Transcendent Forge FC midfielder nominated for Defender of the Year

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Published October 18, 2022 at 2:12 pm

Transcendent Forge FC midfielder nominated for Defender of the Year
Forge FC midfielder Alexander Achinioti-Jönsson is nominated for Defender of the Year, honouring the best defender during the CPL regular season.

It’s not a typo. Forge FC midfielder Alexander Achinioti-Jönsson is the nominee for this year’s inaugural Defender of the Year award, honouring the best defender during the 2022 Canadian Premier League regular season.

Achinioti-Jönsson is one of three nominees alongside York United FC’s Dominick Zator and Pacific FC’s Amer Didic, the latter being natural defenders.

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Due to injuries, the 26-year-old Swede was asked to start the season as a centre-back for the Hamilton-based club instead of his usual defensive midfielder position. Achinioti-Jönsson has been such a steady presence on the Forge backline, head coach and technical director Bobby Smyrniotis decided to keep him there.

Achinioti-Jönsson was key to Forge conceding the fewest goals (25) of any CPL club during the regular season. His distribution skills, passing accuracy, and aerial presence also contributed to Forge compiling a league-leading 47 goals through 28 matches.

He celebrated making his 100th appearance for Forge this season and led the league with 1,996 passes. Achinioti-Jönsson’s nine blocks, 29 interceptions, 49 clearances, and 31 aerial duals won were the most by any Forge player during the regular season.

Forge hosts Cavalry FC on Sunday in the second leg of their semi-final after the two sides played to a 1-all draw in the first leg in Calgary.

The award will be voted on by select media members, with the winner revealed at an in-person ceremony during the league’s 2022 Finals Weekend.

The winner of the Defender of the Year award will receive a unique piece of Inuit soapstone art, carved by artist Ruben Komangapik. The Walrus statue was chosen to honour the CPL’s best defender because the animal is one of the ocean’s toughest creatures, feared even by polar bears and killer whales, like a tenacious defender who is a guardian of the gates for his squad.

The in-person CPL awards ceremony will be held ahead of the league’s playoff championship match, to be played the weekend of either Oct. 29 or Oct. 30. The highest-seeded team to reach the playoff final will earn the right to host the championship match.

For Forge to host the CPL Final in Hamilton, they will need to beat Cavalry on Sunday, and Pacific will have to beat Atletico Ottawa by three-or-more goals in the other semi-final.

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