EDMONTON Alta. (June 2, 2019) – FC Edmonton lose again, having played at home on Sunday against Valour FC. This match marked the mid-point of the Spring Season for the Eddies. It also marked the team’s third consecutive loss and the team’s fourth scoreless match as they lost 1-0 to Valour.
FC Edmonton Lose Again: Third Consecutive Loss and Fourth Scoreless Match
It was their second home tie of the season, which was delayed from Saturday due to poor air quality in the city. Forest fires in northern Alberta have caused extremely poor air quality across the province. Thursday had been especially poor in Edmonton for smoke, and it still had not improved enough by Saturday’s match.
Both coaches gave credit to the league for making the right call in Sunday’s post-game press conference in regards to postponing the match due to the smoke. FC Edmonton’s Academy had tried playing on Saturday but had to call the game part way through.
The Eddies came into this match against Valour not having scored a goal since their first match of the season against the same team but in Winnipeg. Edmonton had managed to score two goals that game off of Oumar Diouck and Mele Temguia.
The team was also coming home after two consecutive losses against Forge FC and Cavalry FC.
CONCACAF League Qualifying Round Out of Reach
The Eddie’s last match was Wednesday against Forge FC in Hamilton, which saw the Eddies lose 2-0. That match was the second match for FC Edmonton in the CONCACAF League qualifying tournament. The 2019 berth into CONCACAF League preliminary round goes to the best record amongst Forge FC, Valour FC, and FC Edmonton. For 2020 and beyond, this honour will go to the Canadian Premier League champions.
The Eddies have three points in the CL qualifying with one win and now two losses, while Forge FC sits at the top of the table with 6 points after two wins. Valour gained their first three points after defeating FC Edmonton on Sunday.
Post-game Head Coach, Jeff Paulus said, “That’s out of our thoughts now. You know you can’t drop two-in-a-row like that. We’re out of that competition.”
Line Up and Tactical Formation
Son Yongchan returned to the starting lineup after not starting in Hamilton on Wednesday. Ajeej Sarkaria and David Doe both joined the starting eleven, as well.
This match was David Does first professional start. Oumar Diouck stayed in the lineup for his second consecutive start.
Paulus employed a 4-3-3 tactical formation against Valour FC. This was a slight deviation from the usual 4-2-3-1 that has been used up to this point in the season.
Out the starting lineup, this week was Jeannot Esau, Ajay Khabra, and Marcu Velado-Tsegaye. All three were on the bench available for substitutes along with Dylon Powley, Randy Edwini-Bonsu, and Amanda Prince.
Suspensions and Injuries Keep Players Out
Still missing due to a red card, followed by a three-game suspension, was Philippe Lincourt-Joseph. He received the red card and subsequent suspension during the first home match against Pacific FC on May 4th. The match against Valour FC is his third game missed
Three other key players were still missing due to injuries. The first is Allan Zebie, who went down at home against Pacific FC. This has allowed his younger brother, Bruno Zebie, fill in on the back line.
Amer Didic, who came to the team from San Antonio FC, is also injured since the match against Pacific FC. Finally, the newest signing to the team, Easton Ongaro is out and expected back in the next couple weeks. Ongaro has, yet to play for the team. He was on the bench as a substitute against Pacific FC on May 4th but did not come on during that match.
Scoreless First Half with Three Yellow Cards
The first half was a scoreless affair from both clubs. FC Edmonton lose despite dominating possession for the first 45 minutes. They had the ball nearly 60% of the time. FC Edmonton had five shots, with two on target, while Valour FC had three shots, with only one on target.
The referee was kept busy booking players, as three yellows were handed out. The first yellow went to Nicolas Galvis for Valour FC in the eighth minute. The next two went to Eddie captain Tomi Ameobi in and Valour FC Skylar Thomas – both in the 16th minute.
One of Edmonton’s best chances came in the 39th minute on a play involving Diouck, Ameobi, and Sakaria. Diouck took the ball after Valour’s Nicolas Galvis turned it over. Diouck passed it up to Ameobi on the right side. Ameobi crossed it into the box for Sakaria, but Valour keeper Mathias Janssens managed to keep it out of the net.
