Carolina RailHawks Archive

14

Eddies go off for six goals against the RailHawks

Tomi Ameobi (18) watches as the ball he got his head to goes past the outstretched arms of Carolina keeper Akira Fitzgerald. PHOTO: FC EDMONTON/TONY LEWIS

Tomi Ameobi (18) watches as the ball he got his head to goes past the outstretched arms of Carolina keeper Akira Fitzgerald. PHOTO: FC EDMONTON/TONY LEWIS

FC Edmonton scored five times in its first eight NASL games of the season.

The Eddies scored six on Sunday. Daryl Fordyce scored 34 seconds into the match, the fastest goal from the start of a game so far this NASL season, and the Eddies were on their way to a 6-1 hiding of the Carolina RailHawks.

What a way to win your first league home game of the season — in attempt No. 4, the final match of the NASL spring season. Minnesota won the spring season title on Saturday night.

Fordyce had a hat trick; while Tomi Ameobi and Lance Laing each scored. At the death of the match, after a bizarre handball in the box, teenager Sadi Jalali got his first ever professional goal from the penalty spot.

“It’s been a disappointing season so far,” said Fordyce. “We know we’re a good team, and we showed it today.”
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6

Miller accepts that he won’t hang on to coaching job if Eddies can’t turn things around

Colin Miller

Colin Miller

As FC Edmonton heads into the final game of the NASL spring season, the numbers aren’t pretty.

FCE is last in the league in goals scored. Second last in the league table. And, the team has yet to pick up a point at Clarke Stadium, its home.

The Eddies will try and remedy the winless-at-home stat on Sunday, when they host the Carolina RailHawks, the final game of the spring season. The NASL teams will then break for the World Cup and then launch the fall season after that.

Coach Colin Miller is feeling the pressure. He isn’t going to deny it — the results haven’t been good enough. And he knows that if things don’t turn around for the Eddies, that he’ll be the one who will be taking the blame.

“One win in our first eight games, that’s a recipe for disaster anywhere in the world,” said Miller after FCE trained Thursday at Clarke Stadium. “If things don’t change, there will be changes. That’s the nature of the profession I’m in.”

And, changes could be coming on the roster, too. With Gagan Dosanjh being forced to leave the club because of a potentially career-ending knee problem, and midfielder Mike Banner ruled out for the season due to injury, there are already a couple of roster spots available to be filled. Miller said he expects some comings and goings, and that he and his coaching staff are already working to identify players who can help the Eddies. But, right now, the team is maxed out when it comes to the international slots, so any player who would come in would need to be American or Canadian.
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0

Historic hat trick earns Oliver the NASL Player of the Week nod

Oliver Minatel

Oliver Minatel PHOTO: Steve Kingsman (Ottawa Fury FC)

So, you bag a hat trick in your team’s first-ever win. Your name will forever be part of the club’s history.

It would make sense that the league would name you the player of the week, as well, huh?

In an announcement that surprises absolutely no one who follows the NASL on a regular basis, Ottawa Fury forward Oliver Minatel has been named the league’s player of the week.

On Saturday, Minatel scored three times and assisted on Philippe Davies’s goal as the Fury won its first ever NASL match, 4-0 over the Carolina RailHawks. Minatel’s three goals came between the 34th and 72nd minutes of play. Do the math and take away a bit of first-half added time, and you can say that he scored three times in 38 minutes.

Why is that relevant? Because Ottawa travels to Edmonton for Wednesday’s second leg of their Amway Canadian Championship preliminary round, with the winner to get the Montreal Impact in a semifinal. After the first leg ended 0-0, the Fury knows that either a win on Edmonton soil, or any draw that’s not a 0-0 result, will the team from the nation’s capital through.
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8

FCE coach Miller: “I should have been arrested, I was that angry” after handball call

Marko Aleksic

Marko Aleksic

The Eddies overhauled their attack in the off-season, but, after three NASL matches and one Voyageurs Cup game, the 2014 stats look an awful lot like last year.

