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Forever first two: Hamilton’s Forge FC cements CPL legacy with another championship

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Forever first two: Hamilton’s Forge FC cements CPL legacy with another championship

Two Canadian Premier seasons are in the books and Hamilton’s Forge FC remains the only club to hoist the North Star Shield as the league’s top team.

The Hammers are back-to-back CPL champions after beating HFX Wanders FC 2-0 in the Island Games Final Saturday (Sept. 19).

Known more for his defensive prowess, Alexander Achinioti-Jonsson continued his surprising offensive campaign from the midfield.

It was the Swede’s 60th-minute header from the left post off the foot of Mo Babouli, followed by a botched save attempt by HFX keeper Christian Oxford off a long free-kick by Forge’s Maxim Tissot in the 90th, that ensured the North Star Shield would stay in Hamilton.

After going goalless in 25 apps in 2019, Achinioti-Jonsson finished the COVID-19-shortened 2020 campaign with 3 goals in 12 apps.

Meanwhile, linchpin midfielder Kyle Bekker, an Oakville-native, all but ensured his spot in the Forge FC Hall of Fame (when it exists). Most of his efforts in the finale will not show up on the stat sheet, but the club’s first and only captain was a key part of an 11-player effort to suffocate HFX Wanderers FC’s Akeem Garcia. The leagues leading scorer was kept in check all afternoon.

Bekker finished his strong 2020 campaign with 3 goals and 1 assist in 12 matches.

Tristan Henry, meanwhile, kept another clean sheet—a category Forge’s Canadian keeper led the league in for 2020.

Forge FC’s masterful tactical effort Saturday further exemplified the managerial impact of Bobby Smyrniotis on the sidelines. The talented club was built from scratch under the guidance of the Scarborough-native and Hamilton has Smyrniotis to thank for its two-year title reign. 

Not only did Forge continue its domestic dominance, but the Hamilton soccer club also clinched a spot as the lone CPL representative in the 2021 Concacaf League.

With the win over HFX, Forge FC also advanced to this year’s Canadian Championship final, where they will meet MLS side Toronto FC. The winner of the contest qualifies for the 2021 Concacaf Champions League.

Forge won the 2019 title with a 2-0 aggregate win over Cavalry FC in the two-leg final.

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