Valour FC Pulls Out the Win in Dominant Second Half
The second half was much more even in terms of ball possession at roughly 50/50. In terms of shots, Valour FC exploded with eight, landing four on target – one of which hit the back of the net. This is in stark contrast to the Eddie’s four shots in the second half with only one on target.
Valour’s winning goal came in the 80th minute as Louis Beland-Goyette carried the ball up the right side, getting it up to Michael Petrasso. Petrasso put it across to Ali Musse who put it by Eddie keeper James for the game-winner.
This goal was nearly not the last. In the first minute of extra time, Eddie centreback Temguia missed clearing a pass from Zebie. Valour midfielder Bustos stole the ball and would have scored had it not been for the exceptional saving ability of James.
Marcus Velado-Tsegaye, who subbed in for Doe nine minutes into the second half, had the Eddie’s best chance in the second half. After Jeannot Esua moved the ball up the field in the 84th minute, captain Ameobi headed it over towards Velodo-Tsegay. Velado-Tsegaye put it just over the crossbar.
Velado-Tsegaye followed up a few minutes later with a shot that was blocked after receiving a cross from Diouck.
Ameobi’s Fitness Improving
Eddie captain Tomi Ameobi looks to continue to improve his match fitness. A couple of games ago against Cavalry FC, Ameobi experienced what looked like serious cramping, which may have looked like he was not fully recovered from his preseason injuries. His form on Sunday against Valour FC showed no signs of lingering injuries or any visible signs of cramping.
James Continues to Keep Eddies Close
Eddies goalkeeper Connor James has played all five matches this season. James is second in the league with 15 saves. Six of those saves came in the first match against Valour FC in Winnipeg on May 4th. That being said, James has managed to keep every match close even while the ten men in front of him struggle to put the ball in the net.
Commentator and writer Steve Sandor said on the Onesoccer.ca broadcast there is good news that “Connor James being the MVP for this team, and the bad news [is] Connor James being MVP for the team.”
FC Edmonton Lose, Scoring Drought Continues
With the success of rookie keeper James keeping the team in games, FC Edmonton will surely be looking to find ways to put the ball in the net. There were many plays during the match where the team would try to put the ball towards the net. Many of those times a player could not connect with it, or there was no one there to make a play. This was both in regular play or off of set pieces.
In terms of set pieces, Paulus commented that “when you have a big team like that, you need to be a threat on set pieces. Teams need to be scared to foul you near the box….right now, you know, we have not scored anybody on set pieces.”
Paulus also commented the team needs to be better in the box; however, he has seen progress in the first few weeks. He said the team is better playing the ball out of the back then they were at the start of the season.
On David Doe and Marcus Velado-Tsegaye, he commented on their bravery. “They’re the bravest boys we have because they get the ball and drive at defenders. The rest [the senior players] are comfortable right now to get it and play it off to somebody when we want to see that bravery from them.”
Spring Season is “Out of Reach”
With Cavalry FC top the table with a 5-0 start, Jeff Paulus said in the post-game press conference it is an opportunity for his team to improve. “The Spring Season is out of reach…for FC Edmonton right now. This is a chance for us to start doing the little things correctly. Getting a full 90 minutes of a game in.”
FC Edmonton Lose: Onto the Canadian Championship
This match was FC Edmonton’s last league match until June 15th. League play takes a break while the second round of the Canadian Championship is underway. The Eddies travel down east to face York 9 FC on Wednesday, June 5th. This will be their first match in pursuit of the Voyageur Cup. Edmonton had a bye in the first round of the tournament. The home leg will take place on Wednesday, June 12th, at Clarke Stadium.
York 9 FC is coming off a draw this past Wednesday against HFX Wanderers. This will be York 9’s second round of the Canadian Championship. They faced off against A.S. Blainville of the Première Ligue de soccer du Québec (PLSQ) in May. The two teams ended in a scoreless draw in the first match, with York getting one goal to win the aggregate at home in the second match.
Commenting on the tournament post-game, Paulus said, “That’s important for us. We have a good history in the Canadian Championship…from our NASL [North American Soccer League] days. We have pushed a couple of MLS sides. One year, arguably, we could have beaten the Montreal Impact.”
“This is something we are going to take serious,” Paulus finished up.