Game One in the Books for Forge: Can’t Win an Opener, Still Hate Cavalry

Game One in the Books for Forge: Can’t Win an Opener, Still Hate Cavalry

So some things never change. Forge FC has fallen short in its attempt to end a trend. Year Five is no different from any other when it comes to home openers and slow-ish starts. But hey it is not all gloom and doom. Let’s look at the bright side of of the 2023 Forge home opener.


(A reminder that if you’ve come here for a deeper dive into the tactical nous of Bobby Smyrniotis, a break down of the advantages of a 4-3-3 or even a simple, and relevant, explanation of what prevented Forge finally pulling off a win to start the season, you’d be better off with a Magic 8-Ball. However, if pithy takes on why the beer selection is hampering chants, or how the jerseys might contribute to better self-confidence amongst some of the shy players, this is your jam!)

A crowd of 6,892 was in attendance at Tim Hortons Field for the opening game of Forge’s 2023 CPL season (Canadian Premier League)

Ok, where to begin. How about the crowd? An announced attendance of 6,892 for game one is pretty awesome. And everyone paid full price and all the money went to the business, not some charity. Take that Ottawa! (But seriously, good start. Let’s hope the attendances keep up as more and more fans learn about this team).


The opponents? You can’t get better than the hated Cavalry FC and another chapter in the epic The Rivalry story. And it had everything this fixture needs in Hamilton except the three points. While Cavalry played well and scored two excellent goals, they scored them exactly as the Forge fans want them too. First. The complicated part of being a Forge fan is that as much as you love the team, it often pales in comparison for your dislike of Cavalry. (Cavalry fans will get me here. Their ‘cri de coeur’ is, FtF! whatever that means – don’t look it up if you are reading this to small children). So having Forge respond, not once, but twice to break their hearts, was so enjoyable. The schadenfraude is strong within the Forge fanbase. They live for titles and western pain.

The Road To Olympic Gold FC13 Podcast

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Also the Cavs give you entertainment from the pantomime villain files too. Public enemy number one, Jose Escalante is only missing a moustache he can twirl between set pieces in becoming the ultimate bad guy. (I imagine he sounds like Razor Ramone in press conferences. Sorry for the stereotyping, but WWF (E) teen years die hard). He rolled more then a High Times story pitch session. He is even the inspiration for a new dance the kiddies are doing after matches. See here

And kudos to the Forge medical team for bringing out the Concacaf Stretcher they must have purchased during one of their Concacaf League runs to help Escalante sub off. Grade ‘A’ banter.

Forge on-field positives. Well how about a strong start to the season for my Golden Boot pick, Jordan Hamilton. He earned and converted a penalty. He looks quicker and more muscular to me than last year’s version, and he made some lovely runs and had some nice interplay with the other forwards and linked well with the midfield.


We played without the captain, (which may have been just as well, as this game had a red card, elbow-y feel to it already) and looked good still. Noah Jensen scored a lovely one in Bekks’ place, and that bodes well for depth over the long haul. Borges’ set pieces were gorgeous and dangerous. Choiniere looked excited if just a little rusty. The new defender, Manjrekar James looked assured on the ball, if not perfect yet. And he was nearly able to pull off the heroics with a late header that he’ll want a do-over on. And speaking of wanting a do-over, Campbell will want his breakaway back! But I am not worried about him. He scores in bunches (3 braces last year) and the effort is never lacking.

Everyone played with a degree of sandpaper to their game, as to be expected. Especially Rama, Hojabrpour, Sissoko and Morgan when he came on. As much as that makes for a fun watch for the fans, and gets the blood-pumping for the players, it will be interesting to see how they look against a team with no real history against them in the Canadian Championship on Tuesday. I am expecting a more technical display, and some even better finishing.

Despite giving up two goals, I don’t have much negative to say about the defense or keeping. While Henry made a couple interesting choices early, he was not at fault on either goal. One was an absolute golazo from Cantave, and Bevan’s was a poacher’s delight that had everyone one else going the wrong way but him. Tip of the cap.

Each fan in attendance was given their own Forge CPL Winners medal (HAMILTON, ONTARIO, CANADA/ (Canadian Premier League/ Apr.15th, 2023/ Jojo Yanjiao Qian/Forge FC)

All in all, from an entertainment perspective, what a start. Now time for Bobby et al to clean it up a bit and get those first three points quickly in the league, as well as moving on in the Canadian Championships. Nothing comes easy, but game one has created a quiet confidence.

Oh and to come full circle, another trend is still alive. In every season that Forge hasn’t won a home opener, they’ve made it to the finals. Here’s to keeping that trend alive.

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