Finding a goalkeeper for Forge FC

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Out of all the CPL clubs, Forge FC have enjoyed the quietest off-season. It feels as though that’s for good reason, having just won the CPL Playoffs for the third time in the league’s four season existence. It might be the sign of a settled squad and players having no inclinations toward seeking pastures new. But for the Canadian Premier League, this is uncharacteristic.

Forge are yet to make an off-season signing, and yet to confirm the status of their captain Kyle Bekker. Importantly, they have however re-signed a key leader in Triston Henry, the man who’s been in between the posts since the club’s first campaign in 2019. Henry might not be the all-time best shot stopper in the league, but he wonderfully fits Forge’s possession-based style, and is an essential piece to their puzzle. But with the season just under two months away from kicking off, Forge are without a back-up keeper, or anyone to challenge the Canadian for a place.

With that, we examine all the best Canadian-born options for Forge, as they prepare for the 2023 campaign.


When speaking to the uncharacteristic nature of Forge’s quiet off season, it has less to do with Forge and more to do with the nature of the Canadian Premier League. Players are under short contracts that often last only a season or two before being renewed or declined, and clubs must make a tiny bit of room each season for potential prospects from the U-SPORTS draft.

So in any given season, you are bound to have goalkeepers floating around the league, trialling and conversing with different clubs. That includes even keepers from the lower leagues like League1 Ontario, where Alliance United’s Praveen Ahilan and Guelph’s Svyatik Artemenko impressed in 2022. But as far as CPL keepers go, there were three notable departures.

Jonathan Sirois returned to CF Montreal after a successful couple of seasons with Valour, presumably to play back-up to James Pantemis. Sebastian Breza went back to Italy to play for Carrarese, making it all the easier for Montreal to exercise the option on the undeniably talented keeper. Sirois impressed with his sweeping in behind Valour’s back-line, even if his shot-stopping and passing sometimes left more to be desired. He has the potential to make it as a Montreal regular, and even came off the bench in their first match of the season last night, a 2-0 defeat to Inter Miami. So with his potential to succeed in Quebec, Forge might consider this a potential dead-end.

Over in Halifax meanwhile, new Vaughan coach and the rest of the Halifax crew felt comfortable letting both Christian Oxner and Kieran Baskett go. Oxner struggled to truly establish himself as a CPL-ready keeper last season, but Baskett’s rejection came as more of a surprise. The 21-year-old kept five clean sheets in his nine appearances last season, with a decent save percentage close to 70%. Evidently still raw and needing additional guidance with the ball at his feet, there’s nothing to suggest that Baskett won’t make it as a top-tier keeper in this league.

Sometimes he strikes me as a slightly erratic player, but that can manifest in brilliant moments of sweeping and warrior re-enactments adjacent to Ancient Greece. And while not the best passer, he has quite a nice long boot. The Nova Scotian keeper completed nearly 71% of his long passes last season, significantly more than Triston Henry and all of his short passing expertise. Under Halifax’s style of play, 5.58 progressive passes per 90 does not come as a surprise, but would still be a cool addition to Forge when recycling the ball and seeing their options ahead. So out of the three notable keepers to depart the CPL this off-season, Baskett has to be the obvious selection.

But Forge should also consider their options elsewhere, and find the right player for their style of play. A back-up who can provide something different to Henry would be useful, but they should find someone who would be capable of playing in the exact same manner in case anything were to go wrong.


Whitecaps 2 keeper Isaac Boehmer fits the billing when it comes to Forge’s style, having completed nearly 79% of his passes into the final third last season. Among our scouting cohort, Boehmer’s total passing percentage only ranks behind Triston Henry – a facet of the Forge keeper’s game that has always been a strong-suit. He also exited his penalty area more than any other keeper in our cohort (a useful trait for a Forge keeper to have if those moments are exerted at the right time). But importantly, he also coolly commands his penalty area and gets down quickly to save the shots when it matters most (71% save percentage), making him an ideal candidate for the Hammers.

Boehmer is 21 years old, and may fancy his shot to become a Whitecaps regular this season. But Thomas Hasal’s nailed down the place in the past few seasons, and they’ve even just made a move for Japanese keeper Yohei Takaoka. Rather than sitting on the bench or playing for the reserves, Boehmer should consider his chances of challenging for a place at the CPL’s best club in 2023.


For a potentially cheaper option, Axel Desjardins is still kicking around at Novara in Serie C. He’s 23 now having spent the last decade in Italy, and might welcome a homecoming to Canada inside the CPL. Desjardins is fully competent with the ball at his feet, and ranks only second to Henry (87.5%) for forward passing percentage (82.4%) of the keepers in our study. When it comes to the all important end of the spectrum, he conceded fewer goals (0.86) and xG per 90 (0.92) than every keeper apart from Henry once more. He did however prevent more goals per 90 than the Forge man, en route to helping his club win Serie D. Of keepers that are most likely to fit Forge’s style and play a similar role to Henry, Desjardins is the natural choice.

Many North American players like playing in Europe from a development and challenge perspective, and fancy that as a better avenue toward international call-ups. But playing in the third tier of Italy might be a better level than the CPL at this point, and this would be an excellent challenge for Desjardins in his quest to leapfrog in his career toward international appearances.


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When it comes to finding a player that fits Forge’s style, Axel Desjardins remains the obvious choice, particularly given the similarities between himself and Henry. When it comes to the statistical analysis of possession-based football and hitting many of the right highs, Isaac Boehmer would be a wonderful second choice, and someone they could realistically sway to join if it meant he’d challenge for a starting birth. Then there’s Kieran Baskett, who likely wouldn’t mind playing second fiddle to Triston Henry for now, as he develops his game and grows into one of the top-tier keepers in the league. Our official ranking:

  1. Axel Desjardins (Novara)
  2. Isaac Boehmer (Whitecaps 2)
  3. Kieran Baskett (HFX)
  4. Jonathan Sirois (CF Montreal)

For now, Triston Henry should remain the starter, as Forge build toward the future and ease a new keeper into the frame.

So there it is! Finding a keeper for Forge FC as the 2023 CPL season nears closer. Be sure to check out more of our CANPL articles, and follow on social media @mastermindsite and @desmondrhys. Thanks for reading and see you soon!

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