Edmonton, Canada (June 27, 2019) — FC Edmonton earns their second win in a row and first at home Wednesday evening at Clarke Stadium. The Eddies hosted Forge FC.
The game started late after a slight delay from a thunderstorm passing through the city, but eventually happened with a final result of 1-0.
Meanwhile, the Eddies were coming fresh off a 3-1 win against Pacific FC on Sunday. That was their first win since their season opener in Winnipeg on May 4.
Cavalry FC clinch Spring Season title
For Forge FC, this was their final match of the Spring Season. They were looking to come into this match to get three points to catch Cavalry FC. Forge FC had just beat Cavalry on Saturday to close the gap on first place in the league.
Unfortunately for Forge, Cavalry beat York 9 FC 2-0 earlier on Wednesday evening to clinch first place. The Cavs have earned the first-ever birth into the Canadian Premier League Championship. They will play the winner of the Fall Season.
Diouck snags game winner
Forge FC came out strong, keeping the ball in the Eddies zone for several minutes. Anytime the Eddies managed to get it out, Forge’s backline put the ball back down the field.
After several minutes of play, the Eddies finally got some serious ball possession in Forge’s end. Ameobi went down hard in the 16th minute after a foul, giving FC Edmonton the ball.
After play resumed, there was a build up as the Eddies maintained possession of the ball looking for opportunity. The ball was moved around from Ajay Khabra to Ramon Soria, and up to Bruno Zebie.
Zebie had to make some nice moves dancing around Kwami Awuah to break deeper into Forge’s zone. After getting by Awuah, Zebie passed the ball Jeannot Esua in the right corner.
Esua put a cross into the box with the ball going between two sliding Forge defenders. Oumar Diouck picked up the ball and put it by Triston Henry. It looked like Henry got a hand on the ball, but not enough to stop the ball from bouncing into the goal.
This happens to be the first goal at home for FC Edmonton this year — and Diouck’s third league goal of the season. Diouck’s goal ties him for second in the league, just one behind Tristan Borges. With Forge FC done for the season, Diouck has an opportunity to catch Borges on Monday against Halifax at home.
— FC Edmonton (@FCEdmontonNow) June 27, 2019
Second Eddies goal deemed offside
Later in the first half, Son Yongchan nearly got his first goal. Diouck received a pass up the field. He looked offside but play was allowed to continue. Diouck took the ball towards a challenging Henry and opted for a pass to the right to Son who had a wide open shot. He easily put it in the back of the net. It wasn’t until after the players were all celebrating that the ref called a late offside, nullifying the goal.
James earns his third clean sheet
Goalkeeper Connor James earned his third clean sheet of the season last night. He faced 11 shots, with four being on target. One of his biggest saves was in the 38th minute as Chris Nanco put a hard shot low on the ground towards the bottom right corner. James dove with outstretched arms to make a fantastic save.
Late in the game, in extra time, James was key to stop a few balls in the box. After making a nice save, there was scrum in the box and James dove on top of the ball to keep the Eddies up by one goal.
Defence and precision play maintains Eddies lead
Although Forge dominated the game in possession (61 percent vs. 39 percent) and shots (11 to four), the Eddies were quick to keep the pressure on them to minimize Forge’s opportunities while being more precise with their own.
In terms of shots, the Eddies only had four, but of the four they did have they put two on target. Both of those shots came from Diouck and came from inside the box. Of Forge FC’s 11 shots, only three were on target. Five shots missed the net and three were blocked. David Choiniere and Kyle Bekker put shots over the net that would have been great chances had they kept the ball low.
Mele Temguia had a great block midway through the first half. In the second half, Khabra blocked a rocket shot from Bekker. Meanwhile, Khabra had committed a foul in his own end outside of the box to set up the free kick. When Bekker let loose, the ball hit him square in the chest while Khabra was standing in the wall.
The Eddies had nine crosses with two of them being accurate, while Forge had 14 crosses with none of them connecting. FC Edmonton had 14 successful tackles, while Forge only had five. Edmonton intercepted the ball 18 times from Forge. Of the 103 duels, FC Edmonton won 57 of them.
Although Bekker had several missed opportunities, the Eddies did well at putting pressure on him to minimize his impact in the game. At one point in the first half, both Allan Zebie and Bruno Zebie were on top of him in the corner. They forced him out, keeping him from making a play.
▶️ 'I keep trusting these players, and they keep coming through'.
— OneSoccer (@onesoccer) June 27, 2019
Amer Didic, who had missed several games earlier in the season, left the game early on Wednesday. James Marcelin came in his spot as a centreback.
In the second half, Son took a hard kick from Bertrand Owundi. Son left the game unable to put pressure on his right foot. Easton Ongaro came in a few minutes later filling in in the midfield, although he is usually forward.
The Eddies move into fourth
Coming into this game the Eddies were fifth in the table with eight points, behind Valour who had nine. With York 9 losing to Cavalry on Wednesday, and Valour FC losing to HFX Wanderers, the Eddie’s three points have them tied with Halifax with 11 points. Due to goal differential, HFX sits in third and the Eddies are in fourth place. Their goal differential is two less than the Wanderers.
The Last Word
FC Edmonton is to be a late bloomer in the Spring Season. They have solved their goal scoring troubles with four goals while winning two in a row. They also added their first win at home. Their defense is playing better allowing goalkeeper James from having to come out and challenge as often to make those fantastic saves.
Being tied with the Wanderers with 11 points, eight points behind Forge, getting three more on Monday to close off the Spring Season will be critical. If they can shrink that gap to five points, that will set them up well going into the Fall Season in July, should aggregate points be needed to qualify for the second spot in the CPL Championships in October.
The fact of the matter is that when the Eddies play well they can compete with any team in the league. They may not be the attacking team that they set out to be at the start of the season, but they are doing well defensively, capitalizing when they get their chances.
FC Edmonton’s style is very much like the defensively-oriented Wolverhampton Wanderers, also known as the Wolves. Meanwhile, the Wolves play in the Premier League in England. They keep two strikers up front, while occasionally mixing up the defense and midfield depending on their opponent. The point is the Wolves compete against any team in their league. They went from a newly promoted team into the first division last season to finishing seventh and earning a berth to Europe. They knocked both Liverpool and Manchester United out of the FA Cup.
The Eddies will be a tough opponent going into the Fall Season. As they continue to focus on their strengths and precision, with a little luck thrown in, they could very well knock off Forge FC and Cavalry FC to make into the CPL Championship.
▶️ ‘I keep trusting these players, and they keep coming through’.
— OneSoccer (@onesoccer) June 27, 2019