PREVIEW: Forge FC vs. Vancouver FC — 2024 Match #48
Canadian Premier League

2024 CPL Regular Season — Match #48
Forge FC vs. Vancouver FC
July 5, 2024 at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT
Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton, Ontario
Watch Live: & TELUS Ch. 980 // Tickets available here

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All season, the focus for Vancouver FC has been to keep pace with the front of the pack in the Canadian Premier League.

So far, so good, as despite admittedly being seven points behind league leaders Atlético Ottawa, they head into Matchweek 13 second in the CPL table. On Friday in Hamilton, however, they face another big test against third-place Forge FC.

These are the types of games that Vancouver know they need to get results in, not only gaining crucial points for themselves but preventing another frontrunner from gaining ground. They see this moment of the season as a crucial time to pick up points against a team like Forge before the Hamilton club inevitably find their top gear again.

“They’re focused on, of course, the Canadian Championship [match],” said Ghotbi. “And I believe once that’s over, you’re going to see Forge slowly come back to the top of the table and we have to use this period to try to get as many points as we can and put ourselves in a good position. So when they’re peaking, we’re peaking and we’re in a position above them.”

The first meeting between these two sides this year, back on May 18, saw Vancouver FC defeat Forge at Tim Hortons Field for the first time in club history. Rocco Romeo scored just three minutes into that match, while a stunning Olimpico from Vasco Fry stood as the winner.

That loss is the only blemish on Forge’s home record this season, as they have won four of the five matches they have played at Tim Hortons Field during the 2024 CPL season. At 2.4 they have the most points per game at home in the Canadian Premier League and have already matched the number of wins they had at home all of last regular season.

Away from home, however, Forge have just one win in six matches and they have won just two of their last eight in the league overall. That includes a wild back-and-forth 4-3 loss to Atlético Ottawa this past weekend, which became the first time in CPL regular season action they lost a match in which they had a lead.

While Forge’s attack has been thriving in recent weeks, there are definitely questions to be asked about the team’s defensive performance of late. They conceded four goals for just the second time in club history this past week, and have allowed seven goals in the past three games. The club’s past two games rank first and third in expected goals against for the team all season.

The Hamilton club will also surely be at least somewhat distracted heading into this match by one of the biggest matches of their season to date, a home semifinal against Toronto FC on Wednesday, July 10. The last time these two sides met, it was just days before Forge’s midweek clash with CF Montréal in the second leg of the Canadian Championship quarter-finals. Forge performed well in that first match against the Eagles despite the result, and certainly didn’t rest many starters, but it will be a factor again on Friday.

For Vancouver, this will be their big game of the week, and coming off a come-from-behind 2-1 victory over rivals Pacific FC this past Thursday, they will have all the confidence that they need to come into Hamilton and push for a second straight victory.

Forge’s Kwasi Poku takes a shot against Vancouver FC earlier this season (Jojo Yanjiao Qian/Forge FC)

All CPL matches are available to stream on OneSoccer, FuboTV, or on TELUS Optik TV Channel 980.


  • Forge FC begin critical homestand: The next few weeks will be incredibly important for multiple phases of Forge FC’s 2024 season. With four of their next five in all competitions being played at home, Forge not only have a chance to have a strong start to their Canadian Championship semifinal against Toronto FC. Following Friday’s match against Vancouver FC, they take on Pacific at home on Saturday, July 14, before their lone road match of the month in Calgary on the 21st, followed by a return home to meet the Halifax Wanderers. “These games at home are very important for us, something that we talked a lot about in the off-season and in preparation for this season is being a lot better here,” said Forge FC head coach Bobby Smyrniotis. “Because that’s where we let ourselves down a little bit from points lost last year. These are important ones, and it starts with Vancouver tomorrow night. They are the one team that came in here and stole some points from our house.”


  • Alejandro Díaz loan extension a big boost for Vancouver FC: The Eagles made a significant announcement this week as it related to one of their most important players, confirming that Alejandro Díaz will be remaining with the club on loan from Norwegian club Sogndal through June of 2025. He won the league’s Golden Boot award back in 2022 as a member of Pacific FC, and after scoring against Pacific FC this past weekend, currently shares the team’s goalscoring lead with fellow striker Moses Dyer with four goals each. The chemistry and quality the pair have provided this season has been a big catalyst in Vancouver FC’s success. “Alejandro has been fantastic,” said Ghotbi. “I’m really happy to have him with us, and I think now that his future’s settled, we’re going to see him be more relaxed and more concentrated, and I feel that he’ll start scoring even more goals.”


  • Both sides search for consistency as the table gets tighter: Once again this year, it is a midseason log jam in the Canadian Premier League, as just four points currently separate second-place Vancouver FC from Cavalry FC who are out of the playoffs. A big reason for that is the fact that nobody right now, beyond top of the table Atlético Ottawa, can seem to find any sort of consistency in picking up results. No team in the league, including Atleti, has managed more than two victories in their last five games. Vancouver FC has just one win in their last five, while Forge have just two victories in their last eight CPL matches.  “We have to just keep pushing and raising our standards and trying to remain consistent,” said Vancouver FC goalkeeper Callum Irving.And I think that’s something that probably most of us in this league have been struggling with this year, is finding that consistency on a week-in, week-out basis.


Forge FC: Koleilat; Duncan, Achinioti-Jönsson, Owolabi-Belewu, Parra; Hojabrpour, Bekker, Borges; Badibanga, Choinière, Poku

Vancouver FC: Irving; Chung, Romeo, Enyou, Gee; Cantave, Garcia, Fry, Bah; Dyer, Díaz 


Forge FC wins: 2 || Vancouver FC wins: 2 || Draws: 1

Last meeting:

May 18, 2024 — Forge FC  1-2 Vancouver FC


“They’re a resilient team. They work hard on both sides of the ball. Their front group really is aggressive in the way, one, they try and move around and close areas, two, is how they challenge for first and second balls. I think that’s a very important part of their team that allows them to get their attack going, by being a little bit more direct and getting the play in the opponent’s half. I think they do a good job of that. To counteract that your tempo has to be very good. What we do with the ball has to be very good.” — Forge FC head coach Bobby Smyrniotis

“I have a lot of respect for them, as you know, and I feel that not only they’re winners, but they play the attacking football and attractive football that’s been exciting to see in the CPL.” — Vancouver FC head coach Afshin Ghotbi

“I think we know and respect what Forge brings to the table. And we know, especially playing at Tim Hortons Field is quite difficult. And so, you know, for us, we try to come into every game with the same attitude. But sometimes you come into these games and there’s just a heightened level of focus and intensity based on the opposition you’re playing and the way they like to play.” — Vancouver FC goalkeeper Callum Irving