Forge FC seeking 4th playoff title in final against Cavalry FC

An appearance in the Canadian Premier League (CPL) final from three-time champion Forge FC is not necessarily something new, but a revamped championship trophy will be.

The 10-kilogram sterling silver North Star Cup embodies all the hard work the finalists have done to get this far, and will be presented for the first time on Saturday when Forge hosts Cavalry FC at Tim Hortons Field.

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Replacing the North Star Shield, awarded to the CPL’s playoff champion from 2019 to 2022, the Cup was revealed as part of the CPL’s in-person awards ceremony in Hamilton on Thursday.

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Forge is set to make its FC’s fifth appearance in the championship game.

Head coach Bobby Smyrniotis notes they’ve won the final three times, but never at home.

His Hamilton-based club beat Cavalry on Oct. 14 at ATCO Field in Calgary, earning its place in the final.

“It’s fresh — fresh in the minds of both teams. It gives both teams something different to look at this time,” Smyrniotis said.

“Every final is very unique…. Obviously, we’ve been in four of them before.”

Cavalry, the CPL’s top regular season squad, got their berth in the final via a 2-1 win over Pacific FC of Victoria last Saturday night in Calgary.

It’s the second time Cavalry has made the CPL final, losing out 2-0 to Forge in 2019.

The opening kick is set for 6 p.m. at Tim Hortons Field.

Cavalry defender Klomp 'Player of the Year'

During the awards gala Cavalry FC defender Daan Klomp was voted the 2023 Player of the Year  – given to the player voted best by media across Canada.

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The 25-year-old was the league’s only outfield player to appear in every minute of all 28 matches, helping Cavalry lift the 2023 CPL Shield as regular-season winners.

Klomp was also the CPL’s 2023 Defender of the Year.

Teammate Ali Musse was the Players’ Player of the Year as voted by 182 CPL active players.

Forge’s Triston Henry picked up the Golden Glove as Goalkeeper of the Year for 2023, the second time the 30-year-old from Scarborough has taken home that honour.

Valour FC’s Matteo de Brienne was named the league’s best Canadian under 21, while Cavalry FC manager Tommy Wheeldon Jr. is the league’s Coach of the Year.

Atlético Ottawa’s Ollie Bassett and Cavalry FC’s Myer Bevan were jointly recognized as this year’s Golden Boot award winners for having the most goals in the regular season.

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