FC Edmonton’s defensive play garners a point over Halifax Wanderers

Halifax, Nova Scotia — FC Edmonton headed to Halifax for the first time to play the Wanderers on Labour Day. Heading into a notoriously difficult grounds to play at, FC Edmonton’s defensive play garnered a point.

Preview

For both teams, this match marked the beginning of the second half of the fall season. The Eddies were three points behind both Cavalry and Forge ahead of this match. However, Forge FC had two games in hand. HFX was at the bottom of the table with seven points.

FC Edmonton came to Halifax looking to make up some ground on their efforts to be the Fall Season winners, while the Wanderers looked to get out of the bottom of the table. The last two times these two clubs faced-off were both in Edmonton. The Eddies took all six points winning both matches 2-0.

Eddies lineup changes 

Bruno Zebie was out of the lineup for Monday’s match with Oumar Diouck playing back in the midfield on the left side. This move brought Ajeej Sarkaria upfront with Easton Ongaro. Meanwhile, Amer Didic was also out of the lineup. With the centerback out, James Marcelin received the opportunity to jump back into the starting lineup.

Randy Edwini-Bonsu also got the nod to start today but had to exit early due getting knocked around in a rough first half.

Clean sheets all around

Connor James and Christian Oxner registered clean sheets for their respective clubs in the 0-0 draw. James’ clean sheet was much more difficult to earn as he faced six out of 15 shots on target. Meanwhile, Oxner faced only one shot from Diouck, which was not even on goal.

This is James’ seventh clean sheet, putting him one behind Cavalry FC’s Marco Carducci (pre-Cavalry vs. Valour match) for second in the league. Oxner earned his fourth one, putting him fourth in the CPL with Valour FC’s Mathias Janssens.

End of match controversy

Marcelin made a game-saving clearance late in extra time to save James’ clean sheet after the Eddie keeper left his goal and collided with Akeem Garcia. Mele Temguia, one of the Eddie defenders, had knocked the ball back into the Eddies’ zone. James attempted to come out to head it away at the same time as Garcia got to the ball. With James leaping in the air to head the ball, there was contact with Garcia. 

Fans at Wanderers Grounds and several Halifax players were calling for the penalty kick as the incident happened in the box. The referee did not make a call on the play much to the home town’s disappointment.

FC Edmonton’s defensive play garners a point

In addition to the Marcelin’s end of game clearance to keep the ball out of the goal, he made a couple of key clearances in front of the net. Alex De Carolis for the Wanderers was raining corner kicks, free kicks and long throw-ins into the box. Marcelin was typically there to keep the Wanderers from getting any real chances. In the 9th minute, after De Carolis put a corner kick into the box, Marcelin deflected away the ball that Tomasz Skublak headed towards the net.

Temguia led the defensive stats for most categories for Edmonton. Temguia won three tackles and eleven duels. He also registered eight clearances.

Jeannot Esua also played a helping hand in keeping the ball out of the Eddies net. He registered two interceptions, and second only to Temguia with eight duels won.

Diouck suspension

When a player accumulates four yellow cards in Canadian Premier League competitive matches, that player will receive a one-game suspension. The suspension is to be served in the first game following a fourteen-day period after the game the yellow was received in.

Diouck received his fourth yellow of the year in the 13th minute. He was challenging Garcia for the ball on the left side when he gave Garcia a hard shoulder check.

At the time of writing, Diouck’s suspension still did not show on the CPL’s Discipline and Suspension page.

The Last Word

As the inaugural season of the CPL winds down, FC Edmonton is finding themselves running out of matches to earn a spot into the CPL Championships against Cavalry FC. Cavalry FC won the Spring title. 

To get into the CPL Championships, the Eddies either need to win the Fall Season or have the most combined points out of both spring and fall if Cavalry wins. 

Currently, the Eddies are two points behind Forge in the fall table, but Forge now has three games in hand. They are also seven points behind Forge FC in the overall table.

The advantage the Eddies will have over Forge, is that the team from Hamilton will have significant fixture congestion due to their run in the CONCACAF League tournament. 

With only eight matches remaining, FC Edmonton needs to find their winning ways again. Drawing only three points in their last four matches, every remaining game has increased significantly in importance. FC Edmonton’s defensive play garnered a point today, but a few more wins would go along way in helping the team’s efforts.

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