Match Day Report: vs. Forge FC

They went toe-to-toe with the four-time Canadian Premier League champions, often pushing Forge FC up against the ropes and punishing them with punch after punch.

But, alas – and as has been the story of their young 2024 CPL season — Valour FC still has nothing tangible to show for its considerable progress, falling 2-1 in a Saturday matinee at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton in which the winning goal was surrendered in the 90th minute.

A valiant effort, albeit with a devastating ending.

“What I tell them is we have to keep pushing,” said Valour GM and head coach Phillip Dos Santos after the match. “We absolutely have to keep pushing and growing as a team. Sometimes these mistakes are important for the team to grow.”

The loss is Valour’s third in three matches to start the season as part of a stretch of seven straight in league play away from home as new turf is installed at Princess Auto Stadium. It’s actually eight straight outside of Winnipeg including Valour’s next match – Wednesday’s Canadian Championship tilt in the nation’s capital against Atlético Ottawa.

Credit: Jojo Yanjiao Qian/Forge FC

Valour rallied from a 1-nil Forge advantage in the 61st minute on a goal by Tristan Borges to tie it four minutes later on a bit of brilliance by Jordan Faria, as took a deft pass by Themi Antonoglou – easily the squad’s best player through three matches – before bending a perfect shot into the far corner.

The visitors not only then survived a Beni Badibanga penalty that rattled off the post in the 76th minute but generated a handful of quality chances before a mistake by Dante Campbell in the midfield led to a turnover and the match-winning goal by Noah Jensen that cost them at least a draw.

Said Dos Santos of what he would say to Campbell: “I give him a tap on the back, I hug him, and I tell him that he can’t do that again.”

Forge FC keeper Christopher Kalongo was absolutely brilliant in stopping seven shots, including glorious chances by Abdul Binate, Jordi Swibel and Abdou Samake, as Valour’s attack looked as dangerous as it has in eons. Valour had 12 shots, including seven on target and 11 from inside the box in what was its most-impressive attacking performance in months dating back to last season.

“We were more dangerous,” said Dos Santos. “We were good breaking pressure. We bypassed when we had to bypass. We used our strength and our qualities in the right moments. Defensively we took away a lot of the dangerous spaces that Forge likes to exploit. And for many moments of the game, I felt we were a mature team. Now we need to mature for 90 minutes.

“It’s something we want to see the team continue to do and grow in it. It was an image of what this team could be like in the future. But at the end of the day that’s all we can take from that – build on the positives and grow from it and learn from mistakes because the truth is we get out of here with zero points after all that work. That’s the reality of sports.”

Credit: Jojo Yanjiao Qian/Forge FC

-Dos Santos made two changes from last week’s match against Pacific with Abdul Binate starting at forward for Shaan Hundal, and Zach Sukunda playing in the midfield for Roberto Alarcon, who missed the game due to injury.
-Also not yet available are MF and captain Raphael Ohin, centre back Tass Mourkoudoutas, and FW Kian Williams, who has yet to practice after undergoing offseason surgery.
-Defender Frankie Facchineri was forced to exit the game in the second half, with Campbell moving from the midfield to the back line.

Forge FC 2 Valour FC 1


Valour FC

64:56’: Jordan Faria (1); assist: Themi Antonoglou

Forge FC

60:46’: Tristan Borges (2); assist: Daniel Parra
89:40’: Noah Jensen (1); assist: Amadou Koné

Card summary

Valour FC
44:24’: Frankie Facchineri (yellow, reckless offence)
Forge FC
32:18’: David Choiniere (yellow, tactical foul)
41:45’: Daniel Parra (yellow, reckless offence)
69:39’: Garven Metusala (yellow, tactical foul)
76:00’: Tristan Borges (yellow, dissent)
90:15’: Noah Jensen (yellow, excessive celebration)


GK – Jonathan Viscosi
D – Abdou Samake
D – Haris Chantzopoulos
D – Frankie Facchineri
MF – Dante Campbell (C)
MF – Noah Verhoeven
MF – Zach Sukunda
MF – Themi Antonoglou
FW – Jordie Swibel
FW – Jordan Faria
F – Abdul Binate

Valour substitutions
59:32’: On Juan-Pablo Sanchez; off Frankie Facchineri
66:03’ On Shaan Hundal; off Abdul Binate
66:24’: On Diogo Ressurreicao; off Jordan Faria
81:48’: On Joe Hanson; off Jordi Swibel