2022 CPL Regular Season — Match #10 Forge FC vs. FC Edmonton April 23, 2022 at 4 p.m. ET Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton, Ontario Watch Live: OneSoccer.ca & TELUS Ch. 980 // Tickets available here

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FC Edmonton make their first trip away from home of the 2022 season this weekend, as they travel to Hamilton for a clash with Forge FC at Tim Hortons Field. Both sides still await their first win of the new campaign, though neither has been wanting for highlight-reel goals in the early going. The visiting Eddies come into matchday three with two home draws, both of them salvaged in the late stages thanks to stunning equalizers. They took a point off Valour FC in their opener thanks to Tobias Warschewski's absurd bicycle kick in the final minute of stoppage time, and they bagged a draw against York United last Friday with help from Masta Kacher's 84th-minute strike. "The fact that the guys showed the resilience, the mentality, and the cohesiveness to come from behind in both those games was a nice, positive, pleasant surprise," head coach Alan Koch said of the Eddies' start to the season. "Having said that, we want to continue to grow, and we know going to Forge this weekend is going to be an almighty challenge." Forge, on the other hand, have just one point through two games. They lost their opener 2-1 to Pacific FC in a rematch of the 2021 CPL Final (which the Tridents also won in December), but Forge did claim a point at home against Cavalry FC last weekend, with David Choinière's 90th-minute goal making it 2-2 at the death. "An unforced error will catch you, and many of the errors we made in that game were not forced," Forge coach Bobby Smyrniotis said of his side's previous outing. "We were giving away easy passes, which was uncharacteristic of us, and that allowed them to be a little bit more transitional in the game. If that comes from the opponent's press or something I can live with it, that's a good job by the opponent and the coach, but in that game we have a lot of unforced errors and that's the thing that needs to get better." In previous meetings between these clubs, Edmonton have been a bit of a bogey team for Forge. Both sides have won four of their nine contests, with one draw. The Eddies won two of the three matches between the sides last season, including a 2-0 win in the Winnipeg bubble and a slim 1-0 triumph in November thanks to an Easton Ongaro goal. In terms of availability, Forge continue to struggle with a few injuries, especially at the back, as Ashtone Morgan and Jonathan Grant remain out along with centre-back Daniel Krutzen, who's more of a long-term concern. They'll have Kwasi Poku back, though, with the fullback having returned from Canada's U-20 camp early. The Eddies have a cleaner bill of health at the moment (including T-boy Fayia, who has been cleared to play after missing last week), though attacker CJ Smith will miss out due to suspension from his red card last Friday.

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  • Eddies look to build from strong defence: Alan Koch has spoken extensively in the early stages of the season about wanting to establish a strong defensive structure before worrying about developing the Eddies' attacking game. Through two games, they've looked very comfortable with a five-man backline, to the point that even Koch himself has been pleasantly surprised with how competitive his team has been. Now, though, the next evolution of the club will be to find a way to turn defensive solidity into more attacking chances on the counter-attack. "We haven't perfected it by any means, we haven't got a clean sheet," Koch said earlier this week. "We want to try and get to that stage where we can get clean sheets, and then focus on other moments of the game -- how do we possess, how do we attack. We've worked on reinforcing how we defend, but we've also worked on how we're going to play when we get the ball this week."
  • Forge need final-third efficiency to break down block: Forge's first two games of the season saw them matched up against high-tempo attack-minded opposition in Pacific and Cavalry. Edmonton will pose a slightly different challenge with their more defensive structure, and they're likely to present a low block and force the Hammers to try and break them down. So, it'll be imperative that Forge make good use of their chances; they can't afford to squander golden opportunities, as they have a couple times in previous outings. Perhaps the likes of Woobens Pacius and Terran Campbell will be key to pulling Edmonton defenders out of their shape and creating space. "They've showed a very resolute structure in how they do things and how they take their opportunities," Bobby Smyrniotis said of his opponents. "Tactically being very conservative, but they can come out and they can attack, and they can attack with speed, and they've got some quality players... For us it's just important to get into a rhythm early. If we find an FC Edmonton that sits low, we've just got to be patient about it."
  • First away trip a new proposition for FCE: Although they've looked quite solid in their first two games, the Eddies have yet to be tested outside of Clarke Stadium. Their first road trip of 2022 will pose an entirely new challenge for the young squad, and they'll be thrown off the deep end somewhat with that first trip being to Tim Hortons Field -- historically one of the toughest venues for away sides in the CPL. This will, undoubtedly, be the most difficult challenge Koch and his players have seen yet. "Playing at home as a young team is one thing; going on the road as a young team is a whole different ballgame," Koch said. "Our first away trip for us collectively with this group is going into one of the most challenging places in this league; this is a big-time challenge for us... To be honest this is probably the perfect away game that we want to play, because we want to be challenged."


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

Previous match:

November 13, 2021 – FC Edmonton 1-0 Forge FC


"The most important thing is the process, and we've had a lot of positive things coming out of the first two games. The results haven't been our way but the one thing I know is we stick to that and we keep on going."-- Forge FC head coach Bobby Smyrniotis

"It's vital that everybody stays calm, everybody is patient, everybody is aware of the outcome we're trying to achieve in the game. We're gonna go ride the ups and the downs together and go manage the game from that perspective." -- FC Edmonton head coach Alan Koch

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