Canadian Premier League — Match #74 Forge FC vs. HFX Wanderers FC September 15, 2019 — Tim Hortons Field (1:00 p.m. ET) Watch Live:

Forge FC's campaign for the Fall title continues this weekend, as a well-rested HFX Wanderers FC tries to play spoiler in their return to the pitch in Hamilton on Sunday after a two-week hiatus.

Holding onto their first-place position by a thread (just one point separating them from Cavalry FC), Forge is perhaps the hottest team in the league right now after they convincingly did away with Valour FC on Thursday in a 3-1 win. Their 7-1-2 record has them ahead of the pack by a hair, but they'll make up a game in hand on Sunday, hoping to stretch their lead to four points. Bobby Smyrniotis' side was nothing short of dominant for long stretches in their last two games — wins over York9 and Valour — and thus the highest-scoring team in the CPL poses a daunting task to any challenger.

RELATED READING: 'Confidence is high': Novak, Forge sweep Valour as Fall lead grows

One club that has been pretty quiet in recent times is HFX Wanderers. They've been off since Sept. 2nd when they drew 0-0 at home with FC Edmonton. Like Forge, HFX have played just 10 games of their Fall schedule, but they have just eight points. The Wanderers' last win came on Aug. 5, a 1-0 triumph over Valour. Since then, they're 0-1-2, with a fairly light schedule over the past few weeks. They'll be much busier in the homestretch of the Fall season, so Sunday's game is an opportunity to start their run on a good note.

As this is a home-and-home series, these two teams will play each other again next week in Halifax. After Sunday's clash in Hamilton, Forge and HFX will shift to Nova Scotia for Wednesday's tilt at Wanderers Grounds (5:30 p.m. ET, 6:30 p.m. AT, on OneSoccer).


  • Home sweet home: Don't look now, but Forge is on a six-game winning streak at Tim Hortons Field (in all competitions), and they've allowed just three goals in that stretch. The Hammers sailed past 905 Derby rivals York9 last weekend, and before that they shut out Cavalry for a critical 1-0 win. That home field advantage will loom large against HFX Wanderers, who still have yet to win a CPL match on the road. An HFX win in Hamilton would be a huge statement from the East Coast club, but Forge has been so solid at home that it'll be something of an upset if the Wanderers pull it off.​
  • Shake off the rust: It feels like the Wanderers have had too much time off in the past month or so to really get into a groove, with just two games played in the last 30 days (compared with seven for Forge). Rest can be good, especially for a team trying to recover from injuries, but too much time off and a team might lose some of its cohesion. The challenge for Stephen Hart's men will be remaining at match fitness and using their time off to their advantage. If they've refined their tactics and stored up some energy they can use to run Forge ragged, they're in business.​
  • Don't get complacent: In the first half of Thursday's romp over Valour, Forge looked like they might be poised to challenge Cavalry's 8-0 result in Winnipeg. The ultimate scoreline was much less lopsided (3-1), but the potential was there in the opening half-hour. Forge's second-half performance, while composed, was a little dull and toothless, as they cycled the ball but didn't threaten much. They certainly didn't need to keep scoring, but slipping into a routine made them vulnerable to incisive counter-attacks like the one leading to Tyler Attardo's goal. If Forge does get in front, they can't rest on their laurels; HFX is great at striking on the counter.​


Forge FC: Triston Henry; Dominic Samuel, Daniel Krutzen, David Edgar, Jonathan Grant; Giuliano Frano, Kyle Bekker, Kwame Awuah; Chris Nanco, Anthony Novak, Tristan Borges

HFX Wanderers FC: Christian Oxner; Ndzemdzela Langwa, Duran Lee, Matthew Arnone, Andre Bona; Mohamed Kourouma, Juan Diego Gutierrez, Andre Rampersad, Akeem Garcia; Thomasz Skublak, Luis Alberto Perea


May 4 - HFX Wanderers FC 2-1 Forge FC July 17 - Forge FC 2-0 HFX Wanderers FC


Tristan Borges - 9 goals (Forge FC) Akeem Garcia - 4 goals (HFX Wanderers FC)


Elimane Cisse (Forge FC) - Doubtful





ACCUMULATION (Players are suspended for one match 14 days after accumulating a 4th Yellow Card)

Bertrand Owundi Eko'o (Forge FC) - 3 Matthew Arnone (HFX Wanderers FC) - 3 Chrisnovic N'Sa (HFX Wanderers FC) - 3 Andre Rampersad (HFX Wanderers FC) - 3 Juan Diego Gutierrez (HFX Wanderers FC) - 3 Alex De Carolis (HFX Wanderers FC) - 3


Referee: Fabrizio Stasolla ARs: Peter Pendli & Gérard-Kader Lebuis 4th Official: Filip Dujic

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