. After a dangerous cross from Kwasi Poku, Terran Campbell did well to flick the ball into a dangerous area of the box, where Pacius was ready to complete his brace with a good first-timed finish to make it 2-0.
Wanting to at least get one before half, Vancouver had their best look of the game in the first minute of first-half stoppage time, as Gabriel Bitar found Alejandro Díaz with a perfectly lofted ball, but Díaz would hit the outside of the net with his first-time shot.
On the other side of half time, however, their mountain would quickly get even taller to climb. After Forge managed to win a penalty, Pacius stepped up to take, doing well to slam the ball into the top corner to confidently grab his hat trick.
At the other end, Cantave tried to get his team back into the game, as he unleashed a rocket of a shot after a nice run, but his attempt would sail well over the goal. Then, just minutes later, Renan Garcia managed to get on the end of a whipped Vasco Fry corner, sending a nice backheeled attempt towards goal, forcing a strong save out of Forge’s Triston Henry in goal.
Continuing an entertaining start to the half, Forge had a great look in the 56th minute, as Béni Badibanga broke free after a Vancouver turnover, but his powerful shot would be nicely saved by the chest of Irving on the half-breakaway attempt.
Soon after, Díaz would create another dangerous chance for Vancouver in the 61st minute, finding a way to unleash a dangerous shot from the edge of the box, narrowly sending his attempt wide of the mark.
Not done with the back-and-forth action, Forge nearly made it four in the 64th minute, as Poku found Campbell with a dangerous low ball into the near post, with Campbell only finding himself denied by a strong stop from Irving in tight. Then, not long after, Forge managed to win a free kick in a good area, but Badibanga’s knuckled attempt would fly just over the crossbar.
Doing well to maintain that pressure, Forge would then come even closer to a fourth in the 76th minute, as Khadim Kane unleashed a powerful strike from distance, one that would only be denied by the post to keep the game at 3-0. Then, continuing their onslaught of pressure, Alexander Achinioti-Jönsson would have a look of his own from distance, forcing an excellent stop out of Irving.
Finally managing to get a look of their own, Vancouver nearly grabbed their goal on a nice sequence of play in the 84th minute. First, Min-Jae Kwak found a way to test Henry with a good shot from a tight angle, forcing a strong save, before Díaz had a look at an empty net on the ensuing rebound, sending his shot well over the goal.
Minutes later, the game would take a slight turn, as Poku put in a hard tackle on Vancouver’s TJ Tahid, earning himself a red card, reducing Forge to 10 players for the final few minutes of play.
Despite having that advantage, however, Vancouver would be unable to take advantage of it, as Forge comfortably cruised to victory from there.