After the Eddies fell 1-0 on the road to Minnesota United FC Saturday night, the ledger looks like this; through three league games, FC Edmonton has scored just one goal, and allowed just three. And don’t forget that the Eddies played the Ottawa Fury to a 0-0 draw in the nation’s capital last Wednesday in the first leg of their Amway Canadian Championship preliminary round.

So, the book on FCE early in the 2014 season looks a lot like 2013; awfully hard to score on ‘em, but they don’t get a lot of offensive results, either.

Coach Colin Miller said after the Minnesota match that he felt his team played some very good soccer on Saturday, that the team deserved better, but he also admitted “that I’d rather have the team play horrendous and win than play some good football and lose.”

I the column that matters, points earned, FCE has just one after three league games. Minnesota already has nine points. With six weeks left in the NASL spring season schedule, it’s pretty tough to see the Eddies leapfrogging the field and making up eight points on the leaders.
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1

Elementary, my dear Watson: Northern Irish defender is lone Eddie to make NASL Best XI

FC Edmonton's Albert Watson, left, tries to get around Atlanta's Pedro Mendes.

FC Edmonton’s Albert Watson, left, tries to get around Atlanta’s Pedro Mendes.

FC Edmonton captain Albert Watson is the sole member of the Eddies to make the season-ending NASL Best XI.

Watson, who was one of two Eddies on the MVP ballot (the now-departed Chris Nurse was the other) got enough votes from the league’s eight head coaches, who select the season-ending all-star team.

Watson joins Shaun Saiko (2011) and Paul Hamilton (2012) as Eddies who made the NASL Best XI.

Watson was the backbone for a defence that allowed 26 goals in 26 games this season (though Watson missed a chunk of the spring season as he recovered from an MCL injury). He came to the club from Northern Irish side Linfield FC in 2013, and Eddies’ coach Colin Miller has repeatedly said that he feels Watson is the top central defender in the league.
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5

As Cosmos runs away with NASL fall season, the league’s format is put to the test

Cosmos star Marcos Senna PHOTO: TONY LEWIS

Cosmos star Marcos Senna
PHOTO: TONY LEWIS

I’ve seen the debate on this site. You see entire message-board debates devoted to it.

Should a North American soccer league have playoffs? Or should the format more reflect the league-winner-take-all format that’s common across Europe?

Well, we have as close as a test case as we are going to get in North America. And that’s in the North American Soccer League, where the winner of the spring and fall seasons meet each other in the Soccer Bowl. It’s not quite single table, but there’s no post-season outside of a championship game.

In mid-September, the NASL looked to have a dream on its hands. The top seven teams in an eight-team league were all within three points of each other. The league could boast that every game had meaning, that every game would impact the Soccer Bowl race.

But things have changed radically since then.

Sure, for most of the league, parity is still the key word. As we head into the Canadian Thanksgiving long weekend, the gap between seventh place and second place is three points. Four teams are tied for second place, with 14 points each.

Alas, the New York Cosmos have been red-hot; and, in a league where draws are the norm, the Cosmos has been able to put together a series of wins and distance itself from the pack. The gap between first and those four second-place teams is at seven points.

Seven points, with four games left on each team’s schedule.
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2

FCE’s Fordyce named NASL Player of the Week

Albert Watson (5) embraces countryman and teammate Daryl Fordyce after FCE scored the opener against Carolina. PHOTO: TONY LEWIS/FC EDMONTON

Albert Watson (5) embraces countryman and teammate Daryl Fordyce after FCE scored the opener against Carolina. PHOTO: TONY LEWIS/FC EDMONTON

Daryl Fordyce has been named the NASL Player of the Week.

FC Edmonton’s Northern Irish striker got both goals in the team’s 2-1 win over Carolina, Sunday. Fordyce nodded home the opener after fellow Northern Irishman Alberta Watson flicked on a long throw from Corey Hertzog.

