Forge FC vs Independiente (Leg 1) – Concacaf League – Canadian Premier League
Concacaf League 2021 – Round of 16 (1st match)
Forge FC v CA Independiente de La Chorrera
September 21, 2021 at 8 p.m. ET
Tim Hortons Land in Hamilton, Ontario
Watch live: OneSoccer.ca // Tickets available HERE
Finally, the Concacaf League returns to Canadian soil.
After playing seven straight games in this competition miles from home, Forge FC will finally welcome an international opponent on Tuesday night as Panamanian side CA Independiente de La Chorrera (colloquially, Independiente) head to Tim Hortons Field for the first stage of this round of 16. to attach.
Forge has already advanced one round in this year’s Concacaf League, having sent CD FAS from El Salvador last month with an overall victory of 5-3 (even with both matches played in San Salvador). These two intense (and waterlogged) The nights at Estadio Cuscatlán will have well prepared Forge to continue this year’s race in the continental tournament, which remains a top priority for them this year.
Of course, last year’s race in the Concacaf League was unforgettable for Forge, who won two knockout heats (in El Salvador and Panama) before losing in the quarterfinals to the Haitian team. of Arcahaie. They narrowly missed qualifying for the prestigious Concacaf Champions League, losing a play-in match last December against the Honduran Marathón. In 2019, Forge made two rounds in his first foray into the competition, beating Antigua GFC in two sets before falling to CD Olimpia. That year they played the first leg of both home matches, where they beat both international opponents (although Olimpia returned home to win the draw).
The CPL team enter this match in good form, having won their most recent game (a 2-1 Canadian Championship triumph over Valor FC). They are third in the table with nine wins, one draw and seven losses, although they lost their most recent league game to York United. Still, they’ve had good results in space since their previous outing in the Concacaf League, and they’ll have more depth to lean on as players get healthier.
Independiente, meanwhile, will start their 2021 Concacaf League run in this game, having received a pass in the preliminary round. They qualified by winning Clausura’s 2020 season championship in Panama (their third consecutive title), which qualified them for their third appearance in the Concacaf League. Last year Independiente fell in the preliminary round, losing to Antigua GFC on penalties after a 0-0 draw, but in 2019 they made it to the quarter-finals, where they came out against the Costa Rican giant Saprissa.
This particular Panamanian opponent may be somewhat familiar to Canadian football fans: Independiente also participated in the 2019 Concacaf Champions League, where they memorably beat Toronto FC in the first round (including a 4 -0 at home in Panama). Omar Browne, the striker who scored two goals for Independiente in this meeting, then signed with CF Montreal and then with Forge FC themselves, although visa and travel issues still prevented him from prepare for the CPL team.
Now that this edition of the Concacaf League is in its round of 16, both teams will also keep an eye on the process of qualifying for next year’s Champions League: the four semi-finalists, plus the two. best quarter-finalists on the basis of their record from the previous matches (from this round), will qualify for the best Concacaf competition, therefore teams are encouraged to win each match.
“I think all players around the world want to play continental football,” Forge FC coach Bobby Smyrniotis said on Monday. “So as a team from year one we had to go out there and take that experience and really take it all in, and I think last year, 2020, made us even stronger as a group having to play every game on the road, and we saw that in our resilience in the first round against CD FAS where we had to play both games in El Salvador. It’s savoring the moment, it’s enjoying the moment, take advantage of what this competition brings.
Tuesday night promises to be special for the club and its supporters in Hamilton.
3 THINGS TO LOOK FOR:
- Who are Independiente? There is always a veil of mystery when facing an opponent for the first time, and that will be the case when Forge welcomes this team from La Chorrera, some thirty kilometers from the Panamanian capital. So far in this 2021 Clausura campaign, Independiente occupy the top spot in Group B of the country’s elite, having won four, drawn and lost two of their seven games so far. Their most recent match was a 3-0 victory over Sporting San Miguelito last Thursday night. Their squad is mostly made up of national players, a handful of whom have national team experience. Among their dangerous offensive threats are Alexis Palacios, 26, who has scored three goals this year (despite missing the last two games) and Uziel Maltez, who has also scored three times. Forge has little experience in the Panamanian opposition, having beaten Tauro FC last year in the round of 16, and coach Bobby Smyrniotis expects similar intensity in this game: “They are a team that loves apply good levels of pressure and be very direct and very energetic in your half of the field, and we expect that same DNA in this team will manifest here at Tim Hortons Field. “
- Forge must capitalize on the house advantage: After playing so many Concacaf games away from home, it will be a little strange to see Forge welcome an international enemy into their own building. In a two-legged tie with the away goals rule in effect, however, it’s absolutely imperative that Forge makes good use of his home game – ideally, keeping a clean sheet. The host pitch will be an unknown wrinkle for Forge in this competition, where they are more accustomed to traveling to new places and dealing with the challenges of moving around, playing in hostile stadiums and dealing with harsh conditions. extremely varied terrain. Perhaps it will be the other way around this time around, as Independiente enters enemy territory? Either way, Forge is due to travel to La Chorrera next week for Stage 2, so any perk they can find on Tuesday will be useful. “Playing in front of our fans, playing on this pitch gives us a very comfortable approach to how we go into the game, and there aren’t a lot of variables on the quality of the pitch or what we’re going to find,” he said. declared Bobby Smyrniotis during his pre-game. press conference. “It has to be our advantage, our home crowd, the pitch and the way they play, for us it has to be an advantage against a team that will come here and it will be a little different for them.”
- “Concentration” key for Forge in thin margins tie: Knockout football is obviously a very different animal from the league campaign. Forge finds himself playing in three competitions simultaneously, having beaten Valor FC at the Canadian Championship last week, and they have a lot of experience with that cup mindset of all Concacaf League games and the CPL final they have played in recent years. . Still, it’s a different level of intensity against a team they don’t know very well – Forge needs to stay focused and disciplined to avoid mistakes that could put them in a difficult position. “Most important are the levels of concentration,” said Smyrniotis. “One of the great things about all of the Canadian Premier League teams in our own league is that we face each other so many times, so sometimes you can be in your fourth game against York United or Halifax, so there’s a lot of familiarity. Everything is new here. You both have a lot of time to learn who your opponent is, this year we have two legs, two games, so we have to really have the level of focus, we have to really understand tactically what we are going to do for the game and how we are getting ready for the game. It’s about executing… Matches are decided on narrow margins, and most of the time there are tactical implications that come into play. “
ALL TIME SERIES
First meeting between these teams.