PREVIEW: Cavalry FC vs. Forge FC — 2024 Match #33
Canadian Premier League

2024 CPL Regular Season — Match #33
Cavalry FC vs. Forge FC
June 8, 2024 at 3 p.m. MT/5 p.m. ET
ATCO Field in Calgary, Alberta
Watch Live: & TELUS Ch. 980 // Tickets available here

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As the 2024 Canadian Premier League season turns past the quarter mark, two of the league’s traditional top dogs meet for the 28th time in their history, as Forge FC pay a visit to Alberta to renew acquaintances with their old friends Cavalry FC.

It’ll be the second time these familiar foes have met in 2024, after they kicked off the season in April at Tim Hortons Field, where Forge scored twice in quick succession late in the afternoon to claw back a 2-1 win — much like they did in the 2023 CPL Final, where a pair of extra time goals handed the Hamilton side the North Star Cup.

Since that season opener, Cavalry have not lost a game. They’ve also only won once in that stretch, though; through eight regular season matches the Cavs are 1-6-1 with nine points, which means they enter matchweek nine in sixth place, one point outside of the playoff picture.

Frustration began to show last weekend, when they drew 1-1 with Pacific FC in a match they felt they could’ve gotten more from; defender Daan Klomp expressed as much after the game. Now as they return home to Spruce Meadows, Cavalry are hopeful that a rivalry matchup against Forge could provide the spark they need to return to winning ways.

Meanwhile, Forge arrive in Calgary in good spirits, after trouncing their neighbours York United 3-0 last Saturday. They sit third in the league table — level with second-place Vancouver on 13 points — and they have a game in hand on every other side except the Halifax Wanderers.

The Hammers are looking to turn last weekend’s win into a run of momentum; it was their first victory in CPL play since they went 3-0-0 to start the campaign.

History is on Forge’s side in this matchup, as they’ve won 13 of the 27 games they’ve played against Cavalry, including the last three (twice in the 2023 playoffs and once this year). In fact, Cavalry have won just one of the last 10 meetings between these sides, although that was a convincing 3-0 triumph at ATCO Field last August.

Both sides will be down a few key players this weekend. Cavalry remain without Ali Musse as he deals with an ankle injury, plus striker Malcolm Shaw is on international duty with Trinidad and Tobago. However, Tommy Wheeldon Jr. revealed that William Akio is back in full training and available for selection. Forge, meanwhile, will be missing Garven Metusala as he’s away representing Haiti, while Terran Campbell is still out with injury.

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  • High-intensity match coming at the right time for Cavalry? With results not being quite what they’ve wanted in the past few weeks, Cavalry seem eager for a statement performance that gets them back on track. Matches between Forge and Cavalry often bring out the best in both sides, and with the Cavs feeling like they perhaps haven’t been at their usual standard in attack recently, a high-level test might be exactly what they need. “I don’t think you need any motivation as a player or as a coach to get up for this,” Cavalry coach Tommy Wheeldon Jr. said this week. “What these games are is the highest level of tactical execution, technical ability, athleticism; for me, these games are the pinnacle of all that. … It’s one of the best matchups we have in this league.”


  • Kwasi Poku’s run at striker to continue? The last three games, Forge have deployed usual left-back Kwasi Poku in a centre-forward role, with Terran Campbell and Jordan Hamilton both dealing with injuries. However, although Hamilton might be close to a return, there’s little reason for Bobby Smyrniotis to take Poku out of that spot. The 21-year-old scored a crucial goal against CF Montréal and, in the 905 Derby on Saturday, he had two assists in a man-of-the-match-worthy performance against York United, leading the line well with his incisive runs and hold-up play. Cavalry are very familiar with many of the ways Forge like to attack, but Poku is a new element which might prove useful in this match.


  • Depth off the bench an asset for both: These two sides both have a knack for changing games in the second half, just because of how many weapons they have available to bring off the bench. Last weekend, Cavalry found their equalizer from Tobias Warschewski just a few minutes after he entered the game, and in the prior match, they improved dramatically against Valour after making two midfield substitutions at halftime. Forge, meanwhile, have been consistently able to call on a talented player like Noah Jensen, or energetic youngsters like Amadou Koné or Khadim Kane. No matter what the situation is in this match on Saturday, don’t rule out a major shift in the final 20 minutes or so.


Cavalry FC: Carducci; Aird, Klomp, Montgomery, Kamdem; Gutiérrez, Trafford; Akio, Camargo, Brooks; Warschewski

Forge FC: Kalongo; Duncan, Achinioti-Jönsson, Owolabi-Belewu, Parra; Hojabrpour, Bekker; Choinière, Borges, Badibanga; Poku


Cavalry wins: 7 || Forge wins: 13 || Draws: 7

Last meeting:

April 13, 2024 — Forge FC 2-1 Cavalry FC


“There’s a resilience. As we’re still trying to get to our pinnacle performance, there’s certainly a refuse to lose mentality, and we don’t lose many. That’s the nature, whether it’s this year or the previous five years, is we don’t lose many games; now we’ve just got to start translating draws into wins.”  — Cavalry FC head coach Tommy Wheeldon Jr.

“We know we’ve got another challenging game here in Calgary. This is a team that needs a result, and it doesn’t matter what’s been going on in their games, we usually know they’re going to play their best football when Forge shows up. We have to be prepared for that.” — Forge FC head coach Bobby Smyrniotis