2021 CPL regular season — Match #38 Forge FC vs. York United August 3, 2021 at 7 pm ET Tim Hortons Field, Hamilton, Ontario Watch Live: OneSoccer.ca // Tickets available here

Forge FC and York United will lock horns again in the 905 Derby Wednesday, this time with Hamilton playing hosts at Tim Hortons Field for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic took hold. Bobby Smyrniotis’ side snagged all three points in their all-Ontario tilt on Friday thanks to an early Mo Babouli goal. It was the club’s first points after returning to home markets post-Winnipeg bubble and gave traveling supporters much to smile over in highly-anticipated sell-out at York Lions Stadium. A good crowd is expected at Tim Hortons Field, too, as we’ve seen in every CPL market so far, as the two-time defending champs return home for the first time. Celebrations, including the raising of both 2019 and 2020 championships, are slated for Sunday vs. Atlético Ottawa as Wednesday’s tilt is a rescheduled date initially set for Forge’s Concacaf League tie with El Salvador side C.D. FAS. York coach Jimmy Brennan attributed his team’s slow start, and goal conceded, against Forge on Friday to the crowd. Smyrniotis clearly dismissed such complaints of supporter turnout and added jitters Wednesday, adding: "I don’t care if we’re playing here or in El Salvador with 40,000 fans, I love spectators, I love fans there. Whether they’re with us or without us, that’s the heartbeat of football. It’s the energy of the sport and it brings more to the game." While Nine Stripes supporters would prefer to see a full-strength side attempt to exact revenge on their 905 rivals, it will be a battered group that will take the field Wednesday. York will be without Diyaeddine Abzi after he earned a fourth yellow card, rather innocently, after sending the ball back to Forge ‘keeper Triston Henry after a stoppage in play. They will have Dominick Zator available after the club successfully appealed the red card suspension he was given at the weekend. Five points split the two sides in the CanPL standings, with Forge FC third on 15 pts (5-0-4) and York second from the bottom on nine pts (2-3-4) from nine matches.

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  • New turf at Tim Hortons Field
Eagle-eyed supporters will spot a new playing surface at Forge’s home ground Wednesday. The new turf field was installed while the club was in Winnipeg – and the side has had about 10 training days to adjust to it. Smyrniotis says the group has had ample time on the new playing surface which is set to play to the club’s ball-playing strengths. "It suits the way we want to play a lot more than before, 100%," Smyrniotis said. "We played some excellent football at a Tim Hortons Field but sometimes that ball was bouncing a little bit too much, moving too quickly. This new turf allows us to play a much better game tempo-wise and to really control the style and the pace of play. "It's gonna be a very positive thing to the style of play that we want on the field."
  • Forge healing, but keeping cards close to chest
The prognosis out of Forge camp Tuesday was positive, as Smyrniotos played doctor for a "part injury, part health" report on his team. The side sported a short bench on Friday, giving 17-year-old Sebastian Castello and the 18-year-old Santiago Frias minutes near the end of the match. Smyrniotis, though, kept his report vague. Whether or not Daniel Krutzen, Chris Nanco, or David Choinière – just to give examples of Friday’s absences – will see the pitch depends on the club’s upcoming games, including a two-match run in Concacaf League "We're doing good – a few guys have gotten back into training getting themselves going," Smyrniotis began. "We just have to be smart about this game. We have Sunday, and then we go away to El Salvador for two very important games. So we're just trying to find the right balance. "I think the guys are looking fresh both physically and mentally."
  • Costly giveaways in midfield
York’s Achilles heel in Friday’s tilt was costly midfield giveaways. Both match-changing moments – Babouli’s goal and the break that forced Zator to foul a streaking Tristan Borges – happened after the team coughed up possession in questionable sequences, something seen often in the season-opening bubble in Winnipeg. The team leads CPL clubs in turnovers (44) – a worrying stat when facing all teams but especially Forge, who use speed and counter-attacking nuance well.

Forge FC wins: 4|| York United wins: 2 || Draws: 1

Previous match:

July 30, 2021 — Forge FC 1-0 York United


"There’s a good energy about the place and they seem to be a little bit happier now that they are sleeping in their own bed. There's a good feeling around the lads right now that should come out on Wednesday." York United coach Jimmy Brennan

"Every game, every training session you play you try to get closer with your teammates – when it comes to [Tristan] Borges, we chatted last game that it was the first one we could really play together in. It was a nice feeling because we worked quite well together – something we hope to do Wednesday. " Paolo Sabak, Forge FC

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