York Region, Ontario, Canada (June 21, 2019) — FC Edmonton draws with York9 on the road. They played to a 0-0 draw at York Lions Stadium on Wednesday evening. This was the third fixture between the two clubs in the Eddies last four matches. It is also the third Wednesday game against this team this month.
FC Edmonton played York 9 in the second round of the Canadian Championships. They lost a close round 3-2 on aggregate, despite winning the second match 1-0.
The Eddies came into a York after a 3-0 home loss against Cavalry on Saturday.
Son Yongchan started Wednesday night. He replaced Kareem Moses, who was called up for Trinidad & Tobago for the Gold Cup.
Up front was Tomi Ameobi and Oumar Diouck. Ameobi noted after the game that the two of them have “something there that is budding” as they work together on the front-line. They have been paired together for three consecutive games. Head coach Jeff Paulus has switched to two strikers upfront instead of one, as he started out the season with. Ameobi has been encouraged by how the two have worked together in practice, stating how Diouck “always brings his best” and that the two “work off of each other.”
On the bench as substitute goalkeeper was 19-year old Chris Ezoua. He has been called up from FC Edmonton Academy, as Dylan Powley has been out since the last match against York9 FC.
Amer Didic Back from Injury
Amer Didic is back from injury. Wednesday was his second full game since returning to the starting eleven. Prior to getting side-lined, his last game was the FC Edmonton home-opener against Pacific FC.
Reflecting on his time out of the lineup, Didic said after the game, “It’s tough to watch the boys go out and compete. As a player, there’s nothing you want to do but get back on the field quick.”
Didic credited the team’s physiotherapy staff, Scott Gilroy in particular, for pushing him every day and getting him back on the field to play.
The first half of the opening 45 minutes was York9 dominated. Rodrigo Gattos for York9 tested goalkeeper Connor James early in the second minute. James managed to keep the score even.
James continued to play his bold style of net-minding. He aggressively came out to challenge attackers. One such occurrence in the 11th minute saw James come sliding out to challenge Ryan Telfer. The ball bounced past James leaving the goal wide-open, but Telfer could not stay on it to direct it in.
Diouck was strong on the front end, creating chances and putting the ball to the net. He had an opportunity to put FC Edmonton up early in the first half but York9 goalkeeper Nathan Ingham easily saved the shot. He followed up several minutes later off a throw-in from Son to set up an opportunity for Ameobi, but Ingham again came up strong.
The return of Didic for the Eddies has helped beef up the back line. He made several key plays throughout the game — blocking shots or clearing dangerous balls. Right after Diouck’s chance in the York end, Didic cleared a dangerous ball that Telfer tried putting across into the box.
York9 had a total of nine shots in the first half, with five landing on target. Rodrigo Gattas had several of those attempts throughout the half. Gattas narrowly missed on a few shots. He narrowly missed putting the ball past James after a throw-in in the Eddies end.
The Eddies had three corner kicks in the first half. York defended all three quite well. Ramon Soria was the primary kicker for those set pieces.
Bruno Zebie had a strong half, as well. He defended well against York attackers, creating free-kicks for goalkeeper James, and blocking a key shot from Ryan Porter. At the other end, he put the ball just wide of the goal in the 38th minute after a nice setup from captain Ameobi. Again in the 43rd minute, after Soria put the ball up to him, his shot went just wide again.
Set Pieces and No Bookings
There were no bookings in the first half. This was despite Son and Morey Doner tangling a few times, and Diouck and Porter going face-to-face for a frank discussion after Porter went down from a light bump from Diouck.
The Eddies had three corner kicks in the first half. York defended all three well. Ramon Soria was the primary kicker for those set pieces.
York9 again opened up the second half with pressure in the Eddies’ end. Centreback Mele Temguia cleared a dangerous ball in the box in the 52nd minute.
Didic continued his strong defending, denying Manual Aparicio with a blocked shot early in the half. Later on, Didic had a sliding tackle in the box to prevent Joe Di Charia from an opportunity.
One of the biggest chances of the game came in the 64th minute with Oumar Diouck getting the ball past Ingham, but wide left of the net. It looked like there was a second big opportunity in the 81st minute. Ameobi headed the ball into the back of the net. Officials called him offside for being well past the last defenders.
The game’s only booking came late in the second half. Di Charia received a yellow card after his cleats came into contact with Diouck’s foot.
Randy Edwini-Bonsu, Easton Ongaro and Philippe Lincourt-Joseph, all had time on the pitch in the second half as they all subbed in for Son, Allan Zebie and Diouck.
Post-game comments with Jeff Paulus
After the game, Paulus reflected on the match. Had the team been higher in the table, he would have been happy with the outcome for an away performance.
“Based on where we are at in the table it’s a disappointing result, as it keeps us where we are,” Paulus said.
Looking ahead to the fall season Paulus spoke about what his team is working on. He emphasized that the team needs to play for a full game. For some games, they come out strong but not for the whole game, and for other games, they have a slower start and fight back at the end.
“For us, it is just finding that 90 minutes at the moment,” Paulus continued. “I thought we were closer to that today. I think the lads put in a good shift for the full 90. I’m happy with that performance.”
The second item Paulus emphasized was working on shot selection to give the team better scoring opportunities from where they are striking the ball. He reflected about a missed opportunity on Saturday against Cavalry FC. They tried to put the ball through three defenders instead of passing across to an open attacker.
Despite the rough Spring Season, the Eddies have had Paulus believes in his team.
“I get to work every day with 22 dedicated professional footballers,” he said. “These guys put in such a shift. They care so much about their trade and what they do every day.”
The Rest of the Spring Season
The Eddies have three fixtures remaining in the Spring Season. On Sunday they head to Langford, BC, to play Pacific FC. The final two matches will be at home against Forge FC on June 26, and HFX Wanderers on Canada Day, July 1.