Forge FC bow out of CONCACAF League, ahead of CPL final on Sunday

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Published December 1, 2021 at 10:27 pm

Forge FC goalkeeper Triston Henry, in green, makes a save during a CONCACAF League second-leg semifinal match against FC Motagua in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, on Wednesday. (CONCACAF Photography)

Forge FC coach Bobby Smyrniotis got some of his first-choice players off the pitch early ahead of a championship game back home.

The Hamilton pro soccer club could not find the away goal it needed in the CONCACAF League semifinal second leg, as they drew 0-0 with F.C. Motagua in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, on Wednesday night. That was enough for Motagua to move on to the final through a tiebreaker, since they bagged a pair of away goals during a 2-2 draw in Hamilton on Nov. 24.

By the time the issue was decided, standouts Tristan Borges, Omar Browne, Garven Metasala and Joshua Navarro had long performed their cooldowns after being subbed out in the second half. Forge, of course, will need their legs before they host Pacific FC in the Canadian Premier League championship at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday (Dec. 5) at Tim Hortons Field. Forge are vying to three-peat as CPL champions.

The purpose of CONCACAF League is to determine six entries in the 2022 CONCACAF Champions League. Forge FC has already earned one of those tickets and will join Major League Soccer’s CF Montréal as the Canadian representatives in next season’s competition.

Goalkeeper Triston Henry made a leaping save in the 74th minute to keep Forge in the hunt.

The run of play was even in the opening 45 minutes, with Forge and Motagua level in shot attempts (6) and shots on target (2). Forge had a 4-2 edge in corner kicks.

Coming out of the break, Forge made a push for a goal, but Motagua goalkeeper Jonathan Rougier rose to the challenge. Rougier, a 34-year-old Argentinian international, turned away strong challenges from both Navarro and Mo Babouli.

Navarro was the first starter to check out, with David Choinière replacing him in the 65th minute. Borges departed in the 67th for Paolo Sadak. Garven, the impressive rookie defender who is on the Haitian national team’s radar, was replaced by Wooben Pacius in the 74th. Six minutes later, Omar Browne came out, with Chris Nanco replacing him.

In the first leg, Forge broke through late for a 2-2 draw, with Navarro and Kwama Awuah scoring goals in the 87th and 94th minutes.

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