NASL Archive

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It’s a six-pointer: NASL post-season race heats up as Strikers face FCE on Sunday

From earlier this season: Fort Lauderdale's Chris Nurse, left, shields the ball from FCE's Neil Hlavaty PHOTO: TONY LEWIS/FC EDMONTON

From earlier this season: Fort Lauderdale’s Chris Nurse, left, shields the ball from FCE’s Neil Hlavaty PHOTO: TONY LEWIS/FC EDMONTON

After several years of frustration, it must be awfully nice for FC Edmonton and its supporters to look forward to a real, legitimate six-pointer.

The Eddies, who have scored eight times over the last four games — three of them on the road — are now just six points behind the Fort Lauderdale Strikers and Tampa Bay Rowdies, who are tied for fourth spot on the NASL combined spring/fall table. That fourth spot represents the final playoff spot in the league.

If the Eddies can beat the Strikers on Sunday, they’ll close the gap between the teams to three points. Meanwhile, the Rowdies play the Carolina RailHawks (who are just four points ahead of the Eddies) on Saturday.

“The guys know what a big game it is already, and we’re trying to take some of the pressure off of them this week in training,” said coach Colin Miller after the team’s training session in Clareview on Thursday. “The guys know the significance of the result. I would settle for a sub-standard performance if we get the three points. At this point of the season, it’s about getting three points. We’re capable of doing it.”
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3

Eddies get last-gasp win in Carolina, as post-season race gets so much tighter

FCE's Neil Hlavaty, left, takes on Carolina's Zack Schilawski. PHOTO: Rob Kinnan-Carolina Railhawks

FCE’s Neil Hlavaty, left, takes on Carolina’s Zack Schilawski. PHOTO: Rob Kinnan-Carolina Railhawks

Far too often in FC Edmonton’s history, we’ve seen a controversial call go against the Eddies and the team hasn’t been able to get off the deck. Controversial red cards, penalties, goal decisions.

But, on Saturday, the Eddies rewrote the script. After a controversial penalty call against Edson Edward allowed the RailHawks to tie the game 2-2 on a Zack Schilwaki spot kick, the Eddies didn’t accept that things weren’t simply going to go their way. Instead, they pressed the RailHawks late into the game and into stoppage time.

And, in the fourth minute of five added minutes, Eddies’ substitute Horace James earned a penalty kick after he was ruled to have been tripped as he cut across the top of the box. Neil Hlavaty took — and converted — the last-gasp penalty. Keeper Akira Fitzgerald got a hand to it, but Hlavaty’s penalty had too much power behind it.

The final: 3-2 Eddies. And, with that, the Eddies finish their toughest road trip of the season at 1-1-1, with a draw against the Cosmos, a 3-2 loss away to league powerhouse Minnesota United, and win in Carolina.

With the win, the Eddies now pull within six points of the Tampa Bay Rowdies and the Fort Lauderdale Strikers, who are tied for the fourth and final playoff spot in the NASL. The Eddies have both home and away games remaining against each of those teams. So, the Eddies can actually say they control their destiny; beat those teams and it’s a horse race for post-season spots.
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1

Don’t mention the score: FCE doesn’t speak of six-goal outburst against Carolina

FCE's Daryl Fordyce had a field day last time the Eddies met Carolina; but injury will prevent him from making the trip this weekend.

FCE’s Daryl Fordyce had a field day last time the Eddies met Carolina; but injury will prevent him from making the trip this weekend.

It was the final day of the NASL spring season, and FC Edmonton’s offence erupted on a Carolina RailHawks team that had more holes in it than Sharknado’s plot. The Eddies got a 6-1 win; it just might have been the most lopsided triumph in FCE franchise history.

So, when the two teams meet this weekend in North Carolina, are the Eddies looking back to the 6-1 win for inspiration? Absolutely not, says coach Colin Miller. He understands that a 6-1 result is a “freak result in professional football.”

