The Forge FC vs Guadalajara game on Wednesday will be the first-ever meeting between the two teams. The team representing Hamilton did face Liga MX opposition before though two years ago against Cruz Azul.
Forge FC vs Guadalajara Predictions at Tim Hortons Field
Forge FC (3-0-2)
Forge FC was not the best team in the 2023 CPL season. However, when it came to the playoffs, the team stepped up. Despite losing its last two games of the 2023 CPL season, Forge stepped up in the 2023 CPL playoffs.
They won two games in playoffs against their rivals, Cavalry FC (representing Calgary), who won its second CPL Shield with 55 points throughout the 2023 CPL season. This was 13 points more than both Forge FC and the HFX Wanderers FC.
As a result, the team representing CPL won last year’s North Star Cup as well as the first three of the four North Star Shields (the North Star Shield is the predecessor to the North Star Cup).
— OneSoccer (@onesoccer) October 29, 2023
The goal by Tristan Borges in extra time in the 2023 CPL Final, might have been one of the best goals ever scored. This goal allowed Forge to win the 2023 North Star Shield. Also, for Forge, they were the first team in CPL history to win the championship at home. Forge had a chance to do that in the 2021 CPL Final but lost to Pacific FC by a scoreline of 1-0.
Kyle Bekker, who was part of that victory with Forge and helped get that set-piece that resulted in Borges scoring, said this after going down a goal (source: OneSoccer):
Bekker is the obvious player that Guadalajara will watch for, being a captain of a team that has won four championships in five years, he is the one to watch. He also led the team and was tied for first in the league with eight assists. Woobens Pacius will be another player to watch as he led the team with 10 assists and was tied for third in the league in that category.
C.D. Guadalajara (2-1-2)
— CHIVASTV (@chivastvmx) February 5, 2024
Guadalajara has won two straight games, including an impressive 2-0 win on the road against San Luis. This is a great bounce back from the team after they only earned one point in its first three games in the Liga MX Apertura. This happened because of Guadalajara’s ability to earn themselves penalty kicks, which led to two goals scored by Víctor Guzmán.
There is also a new head coach at the helm, as Fernando Gago said this on December in the César Huerta and the Andy Hall’s Ciudad de México article:
“Expectation is high, it will be a very nice challenge,” he explained. “The project really seduced. From now on, a new path begins, in a different country, a different city, so I will be trying to make the most of it.”
This is Guadalajara’s first game in this competition since 2018, when they won the then named Concacaf Champions League over Toronto FC. Guadalajara qualified for the Concacaf Champions Cup after finishing as runners-up of the 2022–23 Liga MX Clausura competition.
Players to watch out for includes Roberto Alvarado, who leads the team with six goals scored and Ricardo Marín, who leads the team with three assists.
Forge FC’s Experience at the Concacaf Champions Cup and What To Expect
Forge FC’s experience at the Concacaf Champions Cup (Concacaf Champions League) can be traced to the 2022 Concacaf Champions League against Cruz Azul. The Hammers played decently well against Cruz Azul in the 1-0 loss at Tim Hortons Field, before bowing out in a 3-1 loss at Estadio Azteca. This is what Kyle Bekker said in Neil Davidson’s The Canadian Press article about the game:
“I think we have to come into the game with a certain level of humility,” said Forge captain Kyle Bekker. “They’re obviously a massive club. They have very good players and there’s going to be spurts in the game where they’re going to have the bulk of the possession. That’s just the reality.”
In the same article, Smyrniotis added this:
“It’s a team that’s in full stride,” said Forge coach Bobby Smyrniotis. “So if you think you’re going to walk onto the pitch and you’re going to match them on the fitness level, you’re wrong. So you have to be very methodical as a team, you have to really plan well, try and get the tactics done as best as possible.
Unfortunately, Forge FC got some bad news as their goalkeeper, Triston Henry, is set to miss out on Wednesday night’s game because of a personal matter (source: Mitchell Tierney of the Canadian Premier League):
“Unfortunately he won’t be available for these ties, at this moment,” said Smyrniotis during Tuesday’s media availability. “Triston has taken some personal time off to deal with a very personal matter. We are behind him on that and we continue forward.”
— Forge FC (@ForgeFCHamilton) January 31, 2024
Still, it is not all negative, as Senegalese midfielder, Elimane Cissé, returns to the squad as he played for the team based in Hamilton from 2019-21, winning two North Star Shield’s along the way.
How to Watch The Game and Predictions
Predictions: Forge FC 1 Chivas Guadalajara 1
While Guadalajara is a big club with pedigree, Hamilton is a solid team of their own. Even with all the concerns Smyriotis and Bekker has said, this team has been consistent in the Concacaf region and in CPL. They are good enough to get a result at Tim Hortons Field, or even a win if they convert their scoring chances.
Fans can watch this game live on OneSoccer at 8:00 PM ET and also on Telus and FuboTV at Tim Hortons Field. This will also follow in the number of memorable games including hosting Cruz Azul two years ago as well as the memorable win over the USMNT in World Cup qualifying.
Photo Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports, of Forge FC Fans Headshot, on June 4, 2022.
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