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Hamilton Forge FC Repeats as CPL Champions

CPL Final - Forge FC vs HFX Wanderers FC - Charlottetown-PEI - Sept 19, 2020 - Championship Team Photo. (CPL-Chant Photography)

Both Hamilton Forge FC and HFX Wanderers FC were equal in the first half of the game. Hamilton Forge FC looked like the better team, but the Wanderers had the best chance in the first half. The Wanderers played well defensively to keep the ball out of the net. However, Wanderers kept turning it over or making mistakes. This cost them in the second half as Forge FC were clearly the better team. As a result, Forge won the 2020 North Star Shield.

The 2020 North Star Shield is Won by Hamilton Forge FC

Three Keys to the Game

Molham Babouli the Player of the Game

Molham Babouli was the player of the game. In the 72-minute, he passed it to David Choinière, whose shot was stopped by Wanderers goalkeeper Christian Oxner. Then in the 79-minute, Babouli went past two Halifax defenders before Halifax goalkeeper Oxner safely got the ball. However, it was his assist in the 60-minute that played a big role in Forge winning the game. His tremendous cross pass was met by a great header by Alexander Achinioti-Jönsson. This gave Hamilton Forge FC the go-ahead goal.

Forge FC Took Over the Second Half

At the end of the game, the only notable statistic Forge FC did not do well on was possession. However, Forge pressured the Wanderers all game long. As a result, it looked like most of the Wanderers’ possession was at the defensive end of the ball. Furthermore, Forge ended up with more shots with 11, and more shots on goal with five. However, the corner kicks were where Forge FC had a massive advantage as they had 11 compared to the Wanderers two.

This included corners and  free-kicks from the 50-minute to the 57-minute mark. This pressure ended up with Forge FC scoring their first goal.

This put the Wanderers chasing the rest of the game. As a result, Maxime Tissot scored Forge FC’s second goal, which clinched the game for Hamilton. Although, Oxner would want that one back as it was an easy shot to stop.

HFX Wanderers FC Had Very Few Chances

The HFX Wanderers did not threaten Forge FC goalkeeper Triston Henry. Most of their chances came in the first half. Their biggest chance came in the 37-minute. Alessandro Riggi’s shot hit David Edgar’s arm inside Hamilton’s box.

When looking at the play, it is tough to tell. However, Edgar’s arm was quite close to Riggi so it should have been called a penalty. Also, the One Soccer commentators have mentioned a penalty has been given to other CPL teams this year on a similar play.

However, besides that chance, the Wanderers really did not threaten goalkeeper Henry. They had seven shots, but only two on target. Part of it was Forge FC’s pressure, and the other was the Wanderer’s inability to look dangerous at the offensive end. For example, in the 66-minute, João Morelli put a free-kick well over the bar. They also turned over the ball a few times, including one that almost led to a Choinière goal in the 72-minute.

Hamilton Forge FC are Deserving 2020 CPL Champions

The North Star Shield and 2020 CPL Champions is Hamilton Forge FC. Yes, the HFX Wanderers FC started off well. Also, besides that one mistake that led to Forge FC’s second goal, Oxner played well in the final. Lastly, the Wanderers played better in the final than their final group stage game against Pacific FC. However, the second half of Forge FC was good enough to repeat as CPL champions.

By winning the 2020 CPL Championship in Charlottetown at UPEI Artificial Turf Field, Hamilton Forge FC is eligible to play in the 2021 Concacaf League and the 2020 Canadian Championship Final against MLS-side Toronto FC. The 2020 Canadian Championship is supposed to take place in December 2020 and/or January 2021.

What is Next for Hamilton Forge FC and HFX Wanderers FC?

It is unclear what the format is for the Canadian Championship Final. However, it seems likely that there will be only one leg in the Canadian Championship Final. A reason for that could be that playing in December or January is too cold for soccer in Canada. This will be the first time the first-tier teams from both Toronto and Hamilton will face each other since 1991 in the now-defunct Canadian Soccer League.

Hamilton Forge FC will not need to wait though before playing the 2020 Canadian Championship Final. This is because they also won the 2019 CPL Finals against Cavalry FC, which gives them a berth in the 2020 Concacaf League. This tournament will be used to determine who will advance to the 2021 Concacaf Champions League. This will be Hamilton’s second appearance in the Concacaf League tournament. The 2020 Concacaf League is slated to start in the 20 October 2020 and end on the 28 January 2021. Although these dates could change because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Unfortunately, for the HFX Wanderers FC, this was their last game of 2020. They like the other six CPL teams will have to come and regroup when the CPL season restarts next year.


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