And, on Saturday, the RailHawks will be at home, where they are usually a far different team than the one that travels. You can’t find a more Jekyll-and-Hyde team in NASL than the Carolina RailHawks, when it comes to home and road success. Five of their six wins (combined spring and fall) have come at home. When they are on the golf-green surface in Cary, N.C., there is no comparing them to the team that gets on the airplane.

“We don’t even bring it (the 6-1 game) up,” said Miller. “We have got to be prepared to face a Carolina team that is much better at home, even though recent results have shown they are not invincible at home.”
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0

Canadian teens Roserie and Arora crack Jacksonville Armada’s developmental roster

Chaim Roserie

Chaim Roserie

The Jacksonville Armada begins play as an NASL expansion team in 2015. But, on Wednesday, the team announced its 25-man developmental roster as it looks ahead to next season — and two Canadian teens are on it.

Seventeen-year-old Uday Arora and 15-year-old Chaim Roserie are the two youngest players on the Armada developmental squad’s roster — and both are from the Toronto area. Most of the players on the Armada’s developmental roster are in their mid-20s, and one is as old as 28.

Roserie hails from Mississauga, and has played for the West Toronto Cobras and Mississauga Falcons. On the roster, the Armada has him listed as a U.S. national, though Roserie has played his entire youth career in Canada and attends St. Joan of Arc Catholic Secondary School in Mississauga. Roserie already has his own official website, which you can access HERE.

Arora has played for the ANB Futbol Academy, based out of King City, Ont. He’s an attacking midfielder.
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1

Did it go in or not? Minnesota/FCE game hinged on this call

Image1The scene: Midway through the second half of Saturday night’s game between Minnesota United FC and FC Edmonton. The Loons have just taken a 2-1 lead over the Eddies on a goal from Daniel Mendes.

FCE right back Edson Edward goes up the wing, and tries a cross. Minnesota central defender Thiago Calvano tries to chest it down, but makes a mess of it. The ball skips off his chest and towards the Minnesota goal. He and keeper Mitch Hildebrandt scramble for the ball. Hildebrandt reaches out as Thiago gets onto the goal line and boots the ball away.

Minnesota then goes down the field and scores what would stand as the winning goal. Mendes smashes home a feed from Miguel Ibarra, and makes the score 3-1. The Eddies would score on a Neil Hlavaty 78th-minute penalty after Hildebrandt was sent off for taking down striker Frank Jonke in the box. But, despite a late effort from Chad Burt that goes off the crossbar, it’s as close as the Eddies will come. A 3-2 loss.

But, rewind to the match-altering moment. Was the Calvano near-own-goal actually an own goal that was missed by the linesmen? Still shots taken from the feed look to show the ball crossing the line. We can argue if it’s conclusive or not.
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2

FCE survives penalty kick, red card: Earns draw with Cosmos

FC Edmonton's Albert Watson, foreground, keeps the ball from New York's Hans Denissen.

FC Edmonton’s Albert Watson, foreground, keeps the ball from New York’s Hans Denissen.

When he finally decided to hang up his cleats, Marcos Senna will look back on a career filled with international glory in a Spain shirt, La Liga greatness in his time with Villarreal, and an NASL championship with the New York Cosmos.

What he won’t want to remember is his botched penalty-kick attempt against FC Edmonton Wednesday night.

After FCE keeper John Smits was called for bringing down New York’s Jemal Johnson, Senna stepped to the penalty spot early in the second half and, after a stutter-step, blasted a penalty kick sky high into the Long Island night.

And, FCE would go on to survive some late Cosmos pressure and controversial officiating to get a 0-0 draw on the road, bringing the Eddies to five points in five games in the NASL fall season.
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1

Numbers game: San Antonio terminates the contract of Canadian Shaun Saiko

Shaun Saiko

Shaun Saiko

Maybe if Canadians were treated as domestics on both sides of the border, it would not have come to this.

But, to make room for Costa Rican international Cesar Elizondo, Canadian midfielder Shaun Saiko was released from his contract by the San Antonio Scorpions on Tuesday.

