After months and months of build-up and a massive turnout of around 18,000 fans at Tim Hortons Field, the first 90 minutes of Canadian Premier League soccer has now wrapped up, with Forge FC equalizing late against York9 FC to end this historic day with a 1-1 draw. Months of speculation now turns, instead, to match analysis – and while it's still early days, here are three things we learned about Forge FC and York9 FC after the final whistle.
York9 FC's backline makes them a contender

Much of the talk ahead of the match was of Forge FC being favourites on the day – and, in truth, for the season, as Bobby Smyrniotis assembled what looked like a strong, well-oiled machine on paper. But an early goal, coupled with resolute defending from a still-young-and-unfamiliar backline showed clearly that Jimmy Brennan's side will not be walked over, or forgotten. Goalkeeper Nathan Ingham made save after game-changing save, and while he was a touch fortuitous on Tristan Borges' crossbar-smacking effort, credit must go where it's due – having faced six shots on target to their sole effort, York9 FC's backline held steady long enough to secure a point in a tough environment, all while facing the pressure of this moment in history.
Forge FC bringing dynamic attacking mentality

Outshot 20-6, York9 FC's attacking quartet of Simon Adjei, Wataru Murofushi, Manny Aparicio and Cyrus Rollocks were utterly pale in comparison to Forge's offering – Borges, Kyle Bekker, Emery Welshman, Kadell Thomas, and, in particular, Chris Nanco looked threatening throughout the 90 minutes. And, while Nanco's smart runs down the left flank weren't exactly met with the sort of sharpness in front of goal that Smyrniotis will have wanted, the fact that his team was able to maneuver around York9 with as much efficiency and poise as they did still indicates that there's something special in the works within his ranks. If Forge FC's attacking movements can tighten up such that these players can begin to connect on key passes a little more frequently, the Hammer won't be kept off the scoresheet to 1-1 draws on days like this for much longer.
The Canadian Premier League is here to stay

It would be unbecoming of the day not to mention the tremendous support that both sides brought to Tim Hortons Field. Barton St. Battalion? Yup. The brought it. With flags and banners and noise (and songs!) the boys clad in black-and-yellow were a presence throughout 90 minutes in their home stands. As for Generation IX and the rest of the travelling Nine Stripes throng? They were in healthy voice, too, filling the stadium with cheer just three minutes in as their boy Ryan Telfer scored the very first goal in Canadian Premier League history. Say what you will about the quality on the field – which in this writer's view, was at an admirable level, with a promise only to increase as the weeks roll on – but in the stands? That was as first-class a Canadian soccer match as any. The Canadian Premier League is here to stay. It's ours, and Canada is ready for it.

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