Choiniere and Forge embracing challenge versus Chivas
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Choiniere and Forge embracing challenge versus Chivas

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MIAMI, Florida – Canadian Premier League side Forge FC are in the Concacaf Champions Cup for a second time after debuting in the 2022 edition.

Two years ago, Forge were eliminated in the Round of 16 by Mexico’s Cruz Azul, but now a new opportunity awaits in the 2024 edition against another historic Mexican club in the form of Chivas.

Currently, the Hamilton-based side are training in Queretaro, Mexico, in preparation for their two-legged series against Chivas, which begins on February 7 in Canada. After having spent 10 days at home in Ontario to start preseason, Forge will stay two weeks in Mexico and have three friendly matches against Mexican second division clubs and a friendly with a Liga MX side.

For players like FW David Choiniere, the time spent already in Canada and the spell in Mexico will help Forge be ready for their Champions Cup opener next month.

“It's been intense. We’ve been doing lot of runs, a lot of high volume, trying to get our fitness back as much as possible. We’re in Mexico for two weeks and that's going to be really interesting,” said Choiniere in an exclusive interview with

“We have a lot of games there. It’s a lot of training, so it should be intense, but hopefully it's going to be fun too. We did not do this two years ago before Cruz Azul, so this one should help a lot more,” added Choiniere.

In that Cruz Azul series two years ago, Forge suffered a 1-0 defeat at home in the first leg in which they were unable to convert several excellent scoring chances. Choiniere feels like the lessons learned from the Cruz Azul series will be applied in the two legs versus Chivas.

“We need to take advantage of the home game. It's going to be freezing cold. We need to take advantage of the weather in Canada. I don't think Mexican teams are used to that. And then we know going into the second leg in Guadalajara we have to be well prepared because we know how tough it is. They have a big stadium, a big fan base, a good team. It's important to be really focused on the first leg, try to get a win here,” said Choiniere.

The 1-0 loss at home made for a difficult second leg in Mexico, with Cruz Azul winning 3-1 in Mexico City to earn a 4-1 aggregate victory. Choiniere knows that any lapse or miscue in the away leg in Mexico could prove fatal.

“You need to be prepared for everything, defensively, offensively, set pieces, it's a different game. We have the experience, but also we have a lot of new guys that didn't experience it, so I think the preparation in Mexico is going be really important,” said Choiniere.

One of the positives that came from the defeat to Cruz Azul in 2022 was Choiniere scoring the first Forge goal in Champions Cup history. It came in the first half with his side trailing 2-0 in the second leg and Choiniere firing in a rocket from outside the area.

“I remember it was just instinct. There was not much thinking behind it. I got the ball, cut inside and went for the far post trying to hit the ball clean. That's how I remember it; it was just pure instinct.

Despite the defeat, it was a moment to cherish for Choiniere to score in such a historic stadium like the Estadio Azteca.

“One-thousand percent it makes it more special. It’s a historical stadium, a historical place. I remember walking down the aisle there and you see all the big games that happened, the big World Cup games, all the other big clubs that played there. There's so much history behind the stadium. Scoring there is super special, that's absolutely the truth,” said Choiniere.

The 27-year-old striker has been with Forge since the team’s first game in March 2019 and has been a main contributor to their domestic success with four CPL titles (2019, 2020, 2022, 2023) and on the international stage with five goals in 17 Concacaf games, two in Champions Cup and 15 across three editions of the Concacaf League (2019, 2020, 2021).

All of that experience playing around the Concacaf region has helped instill a resilient mindset that will benefit Forge next month against Chivas.

“This team thrives under adversity. We've been able to win in different countries in Central America and reach a semifinal in the Concacaf League. Whenever I go down those places, there's a different feeling, there's a different energy, and I think we as a group like that. Once again, we go up against a Mexican opponent. We expect a tough matchup. We have nothing to lose, but also we've been there before, so we know how to face it,” said Choiniere.