First of all, let me put all you Forge fans at ease. Sparxy is ok. This was simply a metaphor, and the perennial thorn in the side that is Valour FC is the dragon in question that Bobby’s Boys slew.
As most Forge fans know, Valour is always a tough nut to crack for the team from the Ambitious City. They are the only CanPL team without a losing record versus the Mighty Forge. (Yes not even the hated Cavalry can boast that).
So going to the Field of Screams in Winnipeg and taking all three points was always going to be a big ask. And the boys came through.
After a quick, energetic start by both teams, and some lovely touch to open the scoring from Sissoko, Forge fell into a little bit of lethargy. A rapid response from Valour had Triston Henry making superhuman stops. But a napping defence in front of him, (we see you Kane…but you weren’t alone) allowed Valour to get right back into it almost immediately.
DeBrienne has looked really good for the hosts on a number of occasions and has played well wherever he’s asked to. His assist on the first Valour tally was impressive. Ironically*, the set up came off a great save by G. Ironic**, because DeBrienne would follow that assist later with a goal that was in the process of being saved by Henry at the time. Controversial to say the least, but a tough bang-bang call for any referee.
*** I am aware that my use of ironic here may owe more to Alanis Morrisette than William Shakespeare, but it’s been awhile since I’ve been in an English classroom, so grant me some grace. Maybe it was more foreshadowing with a dose of pathetic fallacy?
Ok back to the game…at the end of the first half it was clear to see that Valour had come to play. After all, they were trying to keep their season alive against a team they have a lot of success against. It was to be expected, to an extent. But as I often lament, some of this set up built by the arcane development rules of the CPL. I mean, I know they are fairly straight-forward, get 2000 minutes or more for u-21 players from Canada. Unless they are loans, because they are capped. And if they are 22, then they are probably already over-developed already. And you can play youth development players, who have seen zero minutes of action previously, at almost the 11th-hour to cover this obligation in a must-win game for the betterment of Canadian Soccer! Oh, and something about expanding rosters with Exceptional Youth exceptions…(Rant done, just let me wipe some spittle of my keyboard. wssehgjknlmrtfgyhjukil;o,lkmjihu
And so, also to be expected, the real Forge attack arrived when cavalry arrived. (No not those guys, another metaphor, and lower case).
When the set-up expert, Borges and the red-hot recent goalscorer, Pacius, entered the fray for a hustling, but inexperienced,17-year-old and an underserviced striker, the scoreline was turned on its head.
Borges was lively, and added a little pep to the offence. But Pacius does what a we know he can. He scores. He had an almost immediate impact, as four minutes after subbing on he had found the back of the net.
Cue a Badibanger at the end of the match and you could forgive Pacius just missing his second of the match late on.
Forge got the monkey off their back in Winnipeg after years of frustration.
Next up the suddenly high-flying PFC. But that could just be the York effect. And right now few are playing as well as Forge, undefeated in six games and the only team to hold Cavalry in their last six.
The season is running down to an exciting finish, as promised by the league. So get your popcorn ready fans.
It was nice to see Castello back on the pitch late. With Poku due back next match it will be good to see youth with experience, a hot commodity, down the stretch.
And no shade on Kevaughn Tavernier on his debut, he battled hard and made a really decent impact for his first ever match. With Kane getting minutes as an Exceptional Youth, Castello back from injury and Tavernier looking solid, plus Poku, they have a strong youth contingent going forward, which is great, despite my rants.
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