Home CONCACAF After Laing-less FCE loses to Carolina, Miller has harsh words for the Jamaica Football Federation

After Laing-less FCE loses to Carolina, Miller has harsh words for the Jamaica Football Federation


On a night when many Canadian sports fans were in ecstasy thanks to the heroics of Jose Bautista and/or Sebastian Giovinco, FC Edmonton’s supporters came to grips with the fact that the playoffs became a super long shot.

On Wednesday, the Eddies faced a Carolina RailHawks team that had been their whipping boys over the past two seasons. Emphasis on had. FCE captain Albert Watson was sent off midway through the second half, and the die was cast. The RailHawks won 2-1 thanks to a Nacho Novo goal scored late in the second half.

The Eddies are a point behind Tampa Bay for fourth spot in the NASL overall table — that spot represents the final playoff spot. But the Rowdies have three games left, the Eddies just two. And the Fort Lauderdale Strikers are tied with the Eddies, but have four games left.

Basically, the Eddies now need a ton of help. And it’s super-optimistic to think they’ll get it.

Of course, fate and the schedule maker also conspired against the Eddies. The NASL scheduled the Eddies for a midweek match on Carolina — and last Sunday’s road date against the Cosmo — during the international break. That meant the Eddies went into those games without their leading scorer and assist generator, Lance Laing, who was on duty for Jamaica. The Eddies were also without winger Sainey Nyassi (Gambia), midfielder Hanson Boakai (Canada U23) and starting centre back Mallan Roberts (hamstring injury).

Laing has now missed seven Eddies matches this season. FCE has earned just five of the potential 21 points in those games.

Roberts will undergo a fitness test in Edmonton to see if he can travel to Jacksonville and join the Eddies for their next game. Nyassi will meet the team in Jacksonville; but Laing won’t be there. He won’t be back in time from South Korea, where Jamaica played its recent friendly.

And Coach Colin Miller said he’s been very frustrated by the behaviour of the Jamaica Football Federation. He said the Eddies asked if the JFF to fly Laing directly to Jacksonville, and were refused.

“I have to say I am fairly disappointed in the Jamaican federation. Here is a player [Laing] who they take all the way to Korea for a friendly, but they know he’s suspended for the next four [World Cup qualifying] matches. And they know this will have a huge impact on his club. They have not shown any respect to the club at all. The Canadian association asked if Mallan would be available for the most recent camp [Tuesday friendly with Ghana] and they were very understanding when I said we needed him because it’s an important time for the club. Of course, that was before Mallan got injured. But it shows the difference in class between the two federations. I’m not saying Lance Laing is such a great player that we can’t play without him; no player is that good. But, the Jamaican federation needs to respect the spirit of the game.”

The game started off very poorly for the Eddies; inside of 10 minutes, the home side had a one-goal lead. Off a throw-in, somehow RailHawk Nazmi Albadawi was left alone in the penalty area. He was able to collect the ball, turn and shoot with little trouble. The fact that a man in the box would be left wide, wide open off a throw in will be a piece of video that the Eddies players won’t want to be seeing over and over.

“It’s a ridiculous goal to give up from a defensive point of view,” Miller said. “We’ve been good on set pieces most of the year, but we give up this goal on a throw-in. In the last game, we give up a goal on a corner to Raul.”

But, the Eddies got the equalizer just before halftime. Midfielder Thiago de Freitas barged towards three Carolina defenders, and the first of the three, Daniel Scott, lunged in. The referee ruled that the foul occurred inside the box, and striker Daryl Fordyce stroked home the ensuing penalty kick. Whether de Freitas was inside or outside the box when the foul was committed was up for debate; what isn’t up for debate was the rash nature of Scott’s challenge. He had plenty of back-up — there was absolutely no need to lunge in.

Both Miller and Carolina coach Colin Clarke rolled the dice in the second half. Miller brought in striker Tomi Ameobi for de Freitas, who was injured on the Scott foul. Ameobi partnered Fordyce, and Clarke brought in Novo to add to the RailHawks attack.

In the 62nd minute, the game changed. Watson, already on a yellow for an earlier late challenge on Ty Shipalane, upended Shipalane again. It was just outside the penalty area, but the foul was severe enough to earn Watson his second yellow. With the Eddies’ depleted roster due to call-ups and injuries, Watson was the one player they could not afford to lose.

“I can’t argue the decision,” said Miller. “They were both bookable offences. No complaints.”

And the RailHawks knocked and knocked. A Novo drive struck the crossbar. Steven Miller fired just wide.

Finally, with less than 10 minutes to go, Novo got behind the makeshift back line and, even though he whiffed on the shot, he placed it well enough to nurse it over the goal line.

