Chivas started their CONCACAF Champions Cup journey with a solid 3-1 victory away against Forge FC in the first leg of their first round series. They were the better side and dominated the Canadian Premier League team on a cold night in Hamilton, Ontario.
The match started with Chivas seeing a number of changes from their regular starting linuep, including goalkeeper Oscar Whalley. After being injured 10 minutes into the match, Kwasi Poku had to be subbed out. Tristan Borges would take his place. After a great pass from Fernando Beltrán, Cade Cowell got a chance and put it past Christopher Kalongo to give Chivas the 1-0 lead. They were controlling the match, but a mistake would end up costing them.
Borges got the ball and sent a great cross into the area that found a wide open Terran Campbell, whose left-footed volley got past Whalley to tie the match at 1-1. Chivas then continued their assault on the Canadian club, culminating in a Leonardo Sepúlveda header off a corner kick cross that hit the post. In injury time, Cowell was given time and space to get a cross into the area where Ricardo Marin headed from close range past Kalongo to score and give Chivas the 2-1 lead. The halftime whistle blew and Chivas took a deserved lead into the dressing room.
The second half started with the same 22 players. Just over 15 minutes in, a great through pass found Cade Cowell, who got into the area and fired another left-footed shot past Kalongo to score and give Chivas a 3-1 lead. That would be the end for Cowell, as he was subbed out for Isaac Brizuela soon after.
Forge tried to gain possession to start a comeback, but couldn’t take the ball back from Chivas, who simply passed the ball around and consumed the remaining time on the clock, not allowing Forge to get into any kind of rhythm. The final whistle blew and Chivas got a solid advantage for the return leg.
As expected, Chivas completely dominated the match. While the cold weather was expected to hamper the Mexican side, their overly superior squad had them favored and they got the victory even missing key players. Players like Roberto Alvarado, Érick Gutiérrez, and Víctor Guzmán stayed in Guadalajara and some regular season starters like Alan Mozo and Pável Pérez remained on the bench, and yet Chivas were the better team from start to finish. The game should be a boost for Cade Cowell, who was the man of the match having scored twice. Chivas will now return to Guadalajara to face FC Juárez on Saturday before closing out their series against Forge on Tuesday.