2022 CPL Regular Season — Match #58 Forge FC vs. FC Edmonton July 19, 2022 at 6:45 p.m. ET Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton, Ontario Watch Live: OneSoccer.ca & TELUS Ch. 980 // Tickets available here

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It starts in Hamilton. Then Halifax, Calgary, Ottawa, York, Winnipeg, a quick trip home, before going back to Ottawa and York. Over the next nine matches, FC Edmonton will play eight away from home, a monumental road swing especially for a side with their roster situation. In a year of tests for the Eddies, this might be the biggest. Can they stay fit and energized enough to consistently deliver the brand of competitive attacking soccer they have shown in recent weeks? They will get their first chance to answer that question on Tuesday, as they head to Tim Hortons Field for a difficult match against Forge FC. The last time they visited Hamilton, things did not go so well for the Eddies. A Terran Campbell double, his only two goals of the CPL season, led to a 3-0 loss on April 23, matching FC Edmonton's worst result this season. With that being said, Edmonton have shown significant progress as a group since that match, and have picked up two wins in their last four matches. Since that visit to Tim Hortons Field, and a 0-0 home draw against Pacific that immediately followed, Edmonton have scored in each of their last ten matches. "It's halfway through the season and you have [already] seen a very big progression from them," said Forge FC midfielder Noah Jensen. "They started out the season a little disorganized but they have really hit the ground running right now and they've been playing really well in the past couple of games. Even at the beginning of the season they might have been unlucky not to get some results, but right now they are playing their best football. We all know that, and we all know it's going to be a tough matchup when they come here tomorrow." That stretch included scoring three goals on Forge in their last meeting, a 4-3 home loss where they had the lead twice. This is consistent with the history between the two sides, as for whatever reason Edmonton has been a thorn in Forge's side since the league kicked off. They beat Forge twice in the inaugural CPL season, and have done so two other times since. This current Edmonton side has proven itself to be a handful in recent weeks. Even after going down 3-0 in their most recent match against Pacific FC on July 9, they nearly came all the way back as the match finished 3-2. Forge will be keeping a close eye on the main way that this current edition of the Eddies has hurt opponents in recent weeks. "They have become a little more vertical as a team in trying to find different spaces on the field," said Forge FC head coach Bobby Smyrniotis. "More direct in situations and trying to find teams out of shape, I think they did a very good job of that against Pacific in their last game. They created a lot of opportunities in getting in behind, and taking [those] opportunities." Both sides will come into this match well rested, as Edmonton's last match came against Pacific on July 9, while Forge haven't played since they visited York Lions Stadium on July 8. This means both sides should have plenty of fresh legs to contest what promises to be a highly entertaining match.

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3 THINGS TO WATCH

  • FC Edmonton know details will help deliver success on long road trip: While they have been finding success at home of late, the road has still been difficult for Edmonton, where they have collected just a single point this season. They also have a league-worst 2.4 goals against per game away from home. With that being said, this trip will be about more than just on-the-pitch performance. Koch and his staff have also worked hard to do their due diligence in terms of preparing their players in terms of recovery and travel to make sure they are as fit as possible when they step onto the pitch over the next few months. "Whatever we can influence and control we want to make sure we take care of that," said Koch, "and that is whatever we can do from a travel perspective, whatever we can do from a nutrition perspective, trying to make sure the players get adequate sleep in the different places. All of those little things."
  • What Forge has learned from past long layoffs: Bobby Smyrniotis has been clear on this point, he really does not like gaps in his team's schedule. He feels Forge is at its best when they have good rhythm, and given all of the competitions they have been a part of in recent seasons they are used to playing a lot more often than they have at times this season. Forge last played on July 8, a 2-0 win away at York United. The club has had mixed results managing these breaks this season, and are trying to learn from past experiences as to how to do that best. "The ten day breaks in between games is a long time to keep your focus," said Jensen. "But there's a lot that you have to get out of these ten days, you have to keep your fitness levels high as well as keeping your sharpness as high as possible. I think that's something that we've been able to achieve. We've trained every day this week, we have had an intersquad match, and I think we're hitting the ground running going into the next run of games."
  • League's best defensive team continues to get healthier at the back: With 11 goals allowed through 12 matches, Forge FC have the league's best defensive record. That is an impressive feat, considering they spent stretches of this season without a single natural central defender in their lineup. That situation, however, appears to have stabilized, and Forge took another step forward in terms of their health at the back during this long layoff as Dom Samuel and Alex Achinioti-Jönsson have both returned to full training and will be available for this match. "Most of it has to do with what we do on the ball," said Smyrniotis. "That is the biggest thing to how we defend or what we do in our defending concepts. It is how good are we on the ball and how good we are in our reactions when we lose the ball and where we lose the ball. That is something we have worked on quite a bit."

ALL-TIME SERIES


Forge FC wins: 6 || FC Edmonton wins: 4 || Draws: 1

Previous match:

May 31, 2022 FC Edmonton 3-4 Forge FC


KEY QUOTES


"Edmonton is probably historically, and I don't know all of the records, but probably a team that has given us the most problems. If we look at it most people will say Cavalry or some other team but it really hasn't been, it has been Edmonton." -- Forge FC head coach Bobby Smyrniotis

“There is no pressure on us. Over the history of this league, they are the most successful club so they are expected to win this game. But we want to go, and we want to go put in a good performance. Hopefully, a good performance means we get something out of the game.” -- FC Edmonton head coach Alan Koch

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