Fordyce’s second goal was smashed just underneath the crossbar at Clarke Stadium, after right back Edson Edward made a terrific run up the wing and pushed a pass to the top of the box. Fordyce made a clever run to find a dead spot in the box, where there were no Carolina defenders to be found.
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4

Fordyce’s brace gives FCE its second win of the fall season

RailHawk Paul Hamilton, left, challenges FCE's Daryl Fordyce. PHOTO: TONY LEWIS/FC EDMONTON

RailHawk Paul Hamilton, left, challenges FCE’s Daryl Fordyce. PHOTO: TONY LEWIS/FC EDMONTON

FC Edmonton began the post-Shaun Saiko era with its second win of the fall season.

Daryl Fordyce scored twice, pacing the Eddies to a 2-1 win over the Carolina RailHawks. The big winners out of the weekend? The New York Cosmos. With Carolina’s loss, the gap between the Cosmos and the RailHawks (tied for second place) is now seven points.

With the fall season winner going to the Soccer Bowl and no playoff structure, with four games left the NASL’s final weeks is looking more and more like a lame-duck stretch run.

The RailHawks followed a familiar pattern: Unbeatable at home but strugglers on the road. The Eddies had all of the real first-half chances. Before Fordyce scored the opener, he had a chance to put the Eddies ahead inside the 20-minute mark.

A Lance Laing free kick hit Carolina keeper Akira Fitzgerald in the midsection; the rebound spilled to the middle of the area, where Fordyce had an open net. But a fantastic last-ditch sliding challenge from RailHawk and former Toronto FC defender Julius James disrupted what looked like a gimme.
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3

After “shocking” series of flights to Carolina, FC Edmonton succumbs to RailHawks

FCE's Massimo Mirabelli, with ball at his feet, tries to move it past Carolina's Breiner Ortiz.

FCE’s Massimo Mirabelli, with ball at his feet, tries to move it past Carolina’s Breiner Ortiz.

It might just have been the most one-sided one-goal game in the history of the modern NASL.

After a two-hour lightning and rain delay, the host Carolina RailHawks kicked off the fall season with a 1-0 victory over FC Edmonton. But, in truth, the game should have been a blowout by the halftime whistle. Had the Railhawks even converted on a quarter of the chances they’d created, they would have made this a no-contest.

Instead, the RailHawks needed a diving 80th-minute save from keeper Akira Fitzgerald, who denied Eddies’ striker Michael Cox after the ball fell to him in the box after a Neil Hlavaty free kick.

The Eddies didn’t get to Cary, N.C. till 3 a.m. Saturday after a series of delays.

“It was a catalogue of disasters, it was a shocking trip,” FCE coach Colin Miller said of the trip “Finally, the rain delay set it right up for us to have the kind of first half we did. But I don’t want to make excuses, we set high standards at this club.

“That wasn’t just the worst first half I’ve seen this team play, but the worst first half I’ve seen in my life. I can’t describe what I said to the team at the half.”
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3

Looking back at the NASL spring season: Did the experiment work?

Atlanta Silverbacks celebrate the NASL spring title.

Atlanta Silverbacks celebrate the NASL spring title.

The Atlanta Silverbacks now have the better part of four months to promote and sell tickets for the Soccer Bowl.

The Silverbacks — who, two weeks ago, looked unlikely to take the crown — wrapped up the title on American Independence Day. And that now allows us to take pause and evaluate the North American Soccer League’s first-ever spring season.

When the new format was announced, the reception from FC Edmonton’s fanbase was lukewarm at best. And, earlier this year, coach Colin Miller went on the record, stating he prefers a single season-and-playoff system. But he also made it clear that he didn’t speak for FC Edmonton’s organization as a whole.

In fact, even with 11 teams slated to start the season in 2014 (12 if you believe that a Calgary bid can still be expressed into NASL post-flood, 13 if Calgary is in and the Puerto Rico Islanders somehow miraculously rise from the ashes) and many more cities rumoured to be expansion-ready (including Winnipeg and a southern Ontario team), the split-season format doesn’t look to be going away any time soon. In fact, NASL commissioner Bill Peterson has repeatedly expressed that he and the owners continue to back the spring/fall season format — with the winner of the spring hosting the winner of the fall season in the Soccer Bowl — no matter how many teams the league has two or three years down the road.
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