2021 CPL regular season — Match #98 HFX Wanderers FC vs. Forge FC October 23, 2021 at 2 pm ET/3 pm AT Wanderers Grounds, Halifax, Nova Scotia Watch Live: OneSoccer.ca // Buy tickets HERE In addition to its website and app, OneSoccer is now available on TELUS channel 980 and on Fubo TV. Call your local cable provider to ask for OneSoccer today.

Eastern and CPL playoff rivals HFX Wanderers FC and Forge FC will meet Saturday at Halifax’s Wanderers Grounds in a pivotal playoff encounter for sides looking to take advantage of some promising results. With a win, Hamilton could be the second CPL team to earn a playoff berth, following Cavalry FC’s clinching Thursday in a 2-0 win over Pacific FC. If Halifax wins or ties, they’ll eliminate far-flung FC Edmonton from playoff contention and put themselves in a good spot as the regular season winds down. Forge, sitting in third through 24 matches – two less than the rest of the playoff pack – returns to domestic play after a rather disappointing away tilt in the quarterfinal of Concacaf League when they fell 3-1 to Costa Rica’s Santos in the first leg. Kyle Bekker’s finish on a neat team play was all Hamilton could take from the away trip as they prepare to play Santos at home next week with an away goal. Saturday’s match is sandwiched between Concacaf League and their 2021 Canadian Championship semi-final with MLS side CF Montreal at Tim Hortons Field. The team travelled directly, so to speak, from Costa Rica to Halifax – a trip that entitled a 6:00 am departure and 1:00 am arrival in Nova Scotia. "We know that we're doing our best as a staff to manage," Forge coach Bobby Smyrniotis said of their travel itinerary. "That was the reason we flew straight into Halifax to not just have multiple flights." Halifax, meantime, is set to host Forge for the third and final time in the regular season and only two weeks after their last match where a Mo Babouli backheel was all that separated the teams in 90 minutes. Stephen Hart’s side has since gone on to best league leaders Pacific FC at home and draw Cavalry away in a scoreless result… All thanks to some heroics from Keiran Baskett and his injury-time penalty save at Spruce Meadows. Saturday’s contest has major playoff implications starting with the Wanderers, who hold the fourth spot by a single point over York United, who will be in action Sunday when they visit Atlético Ottawa. The Wanderers’ playoff chances were certainly bettered in Valour’s match at midweek where the sixth-placed side fell to Atletico Ottawa 2-0 in the nation’s capital, leaving the Wanderers five-point clear of their Winnipeg rivals with a game at hand. Forge, meanwhile, can leapfrog Pacific for second in the CPL with a win as they stand on 40 points and a 13-1-8 record.

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  • Halifax scoring woes continue, Morelli remains out: Hart’s side hasn't had the best time in front of goal recently, with their only marker in the past three matches being an own goal – and their expected goals from open play, as available by Centre Circle Data, has taken a corresponding nosedive. Their three totals in October including a 0.09 rate against Forge last time out stand at the bottom of their match-by-match totals on the season. This is undoubtedly due to Joao Morelli’s absence, with the golden boot winner still injured and will not be available Saturday. Versatile winger Alex Marshall has been back training, though, giving Hart a reason to be optimistic, though goalkeeper Christian Oxner is out while Matteo Polisi and Omar Kerim are back in team training as well.
  • Awuah misses first match in 10 with suspension: Forge will be without Kwame Awuah and Tristan Borges for Saturday’s affair, with the former’s absence – coming on the heels of 10-straight starts – being a significant one considering how Awuah has handled Forge false left back role throughout their season. Smyrniotis, while highlighting Awuah’s contributions, said the team was fortunate to lose him to injury earlier in the season, allowing other players to slot on and near tactical looks: "Garven Metusala is a fully fresh player and we know he's fully capable of sliding into different positions in the back… And throughout the year we’ve used different formations to go along either with tactical adjustments or based on the opponent."
  • Forge rarely loses back-to-back matches: Forge has lost back-to-back matches just three times in their short history, a total that could be altered Saturday. When you start to qualify those losses, including a late-season 2019 stint where Smyrniotis heavily rotated his side, and at the start of this season when the team arrived for the Winnipeg Kickoff bubble with a criminally short pre-season, it seems even more impressive Forge has managed to avoid a slide. While a Halifax win would do Hart wonders, the records show it’s unlikely for Forge.


HFX Wanderers wins: 2 || Forge FC wins: 3 || Draws: 5

Previous match:

October 6, 2021 — HFX Wanderers FC vs. Forge FC


"To be honest on the result a couple of nights ago, there's not much to dwell upon… We know the importance of this game for Halifax and we also know the importance of the game for us." – Forge FC coach Bobby Smryniotis

"I don't detect any sort of stress from the players. They know what have to do and they're supportive of each other – it’s not like they’re nervous or anything going into this stretch." — HFX Wanderers FC coach Stephen Hart

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