2022 CPL Regular Season — Match #31 FC Edmonton vs. Forge FC May 31, 2022 at 9 p.m. ET/7 p.m. MT Clarke Stadium in Edmonton, Alberta Watch Live: OneSoccer.ca & TELUS Ch. 980 // Tickets available here

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Forge FC make their first visit to Edmonton of 2022 this week, as they head to Clarke Stadium for a clash with FC Edmonton on Tuesday night. These sides already met this year, in a 3-0 win for Forge back in Hamilton in April, but the story may well be a different one as the matchup shifts to Alberta.

The Eddies come into this game still looking for their first win of the 2022 campaign. In eight games, they have three draws and five losses, putting them at the bottom of the table as it stands. Alan Koch's side will come into this midweek fixture hoping to snap a four-game losing streak in CPL play by toppling a difficult opponent in the Hammers.

Thankfully for Edmonton, they'll play Tuesday having enjoyed some much-needed rest over the past week. Their most recent contest was last Sunday, May 22, when they lost a close 2-1 result at home to Atlético Ottawa.

Forge, meanwhile, are also looking for somewhat of a reversal of fortunes, as they seek to put last Wednesday's Canadian Championship loss to CF Montréal firmly in the rear-view mirror. That was a match that coach Bobby Smyrniotis counted among the worst performances he's seen from his club, so this game in Edmonton presents an opportunity to get back on track. Forge seemed to be on the verge of a strong run of form last week, especially when they beat HFX Wanderers FC 4-0 at Wanderers Grounds back on May 20, but the loss in Montréal was a major disappointment for the club.

"We had a tough performance, not indicative of who we are, in the last game out in the Cup, but you move on," Smyrniotis said on Monday. "The same as when you win games, you just move on; you're only as good as your next one. This is the next most important game on the schedule, going to a place that's been proven to be difficult for opponents this year, (Edmonton) have done a good job at home."

Forge sit in sixth place in the CPL table right now, with two wins, two draws, and three defeats. They're just one point back of both Valour and York United in fourth and fifth place, and three behind Atlético Ottawa in third, so the Hamilton side will be looking to climb their way up the standings. Plus, this is an important match for Forge to find some form and momentum heading into next Saturday's match with Toronto FC in the 2020 Canadian Championship Final at Tim Hortons Field.

As mentioned, these sides played each other in Hamilton earlier this year, in a game where Terran Campbell's two-goal, one-assist performance made the difference in the end.

"That was the first game where we really struggled," Koch recalled on Monday. "I think I used 'men against boys' after that game, and that was a men against boys type of game. We're hoping tomorrow night's not going to be a men against boys type of game... We want to show some growth. We struggled last time against Forge; hopefully we can put in a better showing in the game tomorrow. There are no miracle overnight solutions, this is a project with a group of players that are young, who are inexperienced, and we're going to grow from these experiences but it doesn't just happen in one day, it doesn't just happen in a week."

Historically, clashes between these two have been fairly even; Forge lost 1-0 in Edmonton toward the end of last season, and they fell 2-0 in early July, though they won a rematch in mid-July in the Winnipeg bubble.

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  • Extended rest period could benefit Eddies: The schedule in the first two months of the season has not been easy for FC Edmonton, who -- as of last Sunday -- had played more games than all but one team in the CPL. Since then, though, they've had just over a full week off, which has allowed them to focus on some much-needed recovery within a fairly battered squad. Head coach Alan Koch explained that the extra days have been quite helpful to his side in allowing them to come into Tuesday a little fresher than they'd been in prior matches -- plus, having been away from game action for a bit longer, there's more hunger within the squad to return to the pitch in full force. "By virtue of us playing so many games in such a short amount of time to start off with it literally feels like it's been weeks, if not months, since our last game," Koch said Monday. "It allowed us to give the guys a little bit of time off, but it also allowed us to do some extra work. It allowed us to get some bodies back and healed up. And we're excited to play the game. If you're playing a game every three days, or every week, or every nine days, you're always gonna be excited, but this has allowed us to rest and recover a little bit more and hopefully we can go in and play with renewed vigor in this game."
  • Forge leaning on leaders to maintain focus: This trip to Edmonton comes at a tricky time for Forge, right in between two matches against MLS teams. Last week's loss to CF Montréal was a very disappointing one that has undoubtedly put some more fuel on the fire when it comes to motivation for Saturday's final against Toronto FC. Before they can think about that, though, there's this game to worry about. The Eddies have already proven this year that Clarke Stadium is a very difficult place for opposing teams to come; every game they've played has been competitive, and they've pulled out three well-earned draws at home so far. So, Forge boss Bobby Smyrniotis said on Monday that he'll be leaning on his more experienced players -- the likes of Kyle Bekker, Alexander Achinioti-Jönsson, and Triston Henry -- to ensure the squad is not looking past this game -- one where the visitors need a result to push themselves up the table. "We have quite a few guys in here who have been here since 2019, and with us playing a lot of big games on the schedule, having league games in between, it's something they've been accustomed to," Smyrniotis said. "Having guys who have experienced that over the last three and a half seasons, it gives us that guided influence for some of the new players and younger guys. That's what makes them not only good players on the field but also leaders off the field."
  • Singh suspension provides challenging opportunity for young FCE defenders: Centre-back Luke Singh, on loan from Toronto FC, has been one of the most dependable players for FC Edmonton so far this year; he's played every minute of all but one of their games, having missed out on a trip to Pacific, and he's even worn the captain's armband on several occasions. However, he'll be suspended for Tuesday's match after being sent off for a second yellow card last weekend against Atlético Ottawa. The Eddies have rotated several other young players through the backline alongside Singh, from Nyal Higgins to Bicou Bissainthe to Cale Loughrey, and they might need all of them on Tuesday. Perhaps this will be a contest where FCE returns to the back five in defence to deal with Forge's attacking threat -- though it will depend on who's available, and if the likes of Wesley Timoteo and T-boy Fayia are able to play on the flanks in that line. "We're FC Opportunity right now, that's who we are," Koch said. "We lose a player through suspension, another player gets an opportunity. Luke's a young player, it means one of the younger guys is going to get an opportunity. We've had Cale (Loughrey) play, we've had Kelsey (Egwu) play, we have a few options, and we can adjust formation if we need to... We're disappointed to see Luke get suspended because he's been ever present for us, but we embrace it. Now another guy gets a chance. We haven't just played 11 players; that's the beauty of what we have. We're using what we have, so the guys are used to us having to adjust and we'll adjust in this game."


FC Edmonton wins: 4 || Forge FC wins: 5 || Draws: 1

Previous match:

April 23, 2022 – Forge FC 3-0 FC Edmonton


"We go into every single game as if it's a new game. I said to the players today at the end of training, tomorrow is our Champions League final, because this is the game we want to play and perform. But once we finish that game, the next game becomes our Champions League final, the very next week. We have to have that mentality because we need to be hungry. We haven't won a game yet; we can make excuses, we can use factors, but at the end of the day we want to go into every game and do whatever it takes to try and achieve a positive result." -- FC Edmonton head coach Alan Koch

"This is what we call the banana peel game sometimes. When you look at the opponent you're playing, they're at the bottom of the table, but then you look at the results of Edmonton and they've all been very close, especially at home -- whether it's been a tie, in the last moments where they've given up a lead, or it's been a very close game for them. We know going there's not an easy place to play. It's not the best field in quality of the turf, so concentration needs to be at its highest. Sometimes for the players it's easy to get ready to play a game against Toronto FC, or a final, or a Concacaf game, but these ones are the ones that need the highest level of concentration." -- Forge FC head coach Bobby Smyrniotis

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