Forge FC, again flying the flag continentally for the CanPL, successfully negotiated their way into the round-of-16 for the second successive season in the CONCACAF League.
They did it the hard way, taking the lead on 21 mins through former Montreal Impact winger David Choiniere’s cool finish before being pegged back by a quality response from Kevin Oviedo seven minutes before the interval.
When right-back Jonathan Grant received his marching orders in the 64th minute for his second yellow-card, it looked like Forge FC’s best chance might be to hold on for penalties (extra-time was not on the agenda).
But the men from Hamilton re-focused and took greater control of the game in the latter stages. Novak had entered the game just after the hour mark, and pounced with seven minutes remaining, connecting with Dominic Samuel’s feed to volley brilliantly past a bemused William Torres in the Limones goal.
The result sets up another trip south for the Can PL champion club on November 5th when they will travel to face Tauro FC of Panama City in the round-of-16.
Tauro are more experienced than either of tonight’s pairing in continental football and will provide a stiffer test for Forge. But if the CanPL side can find a way past the Panamanians, it could provide a pathway to the CONCACAF Champions League in 2021.
An unprecedented six clubs will advance from the CONCACAF League next year; the four semi-finalists, in addition to the two beaten quarter-finalists with the best record from the round-of-16 onwards.
As well as having Choiniere on board, Forge FC fielded former Impact players in captain Kyle Bekker and Maxim Tissot, who entered the game with five minutes left on the clock, and former Newcastle United, Burnley and Sheffield United defender, David Edgar.