Sorry for the delay, illness got in the way.
The latest edition of Forge vs Cavalry played out in the most Forge/Cavalry fashion possible. A one-goal game (which tracks, because there has only been one game ever that wasn’t). Red cards. Tommy used Wheldon-ese in the post-game presser to non-criticize officials. And like more often than not, Forge won. Ho-hum.
Ok, so I am being more than a little facetious. It is easy to see why this is The Rivalry.
Cavalry always comes to play against Forge. And regardless of who wins, both teams will have zero rest until that final whistle blows.
Let’s discuss the game. Only a minute in and Henry was forced to make not one, but two massive stops after an uncharacteristic giveaway by Achinioti-Jonsson in the Forge end. Carducci wasn’t quite able to match his counterpart in the 11th minute when Forge surged ahead 1-0. It was a big welcome back to David Choiniere, who has been playing well lately, but hasn’t been rewarded with goals. That changed versus Cavalry.
Unfortunately, the body language of Woobens Pacius shows exactly how he is feeling lately. He threw up his hands in disappointment as Choiniere looked off a pass to him in the build-up. That same frustration was showing in the second Forge goal as well. Bekker sent Pacius in on goal and his relatively tame shot was palmed away by Carducci. Pacius fell to the ground head in hands. But the ball was turned by Carducci into the path of an opportunistic Sissoko who made no mistake. It fell to Bekker to quickly pick Pacius up off the turf. Great leadership from the captain at that point to keep his young striker’s head in the game. Of course, later it would be Bekker whose head was temporarily missing in action. And credit to Sissoko for keeping up his strong offensive play this season.
Up The North! HFX midfielder, Aidan Daniels – FC13 Podcast
And then all that was left was putting it cruise control and seeing out the match, right? Wrong. Enter some lovely team football that ended with Musse splitting the Forge defense and and finishing adroitly past Henry. And as usual in The Rivalry, game on!
Forge had to be thinking that Bekker and Borge’s skied balls in the first half would have been welcome insurance. But it was worse that that, because Bekker of course lost the plot for just a moment. With Alarcon falling at Bekker’s feet and an easy opportunity to relieve some pressure, Bekker instead added some to the Hamilton side’s day. The step on the Cavalry player’s leg may not have been deliberate, or it may have been a sneaky stomp, but the result was the same either way…a red card. I will say it was hard to say it was purposeful as the captain stepped over a sprawling player, but Bekker has seen the red mist before. (Notably in the first ever game in the CPL against Di Chiara. And also in Concacaf, but those were both a long time ago)
Well now Cavalry was in the driver’s seat. Up a man, and an equalizer on their minds. Enter the aforementioned DiChiara. Inexplicably as a ball runs out of play late, in Cavalry’s favour DiChiara lifts an arm into the head of Noah Jensen. Was it soft? A little. But if you are Joe DiChiara you’ve taken to the turf on occasion after “gentle” contact (Think the time he got Jeremy Gagnon-Lapierre red carded as an example). He just has to be smarter than that in the moment. Then in injury time, red card number three! Actually a second yellow to Contave. He is new to this rivalry and already a big part of it with a huge goal in Calgary earlier this year. But he got sucked in by a master of mischief in Triston Henry. The yellow was deserved, but Henry did his level best to make sure the officials saw it for sure. After a few games in which Hamilton supporters have made no secret of their belief that Cavalry hits the pitch a touch easy, it seemed like Forge decided to give them a spoonful of their own medicine.
That should have sealed it up, but this is The Rivalry. So obviously we needed a sublime strike from distance from the always game Jose Escalante which still has the crossbar ringing. Follow that with a diving stop by Henry in the follow up, and then you finally have the appropriate finish.
Hearts all over the stadium were racing. And undoubtedly the blood on the sidelines was still boiling. But yet another installment of The Rivalry was ended.
We can only hope the playoffs line these two up again soon.
*Other big Forge notes: Krutzen is back in backline and it looks like he never missed a minute. This also allows AAJ to move back to a holding mid spot. Losing Bekker down the stretch is bad for Forge, but getting others some game time and him some rest for the playoffs may be ok. Of course, playing your biggest games of the season with your captain not on the pitch is not ideal. Oh man, how can you not love the CPL?
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