Final Score: Forge FC 0-1 York United Goalscorers: Alvaro Rivero (54') Game of the 2021 season: 39 CPL match: 173
FORGE 0, YORK UNITED 1 COVERAGE: Recap & Highlights, Sights & Sounds, JACK: No more ace to play for Forge after losing irreplaceable Achinioti-Jonsson
Match in a minute or lessYork United scratched, clawed, and kicked their way to a revenge 1-0 905 Derby win over Forge FC Wednesday, taking an Alvaro Rivero goal all the way to the end. Rivero's sending off, Nathan Ingham heroic penalty save, and a previously suspended Dominick Zator all counted against the visitors in the Hamilton home opener – but the side still managed to grab all three points.
Three Observations'We defended for our lives out there' Back against the wall doesn't even begin to describe how the Nine Stripes handled Wednesday's result. The number of factors counting against the side slowly stacked up; a penalty call eventually saved by Ingham… who went off injured, a red card with a half-hour to play, and a handful of players holding their ground out of position. All of this was saved by Dominick Zator, York's crown jewel off-season signing, who saw a red card suspension rescinded by Canada Soccer 24 hours before kickoff in Hamilton. He went on to record 11 clearances and four interceptions – both match highs by quite some distance. "It was definitely a challenge back there," Zator said, quickly mentioning the various hurdles his United faced on the day. "We're working together well… The attitude from this group has been amazing. You can't break down against Forge… When we go down a man just means we need to be a bit more structured back there." Coach Jimmy Brennan was elated by Zator's performance. "The thought of not having Dom going into this game was a bit scary," Brennan said after the match, counting the many personale concerns caused by injuries. "He's a born leader – the way he was helping someone like Max [Ferrari] at left back was very, very good." Indeed, Zator's late inclusion in the side makes you wonder what the scoreline would have been without him – one of two natural defenders in the York backline. Forge impressive in attack despite attacking woes: 'The pitch worked for us in the statistics' While the result didn't tilt in Forge's favour, the club certainly looked comfortable in their homecoming. Bobby Smryniotis' side had 67.7 per cent possession through the 90+ minutes – more than any other match this season as the side adapted a more scrappy direct approach at The Kickoff in Winnipeg. Before the match, coach Smyrniotis mentioned the new playing surface at Tim Hortons Field suited their style of play and, despite the lack of goals, they played the way they wanted. "We see the pitch worked for us in the statistics, other than the goal, so maybe we need the pitch to slope a little bit more towards the opponent.," Smyrniotis said with a smirk after the match. "This new turf will be a very positive thing for us as the season goes on so we need to make sure we take advantage of that – it's the biggest pitch in the league, too." Forge missed a penalty through Tristan Borges (more on that later) – one of 16 shots on target. Their midfield also enjoyed a fruitful day moving the ball into dangerous areas, completing a dozen-or-so eye-catching passes through or over the heart of York's defence with ease. OneSoccer's Oliver Platt pointed out the side recorded 38 touches in the opposing box – fifth-most in CanPL history. They also had a sky-high expected goals total, according to Centre Circle Data. Forge was also forced into an early change when Alexander Achinioti-Jonsson left the match with a head injury. As Kristian Jack points out, the deep-lying midfielder's presence was ultimately needed on Alvaro Rivero's goal. "What we did today is usually what you want your team to do but unfortunately sometimes this game as beautiful as it is, we'll turn on you." Tristan Borges' slow start nothing to worry about In an innocent start to Wednesday's press conference, Forge attacker and former CanPL award starlet Tristan Borges welcomed a standard "how is it going" greeting with "it's going s---." The 22-year-old missed his fair share of chances – from a penalty save to several open play clear-cut opportunities that could have easily turned the match around. But Borges, despite the early expletive, was reserved and mature about the second match in a row where his side failed to convert against a 10-man York squad. "We all have enough confidence – you can see we have a lot of quality in our attack. We just need to be better at closing those chances… I say 'we' putting a little bit more on myself," Borges said. "We're creating the chances – the confidence is there, the work ethic is there. It was nice to get in front of fans tonight too." Wednesday's match was also the club's return to Tim Hortons Field after an absence in 2020. Borges and the rest of the squad will celebrate both the 2019 and '20 CanPL championships this Sunday when Ottawa visits. Borges, who has scored once this season, was the last player to score at home in Hamilton in Leg 1 of Finals 2019 – a championship-winning effort he hopes to replicate soon.
CanPL.ca Player of the MatchDominick Zator, York United As mentioned by coach Brennan, York would have been in a much different place without Dom Zator. Match-high 11 clearances, four interceptions, and a solid passing game to boot, Zator marshaled the York backline through some muddy waters. His top moment came late on when Mo Babouli's top-of-the-six shot was blocked by a slide and later cleared away, saving the result for York.
What's next?York will head east for a tilt with HFX Wanderers FC on Saturday (2pm ET/3pm AT). Forge is set to host Atlético Ottawa on Sunday at 1pm ET – their final domestic match before flying to El Salvador to take on CD FAS in CONCACAF League in a two-legged affair, the first of which comes Tuesday (8pm ET). Watch all matches live on OneSoccer.