And while the majority of Canadian sports fans will be toasting their heroes, Eddies fans will be crying in their beer. It just hurts that much more when everyone around you is overjoyed.

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  1. john anderson

    October 17, 2015 at 5:44 pm

    I would like to add CM is not player friendly coach which is fine but Antonio Rago retired from soccer instead of playing for Miller, guys like horace james n bet navarro have choose to player in lesser leagues than the nasl. He plays Amoebi out of position as left back is best spot on the backline not centerback. Most of Miller’S nasl signings are ex-silverback players. Miller-coached teams don’t pass the ball well, i don’t why. Why does Franke Jonke make the starting 18 and often no other center backs are on the bench (aleskic). The kid is ever going to develop if he doesn’t see any minutes. He can defintely come on when watson is carrying a yellow. Just some things I noticed.

  2. John Anderson

    October 15, 2015 at 7:05 pm

    A few big criticisms of CM are the 1. The handling of Paul Hamilton & Shaun Saiko, Michael Cox. They have the talent to play in the NASL and contribute to a championship team. They would both add to the depth of the club. Cox is better than Jonke so why not bring him back. 2. I feel there has been a lack of Canadian trialists & players signed and brought during the off-season. 3. The development of Sadi Jalali vs Kianz Froese on the Whitecaps.. Kianz is a national-team member and pays on a first-place MLS team while Sadi’s development has stalled.. At one point when both players were 16 and training with fced before moving to Germany they were at the same level .. The difference between the two players must be the opportunity to play by the first-team coach. 4. Why does Johann Smith start??? Does anyone know? The middle of the park is where fce’s teams coached by miller seem to lose the games and this hasn’t been addressed

    • Nathan

      October 16, 2015 at 8:42 am

      AH! Someone who can rationally put together a discussion about Miller!!!

      1) There’s substantial differences between the handling of Hamilton vs Saiko IMO. Without first hand knowledge, Paul was treated much better, and the club (Miller included) actively helped him find a place to land. I’m not convinced that any of those players mentioned would be at a championship quality in 2015’s NASL, as they struggled in 2011/12/13 NASL. Just my opinion though.
      2) I’m always confused when people say there’s a lack of Canadian (and Edmonton) players and trailists. Roberts is a PRIME example of a local player who has been developed by Miller and Paulus to the point where he regularly in the discussion for the Men’s National team. That alone is impressive. The Zebie’s (yes both of them) have shown that they will be significant players VERY soon. Then there’s Candian’s like Edward and Farago who are either getting regular minutes, or are RIGHT behind the starters. The recent poor form alone should be enough to show Roberts’ importance to the squad.
      3) Can’t really speak to this one as I somewhat agree. Jalali did VERY well when given minutes this season IMO. I think it was rather obvious that there was some attitude that he has only recently matured out of (which I’m excited to see in him). Don’t know that saying that players at the same level at 16 means that the coaching staff is to blame for differences in 20’s though. MANY more factors than just that.
      4) Smith Doesn’t usually play in the middle of the park… He’s regularly a winger on defense, and plays very similar to Alan Zebie IMO, sneaking up the wings. I’ve also thought that he’s made massive strides this year. Not the massive black hole he was in the first games, but not crazy impressive either. Seems a common refrain for FCEd fans to blame him, but I disagree.

      Cheers mate! Always good to have an ACTUAL factual conversation about the club and how they can improve, rather than “MILLER SUCKS! CLUB IS FOLDING!” (BTW: Corea’s signing for 2 more years yesterday SHOULD put a stop to that).

  3. left back

    October 15, 2015 at 11:51 am

    Thanks Steve…. ya…. i am glad too hear he is good with the media…. i have met CM a few times and know he is a passionate coach and nice person…. i have no problem with him… the problem i do have is that he comes up with some strange quotes… he does give candid answers to questions… but maybe he should re think how he communicates…

    In the economic market you don’t want to hear of anyone losing their job and i wish the best for him and the club…. my problems with the way he runs things have been simple…

    The Paul Hamilton’s and Shaun Saiko’s of the club have been cast aside… and i really don’t like the way he handled either player… the local players have had a rough ride from CM…

    And really…. who is the face of the franchise? Who is the poster boy? How do you market a team in Edmonton without a strong local flavour? I think from a pure marketing standpoint some players have to be kept around just to fill the seats at Clarke…. because honestly… if you are going to finish 8th every year anyway…. you might as well do it showcasing local talent and building Edmonton soccer… obviously the Chris Raudales’s of the world and Thomas Granitto are not getting the job done so… what does it really matter?

