FCE’s Lance Laing follows the ball as Ottawa defender Brandon Polronieri dashes for it.
Up 3-1 after the first leg of their Amway Canadian Championship preliminary round tie against the Ottawa Fury, FC Edmonton’s players had a bit of a surprise prepared.
Instead of bunkering and trying to protect the three road goals they scored in the first leg, they came out onto the Clarke Stadium turf looking to break the backs of their opponents. The Eddies scored two goals in short order, then cruised to a 3-1 second-leg win, taking the series 6-2 on aggregate. The Eddies, who have not lost at Clarke since last July, will now face the Vancouver Whitecaps in the semifinals.
“We went out with the mentality that we wanted to win the game,” said FCE striker Tomi Ameobi, who scored the opening goal of the match. “We knew that, early in the match, they were going to throw everything at us.”
The Fury began the game as Ameobi said; defenders pushed up well past the halfway mark. On throw ins and free kicks, the Fury hurried as if it was the 90th minute, not early in the first half. But the Fury’s pressure also made the visitors susceptible to the Eddies’ counterattack. First, Ameobi had to simply steer the rebound into an open goal after Fury keeper Romuald Peiser stopped the initial shot from Cristian Raudales. Then, Sainey Nyassi smashed a shot into the top corner after he took a cross at the far side of the box. The switch of play came off the foot of Lance Laing, after a rampaging run down the left wing.
The Fury did get a goal back. Andrew Wiedeman became the first player in Amway Canadian Championship history to score goals for more than one team. He scored for Toronto FC in the past, and then scored for the Fury after he found a gap between Eddies’ defenders Kareem Moses and Mallan Roberts.
Then, referee Drew Fischer had to make a decision. Late in the first half, Wiedeman took a nice through ball, and had a step on the last Eddies man back, defender Albert Watson. Watson put a foot in, and Wiedeman went down. Fischer ruled no foul. Had he pointed to the penalty spot, he would have had to send Watson off for spoiling a clear scoring chance. The Fury players leaped off the bench in outrage. After looking at replays, the margin was razor thin; the ball looked to have moved slightly, suggesting Watson may have made contact with it. But, an argument could have also been made that the ball moved because Watson had felled Wiedeman. If the Fury get a penalty, it has the chance to make it 2-2 at half, with the Eddies at 10 men. But Fischer didn’t see it that way.
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