FC Edmonton Preseason Recap
After a disappointing last place finish in their first season in the league, the Eddies are looking to change their luck this year as they prepare to travel to Ft. Lauderdale in their season opener. The Canadian winter has kept them inside for much of the preseason, except for when trial players faced off against the University of Alberta winning 3-1, but they finally got outside and got to playing games outdoors on the 23rd of March.
Edmonton’s first preseason match was against themselves, Blue team versus Yellow. Daryl Fordyce starting the scoring for Blue, shortly later on Sadi Jalali tied the game with a PK. Edem Mortotsi and Massimo Mirabelli answered back making the score 3-1 to Blue. Mirabelli, Neil Hlavaty, Shaun Saiko, and Fordyce scored more goals for Blue and Hanson Boakai scoring for Yellow making the final score 7-2 for Blue.
The Eddies then traveled to take on the Vancouver Whitecaps reserve team on the 26th at the University of British Columbia. The game began with a lot of back and forth play with not too many chances but the Whitecaps opened the scoring when Eddies keeper Lance Parker made a save but couldn’t hold on as the rebound you put in by Paulo Jr. making it 1-0 Vancouver. After halftime the Eddies came out strong but the Whitecaps pushed hard and Tommy Heinemann split two Edmonton defenders and made it 2-0. The Eddies got on the board in the 53rd minute when Michael Cox had a slow shot beat the Vancouver keeper making it 2-1 but the Whitecaps fired back 10 minutes later with a goal from Kekuta Manneh. Edmonton striker and former Whitecap Wes Knight took revenge on his old team bringing the Eddies back within one but they would not complete the comeback as they lost 3-2.
The next day, Edmonton players who didn’t start against Vancouver took on the Abbotsford Selects. The Eddies came out hard and fast to dismantle the defense as Elvir Gigolaj put home a rebound in the 4th minute and 10 minutes later Sadi Jalali placed a shot into the top corner to make it 2-0. Jalali got his second goal of the game in the 27th and completed his hat trick just before half. Jalali tallied on one more as Edmonton continued to dominate the game giving him a total of four on the day. The 67th minute saw Ajeej Sarkaria add him name to the list of scorers as a pass from trial player Dosanjh found him in front of goal and put it in making it 6-0. The game would finish with the same score as the Eddies gained a huge confidence boosting victory and discovered a scoring combination that will be crucial in the regular season.
Looking to carry this momentum through the preseason, the Eddies traveled to the University of British Columbia. The Thunderbirds had given Vancouver’s reserve team their only loss so far this year, shortly before the Whitecaps faced the Edmonton. Cox opened the scoring for in the 10th minute, he beat the last defender to draw the keeper out who stopped the first shot, but Cox slotted home his own rebound to make it 1-0 for Edmonton. A few minutes later, Cox almost put home a bicycle kick but ended up kicking the head of a UBC defender which earned him a straight red card. The Eddies held on till half and began to push back in the second half with 10-men. Their short numbers effected their ability to defend set pieces and in the last minutes of the game, UBC put one in off a corner and the game would end 1-1.
Two days later The Eddies set their sights on Gonzaga University for their preseason finale. It took awhile for the team to get going but still had a few decent chances. The Eddies finally opened up the game in the 28th minute when Saiko blasted in a shot from outside the box. Edmonton saw blood in the water and kept pouring the pressure on the Bulldogs who cracked again just before half time. A corner in the 43rd set up Knight for a volley that would double the lead to and two minutes later Fordyce bent a shot around the Gonzaga keeper making it 3-0 at half. Edmonton came out hard in the second still creating chances, and coach Colin Miller decided to change-up the team bringing in 10 subs in the 70th. The subs didn’t waste any time as Massimo Mirabelli got on the board three minutes after coming on making it 4-0 for Edmonton. Gonzaga would not go quietly though, they drew a penalty just before the 80 minute mark and put home the PK that followed. More action ensued and chances were had but neither side could put home another as the game ended 4-1 for FC Edmonton. With the victory, the Eddies would finish their preseason with a record of 3-1-1 not counting the inter-squad match.
FC Edmonton travel to Ft. Lauderdale to take on the Strikers this Saturday to begin their NASL season. Kick off is at 7:30pm ET with a live stream of the game on the NASL website.