Forge FC kept their regular season title hopes alive on Sunday, as they nabbed a big 3-2 comeback win over Valour, allowing them to stay within seven points of league leaders Cavalry.
Their first win at IG Field since September 12th, 2019, Forge was made to work for their victory, as Valour looked likeliest to win when they went up 2-1 in the 57th minute.
From there, however, Forge would do well to respond, grabbing two late goals to grab a crucial three points, one that keeps them mathematically alive in the title race and inches them that much closer to clinching a playoff spot.
As for Valour, it’s all but spelled the end of their playoff hopes, with their elimination possible as soon as the end of this matchday depending on the other results around them.
Clinch/Elimination Scenarios: Cavalry punch playoff ticket, Pacific could follow suit in Week 23
To begin the game, Forge nearly grabbed an early lead off a sixth-minute corner. There, Alexander Achinioti-Jönsson reacted quickest to a dangerous Kyle Bekker ball into the near post, just flicking his header over the net from in-close.
At the other end, Valour had a great look of their own in the eighth minute, as Matteo de Brienne found Kian Williams with a great cross, but Williams sent his header just wide of the mark from inside the box.
Continuing a fast start to the game, however, Forge would manage to open the scoring in the 11th minute. After a great ball over the top from Manjrekar James, Aboubacar Sissoko did well to get in behind the Valour defence, before chipping the ball over a stranded Rayane Yesli in Valour’s goal to give his team a 1-0 lead.
Yet, that lead wouldn’t last very long, as Valour responded with an equalizer through Kian Williams just minutes later. After forcing a nice save from Triston Henry on a shot from outside of the box, Williams managed to stay alert to the rebound, which Matteo de Brienne would do well to collect and slot over to Williams for an easy left-footed finish.
Eager to add another to his tally, Williams almost made it a brace in the 20th minute. There, he found the space to cut inside and fashion a shot on his right foot, but he’d flash his curled shot just wide of the post, keeping the game tied at one.
After a couple of half-chances from Forge, including a Béni Badibanga shot from distance that sailed wide and a Kyle Bekker free kick that struck the wall, Valour found a great chance to make it 2-1 in the 31st minute. After a nice run from Juan Pablo Sánchez, he flashed a dangerous shot from a tight angle, forcing a great save from Triston Henry.
Valour continued to push, though, as they looked to grab that lead before half time. Which, to their credit, they’d nearly do in the 46th minute, as Walter Ponce got on the end of a great cross from Diego Gutiérrez, but his header would be kept out by an acrobatic stop from Henry.
On the other side of the break, Forge would have the first good chance of the second half, as Terran Campbell got on the end of a nice through ball from Kevaughn Tavernier, but his shot would be easily saved by Yesli.
Then, Badibanga found himself inches away from a goal of the month candidate, as he did well to cut inside on his right foot and fire a shot from just outside of the box, just sending his shot over the goal.
Having found a way to absorb that Forge pressure, Valour would grab the lead in the 57th minute. After a great ball over the top from Marcello Polisi, de Brienne managed to get onto it first, and he’d just manage to squeak the ball past the strong hands of an onrushing Henry to make it 2-1.
Yet, that goal wouldn’t sink Forge, who’d do well to respond less than 10 minutes later. After a great run into the box from Rezart Rama, he found Woobens Pacius with a great cutback, and the Forge striker would make no mistake in slotting the ball home into an empty net to make it 2-2.
Not done there, Forge would build off that, as well. First, Kyle Bekker nearly snuck one past Yesli in the 67th minute, before Sissoko tried one from distance soon after, also finding himself denied by Yesli.
Wanting to regain their lead, Valour nearly found a way to do so in the 74th minute, as Jared Ulloa fashioned a good shot from a tight angle, but he’d be denied by Henry’s fist on the stop.
From there, however, that would allow Forge to regain their lead in the 84th minute. After Woobens Pacius managed to win a free kick, Badibanga stepped up to take, and he’d wrong-foot Yesli with a swerving knuckleball, putting his team up 3-2.
Then, Pacius nearly added his brace late on, as he did well to find some space in the box in the 94th minute, but he’d flash his right-footed shot well over the crossbar.
Soon after, however, the referee would blow the final whistle, as Forge managed to see out their victory despite a late push from Valour.
11′ — Aboubacar Sissoko (Forge FC)
13′ — Kian Williams (Valour FC)
57′ — Matteo de Brienne (Valour FC)
66′ — Woobens Pacius (Forge FC)
84′ — Béni Badibanga (Forge FC)
27′ — Yellow: Rezart Rama (Forge FC)
34′ — Yellow: Khadim Kane (Forge FC)
58′ — Yellow: Béni Badibanga (Forge FC)
58′ — Yellow: Bench (Forge FC)
82′ — Yellow: Guillaume Pianelli (Valour FC)
88′ — Yellow: Woobens Pacius (Forge FC)