EDMONTON, ALBERTA (July 17, 2019) – FC Edmonton hosted Valour FC from Winnipeg on Wednesday evening for their Fall Season home opener in the Canadian Premier League. This CPL weather delay match a second match between these two teams.
CPL Weather Delay: Valour FC Match vs Edmonton
On Wednesday evening, kickoff did not occur for approximately one hour after the scheduled seven o’clock time. There had been a thunderstorm rolling through the city prior to the match which caused the delay due to lightning.
In the Spring Season, the first time Valour FC had visited Clarke Stadium, the game had been postponed a day due to thick smoke from forest fires northwest of Edmonton.
Brief start before another delay
After only eight minutes of play, the officials suspended action due to another storm cell moving through Edmonton. Fans evacuated the stadium ahead of heavy rain, wind, and lightning.
At 9:45 pm the match resumed after a nearly two-hour delay.
Communication staff at the game said that there had been a meeting between team and league officials to decide what would happen. If the match not started by 10 pm, the game would have been postponed.
Accordingly, media were been informed about Canadian Premier League rules regarding game delays. The match is deemed final if delayed after the 70-minute mark.
Media Pro and OneSoccer pack up and leave
Mediapro, the Spanish company that has 10-year production rights on all CPL matches, amongst other Canadian soccer content, and OneSoccer, the streaming service that broadcasts the matches, packed up and left Clarke Stadium.
As fans were being allowed back in the stadium and the players were coming back out onto the field to warm up after the weather delay, camera crews were seen packing up equipment. Crews were picking up microphones, dismantling cameras, and wrapping up cables.
OneSoccer.ca had initially reported on Twitter that the broadcast was about to resume once the game started, again, through their OneSoccer Help account.
Meanwhile, the game had already resumed and cameras had been packed up and gone, with camera stands sitting empty. Eventually, OneSoccer.ca let expectant fans know that the broadcast would not continue.
Last Word on Soccer reached out to the Canadian Premier League and OneSoccer.ca to confirm the reason why the film crews left the game. No response was received by press time. However, OneSoccer did post this tweet on Thursday explaining that the weather conditions had made it unsafe for their crews to continue.
It leaves one to wonder why it was safe for the teams to resume play, the fans to return to the stadium, and the camera crew that operated the large screen at the stadium to do so.
Another possibility that had been put out on Twitter was that the crew had to leave to make it to another planned event by a specific time.
The absence of OneSoccer at the post-game press conference didn’t go unnoticed by Head Coach Jeff Paulus, as he started off the conference by asking, “Where’s OneSoccer by the way? They’re not here for this?”
Commenting on the impact to the players the delay had, Paulus mentioned that, “It is tough on the players.
Eddies’ goalkeeper James said, “It was a real difficult mental challenge” waiting to find out if they were going to play or not over the nearly two-hour delay.
Valour FC Head Coach Robert Gale spoke to the fact that players eat mid-afternoon, and with not kicking off until 10 pm, that it’s difficult to keep the energy reserves up.
After the match resumed, play continued with no further delays due to weather. There were a few minor delays later in the game as a rabbit had managed to find it’s way onto the pitch. A few times officials needed to pause the match as players attempted to herd the small creature off the pitch.
Eddie fans historically see a rabbit on the pitch as good luck. On Wednesday, the rabbit on the pitch didn’t help either side as the game ended in a 0-0 draw.
Edmonton was home after two games on the road and third spot in the table.
Their first match was against Forge FC in Hamilton, where the Eddies won 2-1 despite only registering one shot on net. On Sunday, they were playing against York 9 FC. York 9 managed to take that match 2-1 to give FC Edmonton their first loss of the Fall Season and keep their winning streak at four matches.
Losing to York on the weekend, plus the fact that the Nine-stripes beat Pacific FC earlier on Wednesday, contributed to the Eddies third-place ranking. They had three points prior to the match starting – behind York 9’s six points.
Head-to-head against Valour
In the Spring Season, these two teams met up twice. In the Eddies’ first game ever in the CPL, they defeated Valour 2-1 in Winnipeg on May 4th. The second contest between these two took place on June 2nd in Edmonton. Valour FC took that match 1-0. The last time Valour won a match was that game.
Wednesday’s match was Valour FC’s first match of the Fall. Valour FC came into the match on a six-game losing streak over four league matches and two Voyageur Cup matches.
FC Edmonton line-up changes
There was only one change in the lineup on Wednesday evening. Kareem Moses came into the midfield in place of Marcus Velado-Tsegaye. Velado-Tsegaye had been in that spot against York 9 FC. Philippe Lincourt-Joseph had that position against Forge FC.
The lineup has proven to remain very stable since the final game of the Spring Season against HFX Wanderers. The match prior to that saw both Amer Didic and Son Yongchang leave the game against Forge FC on June 26th in Edmonton. Both suffered injuries, and have not been back since.
Numerous chances but no goals
Both sides had numerous chances to score but could not put one in the net. Both goalkeepers, Tyson Farago for Valour FC, and Connor James for the Eddies made numerous saves to register clean sheets.
Bruno Zebie had a couple of chances on net. A Valour defender tackled Zebie in the box on his second attempt at driving the net. Paulus had stated after the game that several players on Wednesday had taken too many touches at times. He highlighted Zebie’s attempt in the box as one of them.
Moses also had a couple of headers. Both missed the goal.
Valour FC chances came from Tyler Attardo and Skylar Thomas putting headers over the net. Meanwhile, Bustos put a shot on goal, with James getting in front of it.
The Last Word
Both the Eddies and Valour FC came out of this match with a point. The Eddies are now one point ahead of HFX and remain in fourth place. Meanwhile, Valour gets their first point of the Fall table, putting them in 6th, ahead of the 0-3 Pacific FC.
The Fall Season is much longer than the Spring Season was. Teams will be playing 18 matches versus the 10 they played in the first half. Now that most teams have found their bearings, they all are searching for the Fall title. Every team wants to play against Cavalry FC for the championship.
Expect it to be a tight race in the second half of the year. Despite Cavalry FC’s dominance in the Spring, many of their games were close. A few of their wins came late in the game or in extra time. Although Cavalry is extremely competitive, teams will likely start finding ways to put balls in the back of their net. The Fall Champion is anyone’s for the taking at this point. As FC Edmonton showed, stringing together a few wins can move a team up the table fast.