Hamilton’s Halfway Review: A Canadian Premier League Team Midpoint Synopsis

Hamilton’s Halfway Review: A Canadian Premier League Team Midpoint Synopsis

Hamilton’s Halfway Review. Sorry, let me re-title this…Forge’s Future: A Championship Prediction.

I tried to write an article breaking down Forge FC’s first half struggles. Really, I did.

But followers of the Mighty Forge FC are not equipped to deal with anything but success. Trust me. The sky has been falling throughout the first 14 games in Hamilton, on fan pages and on social media in general. (Not in the news because they have as yet to discover the city’s most successful sporting endeavour. Sigh). Even at games the chatter in The Bellows (The Section 112 – Supporter’s Section at The Coffee Grounds) has turned bitter; like the coffee. Just kidding, I don’t know what the coffee tastes like.


Has Bobby’s style gotten stale? Are there issues in the locker room? Have other teams just surpassed their talent level? Is the team chef no longer hand-preparing the team’s truffles and caviar?

Look, these are all valid questions, but as a Forge follower, I mean journalist, I choose to look ahead. (And back at championships, but nothing sad like 2021. We call that the gas leak year. I digress…).

So what is happening at the midpoint? Well it has come and gone for Forge, who through their ability to manipulate time and space since the abduction of Yorky, have played more games than anyone in the same span and enter the second half of the season while lesser teams in the first half of a by-gone era, struggle on. (Wait you say, York to has played 15 games. Well. to that I offer this rejoinder. Watch these highlights and ask yourself if York has really played a game of football yet in the second half of 2023. Or the excellent Thomas Hewitt’s article).

Terran Campbell in action for Forge (Canadian Premier League)

So what were the complaints? Forge couldn’t score. Too many chefs up top. Bekker has lost a step. Not enough new blood in the team.

Well, the second half of the season is well and truly under way (At least for select Ontario cities). And so far Forge are the only team in the league with a perfect record, positive goal differential, and lead the league in second half of the season clean sheets and goals scored. (Again see parentheses above).


I, for one, cannot even remember what all the fuss was about earlier.

Oh yeah, that eight game winless streak — if you count CF Montreal in the Canadian Championship and you don’t count the Atletico Ottawa games (I never do). That was a rough run.

But that was in an era past, lost to the mists of time. Now is the future. And Forge FC are all alone up top of the second half.

Going back to those issues, Bekker scored a screamer in a game against Halifax that I otherwise cannot remember.

(Editor’s note: HFX Wanderer’s won that game 2-1 at the Wanderer’s Grounds in exciting fashion.)

(Author’s note on Editor’s note: That game was the epitome of the dark arts as the Wanderers collapsed and fainted more than the Southern elite when hearing pearl-clutching news, like the end of slavery, or substituting peppermint for spearmint in your Julep. And, in the end, that awarded them an extra 7 minutes of added time, which of course led to the penalty winner in the 10th minute of that added time. See, I told you Forge fans don’t handle struggles well.)

But now those strikers are hungry. Hamilton is striking balls sweetly that can’t be controlled (See Campbell’s rebound finish proof. Or his unlucky strike against the woodwork.

The dam also may have burst for Tristan Borges. He scored his first for Forge since August 20th of 2022 (Shout out to Adam Jenkins for the in-game info). Not to mention the first-time volley cross that set up Campbell’s first, or the inch-perfect through ball directly for Campbell’s second. If he has come alive…look out.

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How about the lack of new faces? That is a bigger issue for teams that don’t end the season in a title game than it is for Forge. But hey, a CanMNT-capped defender is a nice addition. And Rama, Hamilton, Owolabi-Belawu and Jensen are all only in year two of their Forge lives. That is practically fresh-faced on this complex machine that Bobby has constructed.

So in the end, Forge’s first half reads like this if I had to nail it down:

Canadian Premier League – Cavalry FC v Forge FC – Calgary, Alberta, Canada Jun, 3, 2023 Attacker Jordan Patrick Hamilton of Forge celebrates his goal against goalkeeper Marco Carducci of the Calgary Cavalry to tie the game 1-1 in extra time. FCCFC Media Mike Sturk

An average start with quality goaltending and defending, but a decided lack of firepower. (But actually a hot start by Forge standards). This was followed up by a lull unseen in Forgeland of dire football. Of course it was so dire that it left the team easily in a playoff spot, so Forge’s standards differ somewhat from your average CPL side. I’d dig deeper, but the past is meaningless. (Except for those aforementioned pieces of silverware, they are all-meaning).

In the end what does it all mean if Forge is back at the heady heights of CPL glory scoring for fun and cleaning sheets like bleach and hot water?

I can hear the rubes that make up the rest of the CPL’s varied and nearly empty-handed fandom now, “It was only one game it means nothing.”


Or does it mean everything at all?

No, they’re right, likely nothing. The defending champs have 13 games left and still trail PFC by a massive margin (Why does that word sound familiar? Another lifetime I guess?). And most teams have so many games in hand they seem more like arms. So this is just one game in the grand scheme of things. One gloriously, uproarious, Derby-smashing game.

But step one was always opening-the floodgates. Now it’s time to hammer (checks notes) Valour FC.

Ok, so maybe it won’t be a massive run…

Game Notes:

Terran Campbell’s hat trick was the first of his career as he continues to add to his all-time league scoring record.

Triston Henry was called upon to make only two saves. But they were huge stops especially the one on JGL with the score only 1-0.

Terran Campbell’s hat trick improves upon his brace against ATO earlier this season and his 3 braces last year. To quote the incomparable Gwen Stefani, “This sh*t is bananas!” (Cuz he scores in bunches).

Next Game for Forge FC at home against VFC the Elder.

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