Groundhog Day: Winnipeg Woes for Forge

Two games in one week versus the same foe, and the result was the same as it ever was. Why can’t Forge beat Valour lately? Part of the reason is that Valour is really good right now. The other is that old chestnut, “styles make fights.”

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Forge plays possession-based footy. They pass the ball around the pitch, don’t give it away, pick open passes when the defense slips, and finish ruthlessly. Except when they don’t. And recently they don’t a lot. They have scored three goals in their last six matches, and been shutout in their last three. This does not feel like the Forge that ran up that big goal differential early this season.

Kwasi Poku of Forge and Valour’s Alessandro Riggi fight over the ball (Valour FC/Robert Reyes Ong)

Valour on the other hand keeps their shape, plays to their strength – defending, and has enough firepower up top to to make opponents pay. Weirdly for a team with so much defensive discipline, the only thing they seem to lack right now, is well, discipline. Two games against Forge, two players (Dyer and Riggi) seeing red. Will card accumulation become a problem?

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This match was one, much like the last, that Forge will want to forget. Nine shots, zero on net. They had less possession than usual, but still over half. Their passing was out of joint. And save for the first 15 minutes or so, when it seemed like the real Forge was back, this game was comfortable for Valour. Another nice goal scored at a time when Forge didn’t feel in danger is a worry for Bobby’s crew.

Valour players celebrate with Brett Levi’s as his goal gave Valour a vital win versus Forge in September 4th 2022 (Valour FC/Robert Reyes Ong)

Not really much to say about this one as it wasn’t a terribly played game by either team, but not a terribly well-played one either. In the end it came down to one team being the better version of what they are. Valour has found their game. And take note, it is a game built for the playoffs.

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*Additional notes: I am softening on the idea that small soccer-only venues have inherently better vibes. The two biggest stadiums in the league have been much more impressive in person than on TV. Maybe in a gate-driven league the brass and its fans need to worry less about the streaming-feel and focus on how good this is live. More on that in my article about finally hitting up every stadium in the league as a supporter. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did “researching” it.


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