2022 Canadian Championship — Preliminary Round
Forge FC vs. Mont-Royal Outremont
May 11, 2022 at 7 p.m. ET
Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton, Ontario
Watch Live: OneSoccer.ca & TELUS Ch. 980 // Tickets available here
Forge FC’s 2021 Canadian Championship campaign ended with them hosting a team from Québec at Tim Hortons Field, so it seems only right that their 2022 tournament begins in the same fashion. The Hamilton side will take on PLSQ champions Mont-Royal Outremont in the preliminary round of this year’s competition.
The Hamilton side was one of the stories of the tournament last year, going on a run all the way to the semi-finals. In that match, despite outplaying the eventual champion CF Montreal, Forge lost in penalties in a heartbreaking fashion.
The spot-kicks went 11 rounds before Forge keeper Triston Henry saw his penalty attempt saved by 2021 player of the tournament Sebastian Breza. The CF Montreal goalkeeper would score his penalty to send his side to the final.
Forge will be out for revenge in this year’s tournament, and the bracket sets up nicely for them to get that opportunity. Should they win this match, Saputo Stadium and CF Montreal await. Beyond that, they will be looking to return to the Concacaf Champions League which they played in for the first time this past year, falling to Cruz Azul.
But first, they need to handle business against a solid Mont-Royal side who will be looking to make history and would certainly love a trip to Saputo Stadium themselves. No semi-professional team has ever beat a Canadian Premier League side in this competition to date.
“At the end of the day they’ve got everything to gain and nothing to lose from these types of matches,” Forge coach Bobby Smyrniotis told media. “For them you expect them to come out here and give everything they have. It is one game, that’s the beauty and the beast part of the competition for this year, it is single-game [elimination]. So we have to be at our best.”
While they may not be as battle-tested as Forge at this level, Les Griffons do boast a solid squad. Goalkeeper Gabard Fénélon has 34 caps for Haiti, Maxime Oliveri played professionally in France, while 23-year-old attacker Protais Mutambala is a former Ottawa Fury player and represented Canada at the youth level internationally.
“This is the biggest game our club has played, well the highest level I would say,” said Mont-Royal Outremont President Luc Brutus. “It is an opportunity to show what the club is all about on the field, outside of the field also.”
Forge will have added some familiarity on their side as Forge assistant coach Kyt Selaidopoulos was Mont-Royal’s technical director for over a decade.
“Knowing the opponent a little bit better, knowing who their players are, and the intricacies involved in how they play,” said Smyrniotis of the advantage that presents. “With them not having played any official matches this year it is important to have that scouting depth on the players and know their qualities.”
Brutus laughed and said he hasn’t spoken with Seladiopolous since the draw was announced, but said it will nice to be reunited after the full-time whistle.
Make your match picks prior to kickoff at canpl.ca/predictor for a chance to win prizes, including the grand prize of a trip to the 2022 CPL Final! To learn more about ComeOn!, click here.
All CPL matches are available to stream on OneSoccer, or on TELUS Optik TV Channel 980.
3 THINGS TO WATCH
- Forge battle-tested in cup competition: No team in this competition has as much experience in cup soccer as Forge in the past few years. Between the Canadian Championship, CPL playoffs and continental competition, Forge has played 27 knockout stage matches since its inception in 2019. What has Symrniotis learned is key to getting results in do-or-die matches? “Details,” said the Forge head coach. “Football is one thing and we love to focus on our football, but details make all the difference in the world. These are games of moments, so you have to be in games like this aggressive in the way you play, but always turned on to everything. The most important play in the game is a throw-in, and that kind of puts it down to the smallest little detail, and that’s what we have to look at tomorrow.”
- Forge ready for “hungry” Outremont side: All the pressure will be on Forge in this match as the heavy favourites. With that in mind, they are ready for an Outremont said who is going to play with nothing to lose. Smyrniotis said it is going to take every bit of their concentration and ability to make sure that they advance to the next round of this competition. “We’ve been in that position. I think it is similar for us when we played Concacaf Champions League and we are the underdog and we know how it feels like,” said Forge attacker David Choinière, later adding, “They are going to give everything they have, it is probably the biggest game of the year, some guys probably the biggest games of their careers. So it is going to be exciting for them and we need to be ready to match their energy”.
- Who will be the next semi-pro player to impress? Alistair Johnston, Mo Farsi, Zach Fernandez, Ryan Raposo, Anthony Novak, Diyaeddine Abzi. There is an impressive list of players who have represented either the PLSQ or League1 Ontario in the early rounds of this competition and gone on to catch the eyes of professional clubs. This will be on the mind of just about every Mont-Royal player who steps on the pitch Wednesday. Keep an eye out to see if anyone impresses, they might just show up again in the near future at the professional level. “I know some of [our players] went to a couple of trials at the CPL level and I know that for them it is an opportunity to see if they can match that level,” said Brutus. “They are excited to be there, they are excited to show themselves and obviously, they are going to compete to win that game.”
“That’s what everyone loves about cup competitions around the world. You get each level of the game involved and I think that’s what makes these games special throughout” — Forge FC head coach Bobby Smyrniotis
“That’s the nature of our soccer club, we are competitive, whether we play a Canadian Championship or any other game, it is always the same, we are there to win that game.” — Luc Brutus, Président, Mont-Royal Outremont