Forge FC 2-1 Pacific FC – Canadian Premier League
Final score: Forge FC 2-1 Pacific FC
Scorers: Babouli 6 ′, Browne 80 ′; Diaz 38 ′
Game of the season 2021: 76
CPL match: 211
Match in a minute or less
Forge FC collected three key points at home on Saturday before traveling to Panama, knocking out league leaders Pacific FC, 2-1. Mo Babouli only scored six minutes into the game with an outstanding finish after Tristan Borges played him with a long, top-notch pass, but Pacific equalized shortly before half-time as Alejandro Diaz was returning home a good cross from Kunle Dada-Luke. After a few substitutions and tactical changes in the second half, Forge finally found his winning goal as Alexander Achinioti-Jonsson surged into the box and found Panamanian striker Omar Browne, who scored in his debut for the Hammers.
Welsh start leads to new tactical looks for Forge
It’s a little hard to describe how exactly Forge was lined up on Saturday. With Emery Welshman taking the start as number nine, Forge pushed Mo Babouli down the left side just ahead of winger Kwame Awuah, with Tristan Borges and Elimane Cissé forming a similar tandem on the right side. With a solid bank of three center-backs, this left Kyle Bekker and Paolo Sabak free to run essentially all of the midfield.
With a greater number of broads, Forge was very keen to play on the flanks as much as possible, with the left side in particular seeing a lot of action as he looked to attack full-back Kunle Dada-Luke.
For the second half sections, Babouli and Borges actually switched sides as Bobby Smyrniotis looked to test new combinations – even, in the sections, with Welshman moving to the wing and Babouli pushing up. . Keeping the first three fluids like this helped Forge avoid becoming predictable or obsolete, with the three attackers offering very different skills.
An even bigger reshuffle came in the 65th minute, as Smyrniotis introduced a new attacking trio into the game with Josh Navarro, Woobens Pacius and Omar Browne in place of Babouli, Welshman and Paolo Sabak as they appeared to transform. in a 4 Formation -2-3-1 with Borges playing in the center and Alexander Achinioti-Jonsson moving from the baseline to midfield. It ultimately worked out very well, Achinioti-Jonsson being the one who pushed the ball into the box before finding Browne for the game-winning goal.
Forge are generally a tactically complex team, but Saturday’s competition was perhaps one of the most interesting, with how players were able to adjust to new roles mid-game.
We have a lot of players who can play a lot of different positions, we have thrown a lot of curved balls at these teams and trying to change things they expect one thing and we do another ”, explained Babouli afterwards. the game. “We have a lot of players who have the quality, the mindset, the knowledge to play in different positions and be able to perform at a high level in these positions; as long as you’re on the pitch and doing what you have to do, it doesn’t matter where you play, where you start. There are also a lot of changes in the game. There are a lot of guys who are smart enough to understand that if you have a certain position, then someone else is going to take another.
With so many versatile players on the squad, Forge are a very difficult team to spot as they can jump from one game plan to another in a matter of minutes.
One-Touch Pass Helps Forge Fast Forward
One of the hallmarks of this Forge squad is that virtually every player on the squad has excellent passing range and ability on the ball. This is how they are able to play the vast and entertaining brand of football that is at their best.
On Saturday the Hammers moved the ball very quickly, playing a bit more directly than they do against other opponents, with most players taking no more than a touch or two before pushing it forward with a pass. to a player already on the move. Forge spent very little time standing still while their team was in possession, allowing them to play dangerously through balls between the lines for forwards racing.
Due to the general ambition of Forge’s straight and straight passes, their total accuracy was a bit lower than usual, falling below 80% for the entire side; in fact, they were unusually sloppy with the ball at times, but overall Forge moved the ball very quickly, especially in the first half.
Although they have only scored twice, Forge has been more efficient with his possession than they have been in some recent games where they have probed and built more slowly. They managed to put Babouli, Welshman and especially Borges on the ball regularly, which was in part aided by the positioning along the flanks near the full-backs, but was also the product of quick and unhesitating passes from center-backs and central midfielders to trigger the attack immediately after Forge retrieves the ball.
It’s hard to play with that kind of tempo consistently – especially during a long season with traffic jams – but Bobby Smyrniotis will be delighted to see them play with that much-needed urgency.
Pacific still unable to overcome the bump against Forge
Bobby Smyrniotis pointed out after the game that every game between Forge and Pacific seems like an entertaining clash (certainly more for his side, however, who have now won eight and drawn in their nine encounters with the Tridents). Saturday was no exception, but it’s starting to become meaningful that Forge still seems to be able to handle the Pacific in a way most other CPL teams can’t – especially if this game is to be a preview. of a potential playoff game.
That’s not to say the Pacific was dominated on Saturday – quite the contrary, with a slight advantage in possession and duels won, and eight shots to nine for Forge. Still, for some reason, Forge seemed able to cut across the Pacific endline on several occasions, especially in the first half (look no further than Borges’ ball at Babouli for the opening goal, or even his deep ball a few minutes earlier).
Pacific coach Pa-Modou Kah was terse in his post-match comments, saying nothing more than “We’re just coming back to the drawing board” when asked how he would rate his performance. team. Still, Kah conceded that Forge seems to have the best on his side at the moment.
“I think today we certainly could have gotten something out of the game if we took care of the ball a bit more, I think we rushed,” Kah said. “For where we are, for where we want to go, I think we just have to keep going; it’s just a result, it’s not going to change who we are. So okay they have our number but it’s always like that sometimes in football, you have a team that has your number so it’s up to us to figure out how to get theirs.
Alejandro Diaz, who scored the Pacific goal on the night, agreed with his coach, adding that he felt his team struggled to play with the Forge press at first:
“I think we were a bit lacking at the start with our passes, they were pressing high and we were struggling a bit in our building,” he said. “We gave them opportunities at the start so it was difficult for us, then we changed a bit in the second half of the first half and it was better.”
Admittedly, the Pacifics were the most dangerous towards the end of the first half, but they failed to find the same pace enough in the second half to score again.
CanPL.ca Player of the Game
Alexander Achinioti-Jonsson, Forge FC
The talented Swede is one of Forge’s most reliable players, doing a great job either at center-back or in midfield. He spent time in both positions on Saturday, doing a lot of defensive work (four tackles, two clearances, three interceptions) in a back three before pushing higher and creating the game-winning goal with a dazzling run.
Forge will now fly to Panama, where they will play the second leg of their Concacaf League Round of 16 against Independiente on Tuesday night (6 p.m. ET), after which they will travel to the Canadian capital to face Atlético Ottawa in the league. . play Sunday, October 3 (3:30 p.m. ET). Pacific, meanwhile, will now move to Winnipeg, where they face Valor FC this Wednesday evening (7:45 p.m. ET / 6:45 p.m. ET). Watch all matches live on OneSoccer.