FC Edmonton is developing a tragic history of giving up late goals to lose Amway Canadian Championship ties.
Last year, it was a 96th-minute Patrice Bernier penalty that gave the Montreal Impact a last-gasp semifinal win over the Eddies. On Wednesday, Whitecap substitute Matias Laba rolled the ball across the goal line in the 96th minute of the semifinal’s second leg, punching Vancouver’s ticket to the final.
The final score at Clarke Stadium; Whitecaps 2, Eddies 1 — with Vancouver taking the semifinal 3-2 on aggregate.
The goal came after the Eddies couldn’t deal with a free kick that dropped into the penalty area, and the ball was poked across the goal line by Laba.
“I ‘d have to see it again, but it looked like it went through a ruck of players and through Matt’s (keeper Matt Van Oekel) legs,” said FCE coach Colin Miller after the game.
The goal came just after the Eddies got a 91st-minute penalty-kick equalizer off the foot of Tomi Ameobi, who became the all-time leading scorer in the history of the Canadian Championship — since the tournament format was adopted. The crowd of 3,803 — save for a few dozen Whitecaps fans — uttered the loudest roar ever heard at an FCE home game after Ameobi’s effort hit the back of the net. For the striker, it was the seventh straight game in which he’s scored.
But, he’d trade all the individual accolades just to see Laba’s goal erased from time.
“It was the worst feeling in the world,” Ameobi said of the Laba goal. “It literally stops your heart, there’s nothing you can do.”
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