Final Result: Forge FC 1-1 Athletic Ottawa
Scorers: Jensen 47′; Basset 17′
2022 season game: 21
CPL Correspondence: 272
Combine in a minute or less
Forge FC and Atlético Ottawa shared the spoils Saturday afternoon at Tim Hortons Field, with enough goals from Ollie Bassett and Noah Jensen to produce a 1-1 draw between the two Ontario teams. Although Forge had a huge advantage in possession and heavily outplayed the visitors, a second goal eluded them and Ottawa’s petty defense held on to claim a well-deserved point on the road.
Forced forge on improvised fluid backline without healthy CBs
Bobby Smyrniotis didn’t have the easiest hand for this match, with none of his natural quarterbacks fit to play. Alex Achinioti-Jönsson, as he did on many occasions for Forge, came in from the back and left-back Ashtone Morgan joined him at centre-back.
Forge opted for a fluid defensive form, which functioned like a full-back with possession (with Aboubacar Sissoko playing to the right of Achinioti-Jönsson), but often morphed into a full-back when defending, while left-back Kwasi Poku retreated. when necessary – and occasionally a five, when David Choinière fell backwards on the right side.
The tactic worked particularly well with possession, with Achinioti-Jönsson’s ability to throw passes to both sides giving Forge a good anchor in defence. Poku and Choinière also managed to get very high on the sidelines and in the area, thanks to Sissoko and Morgan sitting right next to the three defenders while Forge had the ball.
Defensively, Forge may not have been as solid as it would have been with natural defenders on the line and gave some space to Ottawa’s forwards, particularly when Poku got caught high and couldn’t come back. time to cover the left side. Still, they defended the (admittedly limited) chances Ottawa created for the most part, keeping them to just two shots on goal – one of which was the goal.
“Have you ever seen a team play without quarterbacks?” Smyrniotis joked after the match. “We did that today and we did a good job of it. We have guys who are versatile. It makes your head spin a bit as a coach, but there’s always a solution on how you’re going to get the best out of different players.
“Today it was Jönsson, who has been excellent playing as that kind of center there, and Ashtone and Abou, they are excellent at allowing us to move the ball a little faster down the field playing against a low block, something we’ve done for the last two. games since Wednesday.”
He added: “The guys were really good with the ball. As they were defensively, I think it was fine, but they didn’t have much to do, so maybe another day will be a little different. But we will always find the solution, we will never complain when someone is missing.”
Versatility and adaptability have always been a hallmark of Forge FC at the CPL, and Saturday was just the latest chapter in the impressive tactical book this club continues to write.
Atletico Ottawa blocking isolates Borges and Forge’s midfield
With Ottawa defending in a tight 4-4-2, Forge knew from the start that he was going to have a tough afternoon trying to break the block and hit the ball in midfield.
The visitors did an excellent job of blocking the passing lines through the center and, in doing so, effectively neutralized the threat of Tristan Borges, who was playing as number 10 below Forge’s two forwards. Whenever Forge tried to build a back attack – as opposed to a quick transition play – Ottawa was very deliberate in protecting the central channels, and Borges in particular, to prevent Forge from making incisive passes into the area.
Talented player that he is, Borges still created three good chances for Forge, and he was credited with an assist on Jensen’s goal, but he only managed to come to life in moments of open and transition time where long balls or exchanges allowed Forge to get around the midfield and get through it before Ottawa had time to get into position.
Still, the duo of Ollie Bassett and Abdou Sissoko in the middle did an excellent job of keeping their form and cutting through the lanes in midfield. Ottawa assistant coach Kwesi Loney – patrolling the sidelines in place of the suspended Carlos González – explained that he is impressed with the partnership developed between Bassett and Sissoko.
“We found that these two are now starting to create a little more synergy together, starting to read each other’s movement a little better,” Loney said. “Obviously, playing with two in the middle, you need to cover a little more ground and there needs to be a better understanding of that space, and we found they did a really good job.”
Forge stopped regretting missed opportunities, wasted set pieces
The Hammers will likely leave this game feeling like they left two points on the table, considering the volume and quality of chances they failed to finish. With 67.7% possession for the afternoon, they generated 16 shots to six of Ottawa but managed to put just three of them on target.
Forge’s 37 hits in the area and 58 innings in the final third, as well as their 43 crosses, paint a picture of the type of bombing they delivered in the Ottawa penalty area, but they continued to lack the clinical advantage needed to convert more of those. target opportunities.
In more positive news though, Forge was able to work on a new attacking structure, with natural strikers Terran Campbell and Woobens Pacius playing quite close together in a two-man attacking pair rather than the three strikers they used in most games. . .
Bobby Smyrniotis was quite pleased with the first signs of this pair playing against each other, although the finishing left something to be desired – Campbell had some good looks in goal but hesitated perhaps a split second longer and had his shot blocked.
“We have different things that we’re going to look at,” Smyrniotis said. “It’s something we’ve worked on a lot preseason this year, working on different setups and basically how we occupy the zones where we want to be with different players against different opponents – and sometimes it’s also imposed on you by whoever you have available.”
The Forge boss added, “But then again, we thought this one was good, seeing Woobens and Terran play together. I thought they were very good in their movement, and we had a lot of chances around the goal, but it wasn’t for them.”
Pacius finished with four shots and seven touches in the area, a team record, while Campbell took two shots – although he doesn’t get credit for a third when he was flagged offside. If Forge is able to make this pairing click like a double attack pairing, he can start turning more of the possession he’s enjoyed all year into goals.
CanPL.ca Game Player
Ollie Bassett, Atletico Ottawa
In addition to his goal – which was an exceptional finish after a beautiful linking move – Bassett had a very strong performance in the center of the park as a box-to-box midfielder, covering a lot of ground defensively and helping in the spring some counterattacks.
What is the next?
Both sides hit the road next weekend. Forge travels to Halifax for a Friday night showdown with HFX Wanderers on May 20 (6 pm ET / 7 pm AT), while Atletico Ottawa will be in Alberta to play FC Edmonton on Sunday, May 22 (4 pm ET / 14h MT).
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