Saiko has suffered through an injury-plagued season. He had to have surgery to deal with a double hernia. Since returning to active duty, he’s been used exclusively off the bench by coach Alen Marcina. He made just six appearances this season, with one goal.

“We wish Shaun all the best as he has been a consummate professional on and off the field for the Scorpions,” Scorpions General Manager Howard Cornfield was quoted in a release from the club.
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4

FCE dominates NASL-leading Scorpions

Horace James scores the opening goal after a howler from Scorpions' keeper Josh Saunders.

Horace James scores the opening goal after a howler from Scorpions’ keeper Josh Saunders. PHOTO: FC EDMONTON/TONY LEWIS

The San Antonio Scorpions came into Sunday’s game with FC Edmonton sporting a 6-0-0 road record in 2014. The Scorpions had a perfect 4-0-0 record in the NASL fall season. The Eddies had just one home win all season, and were winless and goalless in three previous NASL fall-season matches.

Of course, the Eddies would win handily, beating the Scorpions 3-1 and allowing only one shot on goal all game long — a first-half penalty-kick from Eric Hassli. From open play, the Scorpions didn’t generate a single shot on goal.

Funny game, this soccer.

“They are the best team in the league, record wise, but we matched them,” said FCE winger Lance Laing, who set up two goals.

And Laing said the goals and the victory helped ease what has been a frustrating start to the fall season. The Eddies now have four points from four matches, and now clear out of town as Edmonton is one of the host cities for U-20 Women’s World Cup.

“We love it here,” said Laing. “We hope we can give the fans what they deserve.”
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Saiko, Cann and Marcina: San Antonio Scorpions have a very Canadian feel

Shaun Saiko, in green, trains with the Scorpions, Saturday.

Shaun Saiko, in green, trains with the Scorpions, Saturday.

The San Antonio Scorpions media guide doesn’t use -our in words like colour. They don’t use the metric system in that part of Texas.

But, there’s no mistaking the Canadian content on this team, which sits at the top of the NASL fall-season table and boasts the best overall spring-fall record in the league. If the season ended today, the Scorpions would have home field advantage throughout the NASL playoffs, er. championship tournament. (Remember, we’re not supposed to call them “playoffs.”)

Coach Alen Marcina is a former Whitecap who hails from Surrey, B.C. Former Toronto FC player of the year Adrian Cann is on the roster. And, of course, Shaun Saiko, FC Edmonton’s all-time leading scorer, is also with the team. All three were in suburban Spruce Grove Saturday evening, as the Scorpions prepared to take on the Eddies. That game goes Sunday at Clarke Stadium.

Saiko has not started a game for the Scorpions since returning to the lineup after he underwent surgery for a double hernia. For six weeks, he was feeling pain and pressure before getting the double-hernia diagnosis. He doesn’t know if he’ll get a chance to play on Sunday, though we all know he’s dying to get a shot to play in front of his friends and family.

“It’s exciting times to get to play in front of the fans I played in front of for four years, almost. It’s fun to see them and play in front of them,” said Saiko.
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10

Will Shaun Saiko return to Edmonton this weekend? Colin Miller says “I couldn’t care less”

Shaun Saiko

Shaun Saiko

After an injury-filled spring NASL season, Canadian midfielder Shaun Saiko is healthy again.

Now, the question: Will he be with the San Antonio Scorpions when the team travels to Edmonton for this Sunday’s date with FC Edmonton? Will FC Edmonton’s all-time leading scorer, now a member of the Scorpions, get the chance to return home and play against his former team?

If there is any Saiko-mania this weekend, FCE coach Colin Miller won’t hear of it.

“I couldn’t care less about Shaun Saiko anymore. We don’t pay his wages anymore. He left our club and it’s history. I have no interest in San Antonio or Shaun Saiko. I’m interested in the guys that are here. This is how I feel. These are our players, the club has moved on, the club is evolving and we’re in a good place. Unfortunately, we’re where we are in the league, but progress is being made.”

FCE hasn’t scored yet this fall season, and has one point from three games. The Scorpions have played four times, and won all of those matches. They are already 11 points ahead of the Eddies in the standings.
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