Forge FC were victorious over Pacific FC 2-0 in a hard-fought match between the Canadian Premier League’s top two clubs on the table. There was a long stoppage in the second half due to a head injury during an aerial duel to Djenairo Daniels (thankfully he is okay – stable and improving condition). After play resumed, Forge was able to maintain their lead despite immense pressure being put on them in their own half. Bobby Smyrniotis ran a 4-2-3-1 in possession and a flexible 4-4-2/6-3-1 out of it. Veteran winger David Choinière was involved in both scores with a goal and an assist.
- A1 – Very good, could play higher
- A2 – Strong potential to play higher
- B1 – Good, strong player at level
- B2 – Potential to be a strong player at level
- C – Average for the level, rewatch
- D – Below average in this match
- Nationality: Canada
- Age: 20
- Date of birth: 06/02/2003
- Club: Forge FC
- Career: Toronto FC (Y)
- Position: Left Midfielder
- Preferred foot: Left
Kwasi Poku played the full 90 minutes as a left-sided wide midfielder in this match. He has a towering and lean 191 cm frame, a standout physique for the position. He has surprising pace and agility for his size and moves fluidly on his runs and on the dribble. Poku has some decent strength to him, as well. He is ahead of the curve physically for his age. Additionally, Poku displayed great stamina and a high work rate gliding down the wing on both ends.
When finishing, he only had one clear opportunity to shoot and scored with an excellent diving header at the back post. Overall, his aerial ability was spectacular, whether clearing from the box or winning a duel in midfield. Poku is very left-footed (though he mixed in his right on short passes on occasion) and was not able to get into a shooting position to use it this match. He is quite shifty on the dribble and used that plenty of times to create space for his lefty crosses into the box from the final third after long progressive carries. Using his speed on the wing, these important carries for his club’s transition play came from intelligently timed wide overlapping runs in support, usually hugging the touchline. He also liked passing chipped or ground through balls with his left to hit an inside runner into the final third often. Poku’s accuracy and vision when creating from the wide wing was a key to Forge’s attacking success. His decision-making under pressure was quick and without second thoughts, although he did mishit a couple passes especially early on as he was feeling out Pacific’s defense.
Defensively, Poku got to work high in the press and tracked back into a wingback position in his own third. His hard work on the wing when attacking did not stop on defense, as he timed some stand tackles well, but was not always quick enough to react and regain possession. His aerial ability, as previously noted, helped a lot in the box, as he got above everyone for clearances. When intercepting or receiving loose balls, he was quick to clear danger long. On his closeouts, Poku was not always the quickest to get there and that allowed some crosses, but he also managed a couple blocks. His 1v1 ability could use some work but there is potential given his patience, body positioning, and timely actions.
Rating – A1
Poku is a throwback wide midfielder with a stellar left foot and a hard-working mentality with an impressive physique. His creative ability and dribbling were a step above in this match and made him the best player on the pitch for Forge. With development, I have no doubt Poku will have a decent role for an MLS club soon. USL clubs should be lining up for his services based off of this performance and his profile/age.
- Nationality: Haiti, Canada
- Age: 23
- Date of birth: 31/12/1999
- Club: Forge FC
- Career: Montreal Impact (Y), CS Fabrose (Y), AS Blainville (Y), Concordia University Stingers
- Position: Center-Back
- Secondary Position: Left-Back
- Preferred foot: Both
Garven Metusala is a natural two-footed center-back who played left-back for the full 90 minutes in this match. He is 186 cm tall with a stocky build and is a full Haitian senior international. Metusala is an average athlete and displayed below-desired pace versus Pacific. He was decent aerially and did well to leap for headers, mainly as clearances.
On defense, Metusala mainly played inside of Poku as possession reached his own third, offering cover to the wing and defending narrowly in a makeshift back six. When he did closeout to the wing, he often left too much space for a cross, which became a bit of a problem as dangerous passes into the box from his side came in more often, especially in the second half. Metusala did do well to play within his abilities and not over pursue in his defensive actions, realizing the wingers and full-backs he was up against were much quicker than him. He did his best work off ball in this match, especially in the box. He was rarely caught off his line on runs and marked attentively and on his toes in and around the box. This allowed Metusala to be ready to intercept long passes from the air often. He cleared his lines effectively, although his below average recovery pace got him into trouble especially in transition. In 1v1s, his stand tackling was timely and mostly clean, outside of his late challenge at the top of the box that set up a dangerous set piece. Additionally, Metusala picked up a yellow card for time wasting.
In the buildup, outside of a couple mistakes, he was an impressive and key part of progression. Metusala’s progressive carries and distribution with both feet was effective in breaking lines and opening up passing lanes. He was mostly accurate, although the press did get to him to force a bad decision here and there. Other than that, he was able to use both feet plus some press resistance to both distribute short and provide chipped and ground passes between lines into midfield and up the left flank. He even tried his hand multiple times on long passes usually with his right over the top in or toward the box with terrific accuracy and vision. Overall, his quick decisions, vision, and comfortability on ball made him a huge asset when building from the back for Forge on this away day.
Rating – B1
Metusala had his shortcomings defensively, but they may have been due to playing out of position, as he looked much more adept defending more centrally and in his own box. With more time watching him as a CB, he could turn into an A2 because of his impressive skill as a progressor for this level and position.
- Nationality: Canada, Senegal
- Age: 18
- Date of birth: 17/05/2005
- Club: Forge FC
- Career: CF Montreal (Y)
- Position: Attacking Midfielder
- Secondary Position: Central Midfielder
- Preferred foot: Right
Khadim Kane is a midfielder that subbed on in the 78th minute of this match and made an immediate impact with his fresh legs and work ethic. He is a recent signing from CF Montreal’s academy with a mature 191 cm build. Kane displayed terrific straight line speed despite not having the best acceleration or agility and showed some impressive physicality.
In his short appearance, he made his potential quite clear. Kane supported the attack with long pacy central runs from box-to-box, infusing energy in transition. He took advantage of his few touches and used his dominant right foot well under pressure, especially on the edge of the opposition box. He distributed a short through ball after receiving on his run and carrying to the top of the box to set up a dangerous chance that was not converted. This occurred only minutes after coming on the pitch. Kane did make one wrong move with a touch on the right outside edge of the box trying to beat his marker with skill but was quickly dispossessed. It was a promising move, though, as he was quick to make up his mind, just not the correct decision for the spot and situation. In another touch, he received short in midfield in transition and pinpointed a progressive pass to the top of the box to Woobens Pacius who held up play as Forge looked to run down the clock.
On defense, he did not have too much output but was willing to get in front of attackers and add some pressure in the middle third. Kane won a couple aerial duels and one cleared danger from his own box in a crucial moment.
Rating – A2
This grade could become an A1 with more minutes watched. Kane was very promising attacking from midfield and creating and worked hard from box-to-box. He displayed promising two-way skill and at only 18 there is much room for his growth due to his physical makeup and creativity/vision. More playing time is coming for him in the CPL, then MLS Next Pro should come calling.