2022 CPL Regular Season — Game #51 (ComeOn! Game of the Week)
Forge FC vs. Atlético Ottawa
July 3, 2022 at 4 p.m. ET
Tim Hortons land in Hamilton, Ontario
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The only Sunday game this weekend in CPL action is a fascinating ComeOn! Game of the Week, as Forge FC welcome Atlético Ottawa to Hamilton for the second time in 2022.
Bobby Smyrniotis’ Forge team will return to the pitch at Tim Hortons Field in search of a reversal of fortune, after lost at home to Valor FC on Wednesday — their first defeat in friendly territory since the 2021 CPL Final. That game saw the Hammers repeatedly denied by a stingy Valor backline, as William Akio provided the only breakthrough the Winnipeg club needed to clinch a impressive victory against the three finalists of the CPL.
Forge, however, remains in a strong position with a lot of confidence; prior to this Valor game, they had won four straight in CPL action, beating their opponents 14-3 along the way. As it stands, they’re fourth in the standings with a 5-2-3 record (tied on 17 points with fifth-placed HFX Wanderers), but they’ve still played at least two fewer games than all other league teams. That said, they will have been disappointed to lose at home midweek after a 10-day layoff, and as such, it will be essential for them to start well against Ottawa and move up the ranks.
Hoping to build momentum of their own, Atlético Ottawa, who beat HFX Wanderers 2-0 on Thursday at the Wanderers Grounds to move into sole possession of second place with a 6-3-3 record.
The only time these teams met this season was also at Tim Hortons Field in May, when Ollie Bassett and Noah Jensen traded scoring goals en route to a 1-1 draw between the Ontario teams. Historically, Forge has had the upper hand in this game with six wins in seven games, as Ottawa has never beaten the Hamilton club. In fact, Bassett’s goal in May was the first Atleti have ever scored against this opponent.
Now that they’ve snapped their scoreless streak, the next step for Ottawa will be to finally take three points against Forge — although it’s never easy to do that in Hamilton, especially after the hosts have just lost at home.
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All CPL matches are available to stream on OneSocceror on TELUS Télé Optik channel 980.
3 THINGS TO WATCH
- Forge looking to bounce back from a home loss: Forge FC have only lost five CPL games at Tim Hortons Field in their history. Each time they responded immediately with a win in their next game. It’s not often that a team comes to Hamilton and beats Bobby Smyrniotis and company, like Valor did on Wednesday, but it’s rare that two teams do it one after the other. So it will be an uphill battle for Atlético Ottawa in their quest to claim their first-ever victory over Forge, especially with one less day between games after their own game on Thursday. After Wednesday’s loss, Forge staff and players spoke openly about the need to get back on the horse quickly against Ottawa. Kyle Bekker offered after the game, looking ahead to Sunday: “We have to be able to look and reflect on what we lacked as a group; I think there are little things, maybe we weren’t disciplined in our patterns or whatever, but we’ll go back and get back to it. We trust our staff with this task, we know they are going to test us with the video and we just come back with a positive attitude and just say, hey, let’s do it right. And what better way to do it than on Sunday.
- Ottawa finds goals everywhere: Atlético Ottawa sit second in the league table, but they haven’t necessarily been dazzled by their individual points; on the contrary, they delivered strong and well-rounded team performances, thanks to the strong base they have at full-back and in midfield. Thursday in Halifax, their goals came from midfielder Ollie Bassett and fullback Miguel Acosta, as they continue to find contributions from across the lineup. Depth of goalscoring options is important in the Canadian Premier League, and while Ottawa would surely love to see a striker find a scoring streak, they have nonetheless been very successful in limiting opposition and producing goals wherever they see fit. can.
- Dueling midfielders could decide the battle for possession: They’re a pair of clubs who both like to play with the ball – especially in recent weeks when Ottawa have started the season a little behind but have started playing more expansive possession football lately so players get used to new coach Carlos González. So if both teams are looking to put themselves forward, expect the battle to take place in the middle of the field. Forge’s trio of Kyle Bekker, Aboubacar Sissoko and Alessandro Hojabrpour have so far been able to top just about any opposing group, but Ottawa have some quality down the middle as well. Ollie Bassett and Ben McKendry have been one of the CPL’s top double pivots this season, and they’ll be looking to break up Forge’s possession and create complex passing sequences to the front line as well. González may choose to put another body in midfield to match Forge’s trio, which could be the very experienced Abdou Sissoko – who has played a lot in recent minutes at centre-back, but is more naturally a defensive midfielder . Anyway, the individual duels in the middle will be in the spotlight early and often on Sunday.
ALL TIME SERIES
Forge FC wins: 6 || Atlético Ottawa wins: 0 || Draws: 1
May 14, 2022 — Forge FC 1-1 Atlético Ottawa