2021 CPL regular season — Match #50 Forge FC vs. HFX Wanderers August 22, 2021 at 4:00 pm ET/ 5:00 pm AT Tim Hortons Field, Hamilton, Ontario Watch Live: OneSoccer.ca // Tickets available here

In the first rematch since they faced off in the 2020 Island Games Final, Forge FC and HFX Wanderers do battle Sunday afternoon at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton.

Both sides are coming into Sunday having recently advanced in knockout football outside of league play. Forge defeated El Salvador-based club CD FAS 5-3 across two legs to progress past the preliminary round and into the Concacaf League round of sixteen. After taking the first leg 3-1, the Hammers settled for a 2-2 draw on Tuesday night to see out the tie as Joshua Navarro and Jonathan Grant got on the scoresheet at Estadio Cuscatlan.

Meanwhile, Halifax got past PLSQ team AS Blainville in a midweek Canadian Championship clash with a 2-1 win at Wanderers Grounds on Tuesday. After Cory Bent's early goal from a corner was answered by the visitors, substitute João Morelli converted from the penalty spot to see his side into the next round. HFX will next face MLS side CF Montreal in the CanChamp next month.

Sunday's meeting will be the first between these two teams in 2021 but also serves as the opening fixture in what will be five head-to-head matchups between Forge and Halifax between now and October 23.

Coming off of two consecutive statement performances in Central America, Forge will be hoping to carry that Concacaf momentum into league play. Sat in fourth in the CPL table with 18 points from 11 matches played — a point behind third place Valour with two fewer games played — the Hammers will look to make those games in hand count starting at home this weekend.

After two straight matches in which they opened the scoring and failed to pick up any points for their troubles, the Wanderers will be desperate for a positive result at Tim Hortons Field as they look to claw back into the playoff picture, currently trailing fourth-place Forge by seven points for that final postseason position.


  • Forge carry Concacaf confidence back to CPL: In what has been an up and down start to the season for Forge in league play, going down to El Salvador and grinding out a two-legged result can only do good for the chemistry and confidence of a team already boasting plenty of winning pedigree from past years. More specifically, 2019 MVP Tristan Borges, who got off to a relatively rough start to 2021 given his previous accolades in the CPL, looked more like himself in Central America — a return to form head coach Bobby Smyrniotis and the rest of the squad are excited about: "We're just happy to see him getting his feet moving and have two excellent matches down in El Salvador, very good matches before left as well against Ottawa and York... all of this stuff is very good for us and it's needed at this point in the season." If Smyrniotis can get the likes of Borges, Mo Babouli, and Joshua Navarro all firing at the same time, the Hammers have the potential to start climbing towards a more familiar position near the top of the table.​
  • Halifax looks to avenge Island Games Final loss: It's been just shy of a calendar year since Forge repeated as CPL Champs by defeating HFX 2-0 in the 2020 final and the two sides have yet to meet since that occasion. While Wanderers head coach Stephen Hart suggests the motivation of picking up much-needed points is his team's real motivation going into Sunday, he recognized the need to be sharp across the entire 90': "I don't know about the extra motivation, we sort of take the same approach for every game," said Hart on the prospect of seeking revenge against Forge. "We have to be in full concentration being away from home and just do the little things a little bit more refined." Whether the chance to get one back on the Hammers is on the minds of Halifax, the first meeting between the two since the Island Games should make for good entertainment for both sets of supporters.​
  • Opportunity to make games in hand count: As the only two clubs to play just 11 matches to date, both Forge and Halifax have the chance to gain some ground on the teams they're chasing with a win on Sunday. For the Hammers, three points would see them past Valour and into the top three while Halifax could jump beyond FC Edmonton into sixth and would be just four points behind Forge for the final playoff spot were they to win. Although the two sides currently find themselves in different places in the standings, neither team will be looking for anything less than a victory as they play catch up in matches played.​


Forge FC wins: 2 || HFX Wanderers wins: 1 || Draws: 4

Previous match:

September 19, 2020 — Forge FC 2-0 HFX Wanderers (2020 CPL Final)


"They've always been a tough opponent, they're a team that can come in and out of different ways of playing... Once they do that, it starts becoming sometimes difficult for the opponent and I think we've seen that this year." — Forge FC head coach Bobby Smyrniotis

"We know Forge is the defending champions and they're always a team with a lot of quality, they're consistent in the way they play." — HFX Wanderers head coach Stephen Hart

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