By Daniel Clubbe.
2020 Canadian Premier League winners Forge FC are back in action on Tuesday at 8:00 PM ET (Wednesday at 1:00 AM, UK time) in the CONCACAF League round-of-16 against Panamanian side, Tauro FC.
Forge, who claimed the restructured Island Games on Prince Edward Island back in September, reached this stage with a 2-1 away victory at El Salvadorian Club, Deportivo Municipal Limeño, in the last round.
— Concacaf (@Concacaf) October 23, 2020
Former Montreal Impact midfielder David Choinière opened the scoring before the hosts pegged Forge back before half-time. However, Anthony Novak grabbed the winner late on despite the CanPL representatives being down to 10 men following the dismissal of Jonathan Grant.
Who Are Tauro FC?
Deportiva Tauro Fútbol Club, who are relative old-timers in comparison to their Canadian opponents having been formed back in 1984, boast some famous colours with a famous story. Founder Giancarlo Gronchi was a Juventus fan and for that reason, the club sports a black and white kit.
Los Toros de Pedregal have won 15 domestic league titles to date — no Panamanian side has won more — including their most recent triumph in the 2018 Apertura.
— Tauro F.C. (@TauroFC) October 27, 2020
The squad is mainly made up of natives, including a number of Panama internationals. The only other nations represented are Spain (Santiago Feuillassier) and Argentina (Rodrigo Nuñez).
Forge have been made to continue their training efforts from the end of the 2020 campaign to accommodate the CONCACAF League, meanwhile, their opponents in the Estadio Olímpico Rommel Fernández Gutiérrez have just restarted their domestic campaign, with two matches under their belt.
In truth, the Panamanian outfit don’t come into the clash in the best of form having made a poor start to their Liga Panameña de Fútbol campaign, drawing both their opening matches.
Who Are Forge FC’s Match-winners?
Nicknamed the Hammers (where have we heard that before?), the Ontario based club are managed by Bobby Smyrniotis and will be looking to the likes of Alexander Achinioti-Jönsson and Kyle Bekker to fire them deep into the tournament and, thus, into the 2021 CONCACAF Champions League.
🎥: “We’re not phased by coming into these environments.”
Coach Bobby Smyrniotis checks in from Panama City and recaps last week’s win over @LimenOficial, and looks ahead to Tuesday’s match against @TauroFC.
— Forge FC (@ForgeFCHamilton) October 29, 2020
Belgian import Paolo Sabak, who has represented his country’s U-19 side, also caught the eye during the 2020 Island Games and the 21-year-old, who played for NEC and Genk in Europe, could be another to influence the CONCACAF League clash.
Although no CONCACAF fixture should be underestimated, Tauro present a real test to a Forge side who have been lacking competitive action over recent weeks. Despite their continued training and preparation, best-laid plans often go awry.
Regardless, Forge will fancy themselves to have too much for their Panamanian opponents, despite the away fixture. With bags of quality, both homegrown and overseas, the now back-to-back Canadian Premier League winners will go into this clash as big favourites.