EDMONTON, AB. – FC Edmonton got handed a big opportunity to catch Cavalry FC and York 9 and move into CPL first place, as both teams failed to win on Saturday afternoon. HFX Wanderers pulled off a 0-0 draw with Cavalry, while Valour toppled York 2-0, getting an extra-time game-clinching empty-net goal.
FC Edmonton Move Into CPL First Place
FC Edmonton came into their match against Pacific FC on Saturday in fourth with eight points. Ahead of Edmonton were York 9 with nine points, Forge FC with 10, and Cavalry with 11 points.
Pacific FC was seventh in the league due to Valour’s win on Saturday. They were looking to get ahead of Valour with three points against FC Edmonton.
FC Edmonton first place
With three goals, the Eddies defeated Pacific FC 3-1. This win propels the team into first place with 11 points. Cavalry also has 11 points, but the Eddies have a slight lead on goal differential. Due to rescheduling of Forge FC matches for CONCACAF League, Cavalry has a game in hand.
Post-match Head Coach, Jeff Paulus, was clear about his team’s intentions for the remainder of the season. “We want to be top two in overall points, so this gets us to within 4 of Forge. And this is our goal. This will be our goal until the end. That’s the ambition of the club.”
Easton Ongaro the difference-maker
The young forward, Easton Ongaro, was a huge contributor to his team’s victory. Ongaro earned an assist on Oumar Diouck’s first goal of the fall season in the first half. Pacific FC did not take that sitting down, and within a couple of minutes, Ben Fisk equalized the game putting the ball in after a free kick.
In the second half, Ongaro did not wait long to put his team back in front. In the 47th minute, he put one past Pacific goalkeeper, Nolan Wirth. Jeannot Esua’s corner kick was placed nicely to Mele Temguia. Temguia put the ball on net, and Ongaro snagged the rebound.
In the 66th minute, Ongaro seized another opportunity. Randy Edwini-Bonsu, who had subbed on in the second half, place a corner kick in the box. Ongaro put his body in front of the ball, deflecting it into the net.
This is Ongaro’s third consecutive match scoring, with four goals. These four goals have him tied for seventh in the league for goals.
In the post-game press conference, Ongaro commented on his recent success. “It’s exciting. I’m happy to be able to contribute. Each game I’ve played is another opportunity to show who I am as a player. As long as we keep winning we’re happy.”
He also noted that he had many more chances in the game, “We created a lot of chance. I think I could have had 5 myself today. We have some good momentum going.” Ongaro had eight shots on goal throughout the game.
At the post-game press conference, Paulus gave updates on two injured players.
“Ramon was only out for today,” Paulus said. “If today was a final, he would have played. If it was near the end of the season he would have played…We will have Ramon Soria back for Friday’s game in Calgary.”
Son Yongchan, who has been absent from the lineup since leaving the game against Forge FC on June 26, will be returning to training soon. In the second half of that match, Son took a hard kick from Bertrand Owundi. He left the game unable to put pressure on his right foot. Paulus confirmed that Son is “probably only a week away from full training.”
Upcoming Cavalry FC match important for first place
The Eddies have two options for making the Canadian Premier League championship against Cavalry FC. The first way is to win the fall season at the top of the table. Should Cavalry win the fall, the other option is to be second in the overall table for the spring and fall combined.
On Friday, the Eddies travel to Calgary to take on Cavalry FC. This will be one of the most important editions of Al Classico this season, as a win would put the Eddies three points ahead of their southern rivals. This is important considering Cavalry will still have a game in hand following the match.
Wednesday, Cavalry FC will be home to the Major League Soccer’s Montreal Impact in the Canadian Championship. Cavalry currently sits down 2-1 in the two-game aggregate against the Impact.
With only a day’s rest before Cavalry hosts the Eddies and their draw on Saturday against the Wanderers, Edmonton will be looking to take advantage of a potentially weary opponent. However, Cavalry has both breadth and depth. They won’t go down easy, if at all.