The first ever Canadian Premier League title is coming home to Hamilton. After a tense 1-0 win at Tim Hortons Field last week, Forge FC held on to their lead in game 2 against fierce rival Cavalry FC, winning the inaugural championship.
The stage was set yesterday, November 2nd: on a crisp and clear day in Calgary, Forge FC had to defend their 1-0 lead for 90 minutes. A 1-0 scoreline for Cavalry FC would send the game to penalty kicks, whilst a 2+ goal win by the Calgarians would keep the title in Alberta. All other scores would mean Forge FC would win the title on aggregate.
It became a tense affair for the players, staff, and fans in orange. For the entire 90 minutes Cavalry poured on the pressure, not giving Forge any time to get their feet settled. The number of real chances were limited. A few headers sailed over the crossbar, an Escalante freekick missed by about a meter, and that was really it. The Forge defense, which has been exceptional all season long, locked it down in the back, frustrating the opponent and their fans.
As the 90th minute arrived, all Cavalry players poured into the box for one last offensive corner. The ball sailed into the box, bounced away from the goal, broke free as defender Daniel Krutzen lunged for it. Did he trip his opponent in the process? Penalty kick for Cavalry in the dying seconds? The home team sure thought it should be.
But the referee decided otherwise. Two Forge players were allowed to continue play, storming across the field. A 2-on-1 versus the lonely goalkeeper was properly executed and Forge went 0-1 up, by a David Choinière last-minute goal.
As the clock went down to 0, the players and fans knew the title was in the bag. Forge FC would be Forever First, taking home the first ever North Star Shield.
FOREVER FIRST! 🏆
— Forge FC (@ForgeFCHamilton) November 2, 2019
Star player Tristan Borges summed up the team’s thoughts best, post-match, while speaking to reporters: “It’s unbelievable, I’ll keep saying it until my voice goes out; with a team like this, with the ups and downs we had, there was a lot of pressure on us at the beginning of the season and we didn’t exactly start as well as we wanted to in both halves of the season. This team really gathered together, everyone played their part, and now we have a championship.”
All across Hamilton, fans went on to celebrate the historic first season and the first title. The Barton Street Battalion – official supporters group of Forge FC – made sure that the EndZone Bar & Grill was packed to the rim; the perfect setting for a celebratory drink after the final whistle.
— Louis Butko (@Louis_Butko) November 2, 2019
The team is coming home today, where they will celebrate the win with the fans. Make your way down to Gate 3 of Tim Hortons Field (on Sunday, November 3rd), where you’ll get your chance to congratulate the players and get a glimpse of the title shield, starting at 7 pm.
Next season can’t come soon enough
It will be another 5 to 6 months before Forge FC takes the pitch again, for the 2020 CPL season. This day can’t come soon enough. Not only will the title defense be on, Forge FC will also represent Canada in the CONCACAF League, giving them the chance to go head-to-head with talented teams from North and Central America.
Don’t miss your chance to be part of Forge FC’s forming years and grab yourself a season ticket. It’s bound to be another historic season in the Canadian Premier League!
Lead photo courtesy of Forge FC