Forge FC’s journey in the 2020 Concacaf League will begin in El Salvador next month.
The official draw for this year’s Concacaf League took place in Miami on Monday evening, with Forge being selected to play Municipal Limeño of El Salvador in the tournament’s preliminary round.
Forge and Municipal Limeño will join 20 other club teams from 11 countries across North and Central American and the Caribbean in the competition, which provides a qualification pathway to the more prestigious Concacaf Champions League.
The opening matches of the Concacaf League will be played between Oct. 20-22, and the two-legged final concludes on Jan. 28, 2021. Should Forge prevail over Municipal Limeño, it will meet Tauro FC of Panama in the round of 16 in the first week of November.
The preliminary round and round of 16 will be played as single-elimination, knockout games hosted by the higher-ranked cub.
The quarter-finals (Dec. 1-10), semifinals (Jan. 5-14, 2021) and finals (Jan. 19-28, 2021) will be traditional two-legged aggregate series, with home and away matches.
Monday’s draw saw Forge avoid such higher-profile sides as Independiente de La Chorrera, Fútbol Club Motagua of Honduras, and Liga Deportiva Alajuelense of Costa Rica. Founded in 1949, Municipal Limeño is making its debut into Concacaf competition this year.
That decision had major implications for Forge, who by virtue of winning the 2019 CPL championship last November qualified to represent Canada in the 2020 Concacaf League.
Forge participated in last year’s edition of the Concacaf League, for which they qualified by winning a CPL Fall season mini-table competition in 2019 against FC Edmonton and Valour FC.
The Hamilton-based club became the first CPL side to represent the league in international competition, beating Guatemalan outfit Antigua GFC 2-1 on aggregate in the preliminary round, before falling 4-2 to Honduran club CD Olimpia in the round of 16.
Last year’s tournament champions were Costa Rican club Saprissa, who qualified for this year’s Concacaf Champions League along with five other participants from the Concacaf League (all four semifinalists plus the two strongest quarter-finalists based on their tournament results).
Forge also qualified for the 2021 Concacaf League by virtue of being crowned 2020 CPL champions after defeating HFX Wanderers FC 2-0 in The Island Games final this past weekend.