MIAMI, Florida – In the 2020 Scotiabank Concacaf League, Canadian Premier League side Forge FC have done what few North American teams have ever done, which is win two consecutive Concacaf matches on Central American soil.
Forge registered back-to-back 2-1 victories in the Preliminary Round and Round of 16 over Municipal Limeno of El Salvador and Tauro FC of Panama, respectively. It is an achievement not lost on any of the Forge players, especially veteran DF David Edgar.
“It is always nice to win in that part of the world. As a long-standing member of the Canadian National Team, it’s always nice to get a result down there because it is so hard to come by. To get a win and advance to the next round is pretty special for a club such as Forge,” said Edgar in an exclusive interview with Concacaf.com.
“It’s a fantastic achievement, but we’re not content with just that and I think that mentality exists throughout the entire club. We truly believe we can go on to do more things and continue to create history not only for the CPL and Forge, but all of North American football,” added Edgar.
Of particular note was the triumph over Municipal Limeno in the Preliminary Round in which Forge played the final 30 minutes with 10 men. Edgar points to the resolve displayed by his side to find a winning goal in the final minutes despite the man disadvantage.
“If anything, I think we played better with 10 men. We played better in that second half. At halftime, we knew we were the better team and that we were not playing up to our standards. I think that had to do with the fact that we hadn’t played since the CPL finals, we hadn’t had a lot of training time together because of [Covid safety] procedures in our country. But we’ve won championships together, and we knew that when we went down, we could maybe find more space. The boys took it on positively and it galvanized us. Sometimes in football you play better a man down. We had the confidence to keep going and take chances,” said Edgar.
The results of the first two rounds have Forge in a position to claim a 2021 Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League spot if they can defeat Haitian club Arcahaie in the quarterfinals. It is not lost on Edgar what a SCCL berth would mean for the second-year club.
“It is hard to get away from the excitement of what this game does hold for us. We’ve shown as a team that we come together in big games and overcome adversity, so hopefully we can do it one more time. It changes the landscape of Canadian soccer I think if we win this game and reach the Champions League. That’s the goal of the CPL and that’s the goal of myself and many other players: to change that rhetoric of what Canadian football is all about,” said Edgar.
With the 2020 CPL title already won, there is the possibility of a Treble for Forge if they can win the SCL and also defeat Toronto FC in the Canadian Championship. Forge may be just a few years old, but a desire for success permeates throughout the club.
“It highlights that we are building a winning culture. We’ve won back-to-back [CPL] titles, we could reach the Champions League in a game with an MLS team on the horizon in a local derby. It puts us on the map and we truly believe we can win all of these games. That mentality can be passed down to players who join Forge. We are building something within a club that when you step through that door, you know what it’s about,” said Edgar.
The 33-year-old mainstay is also quick to credit the tactical acumen of head Coach Bobby Smyrniotis, who has been with Forge since their beginning in 2019.
“I’ve played for many managers in my career and I have the utmost respect for Bobby and his staff and what they are doing. He treats everyone equally. He gets his point across very well. Tactically, I don’t think there are many better than him and that helps going into these Concacaf games,” said Edgar.
Edgar’s professional career began in December 2006 when he made his first team debut with English Premier League side Newcastle United. The majority of his career took place in English football before returning to North America in 2016 with the Vancouver Whitecaps. However, an accident resulted in a long-term knee injury that left Edgar wondering if he would ever return to the pitch. Several years later after a few stops on both sides of the pond, he landed at Forge where he has enjoyed every moment of his experience.
“It’s been like full circle for me. Leaving home at such a young age and living the dream of playing with Newcastle United in the Premier League. I’ve had a fantastic career, but I think I am starting to be successful after I thought I wouldn’t play again after my serious injury when I was with the Whitecaps. To come back and win back-to-back titles and have a chance to play in the Champions League is amazing. I am embracing it and cherishing these moments,” concluded Edgar.