2022 Forge FC Season Preview: Will They Reclaim the North Star Shield?

Head coach of Forge FC Bobby Smyrniotis at the CPL Final's Press Conference
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PREVIEW – Forge FC started the 2021 CPL season as two-time North Star Shield champions.  They had a terrific regular season, including having a terrific record at home. They accomplished what they could not achieve the year previous. This was to finish in the top six of the Concacaf League, which gave them a berth to the Concacaf Champions League this year. However, they failed to capitalize on their scoring chances and lost in Hamilton to the now reigning North Star Shield Champions, Pacific FC.

Players coming to Forge FC: Terran Campbell, Aboubacar Sissoko, Ashtone Morgan, Alessandro Hojabrpour, and Kwasi Poku

Players leaving Forge FC: Mo Babouli, Maxim Tissot, Paolo Sabak, Tristan Borges, Joshua Navarro, and Santiago Frias

Young Player to watch: Woobens Pacius

The 2022 Forge FC Season Preview: Can They Reclaim the North Star Shield?

Alessandro Hojabrpour and Terran Campbell comes to Forge FC

The player who scored the game-winner against Forge FC in the CPL Final is now a member of Forge FC. It was a very interesting transaction on many levels as Hojabrpour was expected to move on to another league. This is what Kristian Jack of OneSoccer said about Hojabrpour in the CPL Awards. He said this after he talked about Hojabrpour’s game-winning goal in the CPL Final.

“But he had a terrific season as well. He was right up there with the very top there in interceptions.”

Hojabrpour won the CPL Best Under 21 Canadian Player of the Year award in December. He played regular minutes with Langford, including playing 90 minutes against Cavalry FC, Toronto FC, and the famous win over the Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Starlight Stadium.

There is also Terran Campbell. Campbell has been one of Pacific’s best players and was with the team from 2019-to 21. He was a member of the Canadian U-23 provisional roster for the 2020 Concacaf Men’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament. Most significantly, according to Bailey Moreton of Saanich News, he is the current all-time leader with Pacific FC with 69 appearances and 25 goals.

Can they step up in big games in the Canadian Championship and the CPL Playoffs?

Forge FC dominated the Canadian Championship semi-final matchup against CF Montreal at Tim Hortons Field. The problem was Hamilton did not capitalize on their scoring chances. They had 14 shots and five shots on target. For example, in the 53-minute, Daniel Krutzen received the pass but was unable to put the ball into the back of the net.

CF Montreal would end up winning the Canadian Championship, defeating Toronto FC 1-0 in the final. It is important to note that the Montreal team outplayed Toronto FC at Stade Saputo in the final. It is a big one-if as Hamilton could have won the Canadian Championship.

Similarly, with the CPL Final, Forge FC was clearly the better team in the first half against Pacific FC. However, they were unable to capitalize on their scoring chances in the 28-minute for example. As a result, Pacific made them pay in the second half and won their first-ever North Star Shield.

Forge FC played well at home and on the road in 2021

Forge FC only lost at home three times in 2021. All of those losses came in the 2021 Canadian Premier League season. This does not include the penalty shootout loss to CF Montreal in the Canadian Championship as that game was tied before it went to penalties.

In particular, Hamilton did not lose a home game in the Concacaf League. The one game that came to mind was the 3-0 win over Santos de Guapiles in leg two. Forge lost the first leg in Costa Rica to AD Santos 3-1. It was remarkable how they turned it around.

Similarly, in the round of 16, Forge FC got a big result on the road. After a disappointing 0-0 draw against C.A. Independiente de La Chorrera at Tim Hortons Field, Hamilton got a 2-0 victory in Panama. This happened even though former Forge player Mo Babouli was sent off unfairly after the end of the first half. They have also shown this resilience in the CPL season, which included them beating York United FC twice on the road in November.

Last Words on Forge FC

Prediction: Winning the North Star Shield

Yes, there are teams coming up like York United FC and Cavalry FC has always been a solid team in the CPL. However, Hamilton took two valuable players from the current champions, Langford, and added them to their team. Even with the loss of players like Mo Babouli and Joshua Navarro, they still have a team to be feared in the Canadian Premier League. Also, the development of Pacius, who scored eight goals in 16 games last year is another feather in the cap for Hamilton. They could also win the 2020 Canadian Championship Final against Toronto FC, which will take place in Hamilton, Ontario.

Photo Credit: Canadian Premier League/Chant Photography on December 4, 2021.