Forge FC’s Concacaf League run has been about difference-makers. As the Canadian Premier League winners-turned-underdogs made inroads in Central America, a couple of players stood out above the rest. Victories over Club Deportivo Municipal Limeño in El Salvador and Tauro FC in Panama were powered by attackers such as Mo Babouli, David Choinière, and Anthony Novak (who has a goal and assist in just 65 minutes of play). But a tragically bizarre defeat to Haitian side Arcahaie FC put Forge in a crucial Champions League play-in match on Tuesday with Honduran side Club Deportivo Marathón. Forge’s do-or-die tilt vs. Marathón will likely come down to a few close margins, with these danger men the ones most likely to close the gap for the CPL Champions.
BROADCAST ALERT: Forge FC vs. Club Deportivo Marathón, Tuesday Dec. 8 at 9:55 pm ET on TSN5 & TSN.ca
Mo BabouliNo Forge player has been better in the late stages of these exhausting Concacaf League games than Mo Babouli, who's notched a goal and assist through three matches. The 27-year-old has continually found a second wind when facing Forge's Central American opponents, allowing his technical ability to shine in the extra space left by lagging defenders. Think back to their Concacaf League opener against Municipal Limeño. Babouli ripped apart their defensive unit after Forge went down to 10 men, slipping the ball between lines and evading tackles. Babouli’s hold-up presence late in the match kept possession deep in Limeño’s half and eventually led to Novak’s winner.
Daniel KrutzenKrutzen’s influence in Forge’s Central American run has been inescapable, playing all 270 minutes alongside centre-back partner David Edgar. Forge’s Dutch defender is second in Concacaf League’s scoring race after converting back-to-back penalties in the last two rounds – the first of which clinched a Forge victory in the dying moments. He’s also provided some tricky deliveries as a much-needed set-piece specialist for a Forge side encountering well-organized defences. Remember the free-kick that rattled the crossbar in the second half vs. Arcahaie?
David ChoinièreForge FC’s big-game winger has a goal and assist through three matches, with his ability to run at and behind defenders turning out to be Bobby Smyrniotis’ biggest asset in the final third. Take his assist on Babouli’s goal vs. Tauro, as seen above. Catching their backline in transition, the former Montreal Impact product is still yards behind the defender when he calls for the ball. Not only does he catch up to the through ball, he manages a wicked cut from the right and delivered a tricky ball at speed. His goal against Limeño was similarly impressive, if nothing else than for the timing of it. Not the first time he beat the defensive line, either. It’s no wonder Choinière has success in "big" games for Forge. With slim margins, against tough defensive units, you need some quick thinking to match.