    Honestly…. i would rather the team be full of the best talent in Alberta than full of these so called ‘names’….. i think a lot of people in Edmonton feel the same way.

    Anyway… thanks Steve.. Good luck to CM and to you on the new book… Coach ?… i was listening to you on CBC but forgot the full name of the young adult novel… sounds like a good read though 😉

  4. left back

    October 15, 2015 at 10:03 am

    I think the Honeymoon period for CM is officially over… he has been in charge long enough to put his stamp on this team. Actually, i do like some of the signings he has made in the past 3 months. He has brought in some veteran nasl guys and those players have a lot of skill as well…. something FCE was desperately lacking….

    I have been critical of CM in the past… he is horrible with the media… the quotes he makes are so silly… he wears his heart on his sleeve…. maybe that is why it sounds so silly but… he often points the finger at everyone and everything around him… as head coach… ultimately he has to point that finger at himself….

    The results are not good…. and he has to take full responsibility for that. It will be an interesting off season for the club and the number one question everyone will be asking is…. is this the last season for the club? WIll Fath pull the pin? Let’s hope not…. but maybe the club do need to move in a different direction….?

    CM lack of success is compounded by Ottawa making the playoffs and doing really well so quickly… must hurt CM to see another Canadian club do what he wants to do….. ;-(

    • Steven Sandor

      October 15, 2015 at 10:30 am

      Left back, as a media veteran, I can say that we LOVE people who wear their hearts on the sleeve. I’ve had many conversations with fellow media members about CM and the feeling is that he is great with us. He’s honest, he doesn’t give canned answer. What’s awful for the media is the canned “we take it one game at a time” “we gave it 110 per cent” quote.

      Also, remember that I speak to Colin about 15 minutes after each game. The sting of the loss is still there. Remember that Christine Sinclair didn’t hold her tongue when she was interviewed after that infamous Canada-U.S. match. The nature of the business puts coaches and players in some pretty raw, emotional situations, where they are asked to speak right after a very high high or a very low low.

  5. footballfan

    October 15, 2015 at 9:20 am

    Jamonty, check the results since Miller has been hired

    Spring 2013-5th out of 7th
    Fall 2013-6th out of 8th
    2014-6th out of 10th (combined standings)
    Spring 2015- 10th out of 11th

    Fall 2015 is yet to be determined but having played 28 games while some teams are still at 26 games the results table does not look good.

    Are you telling me those results above are great? No, they are brutal!!! Whenever, Miller wins some games, everybody pats themselves on the backs. However, the crucial word here is “consistency.” Just because you have some nice wins during the middle of the season means nothing.

    And come on, Miller will always find excuses. When he eventually gets let go or the team folds, I am sure he will be thinking to himself:

    “damn refs made me lose.”
    “damn Jamaican federation made me lose.”
    “damn travel schedule made me lose.”
    etc etc etc etc etc etc

    BTW, all those excuses have been used before.

    Only coaches that have won titles can run their mouths and he hasn’t won squat.

    In the words of some great North American poets ,”numbers don’t lie.”

    MILLER-KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT. You have a professional sports team at your disposal, if you don’t have Laing, pick somebody else from your roster. Work with what you have.

    The organization is kind of a joke but has a cult following with a few hundred, nothing wrong with that. It is what it is.

    That is all Jamonty, carry on.

    • Nathan

      October 15, 2015 at 10:23 am

      Funny that you’ve avoided talking about the V Cup games in this. Taking Montreal and Vancouver to the limit in consecutive years doesn’t count for anything eh?

      And I’m not sure where the excuse here is. Would Laing have helped? Yes. Is the JFF preventing FCEd from having a player back in time for an important game? Yes. Not sure where the “excuse” is there. Miller even states (in this article I should mention, don’t think you would have talked to him to hear the full statement) that the ref got it right on Watson’s cards. No excuse or blame there…

      Fans in Edmonton (or at least those that post here) seem to have this hard on for hate against Miller. Is there anything wrong with an exciting Mid-table club? Not in my books. The last few weeks have made it heartbreaking, but exciting to watch not only FCEd but also the rest of the league. Would it be awesome if FCEd made the playoffs? Sure, but it wouldn’t do much for the club’s awareness in Edmonton, since the club would be playing away for those games.

      IMO most commentators (pro and anti Miller alike), need to take a deep breath and focus on enjoying the club, the sport and getting more people out to enjoy this.

  6. Kahkakew Yawassanay

    October 14, 2015 at 8:26 pm

    Knew Milller would find yet another excuse for FCE’s ongoing futility when it matters…at the end of the season, their typical lousy spring season, small roster and inability to win when it matters is AGAIN their undoing and Miller is the common denominator….He just cannot win at anything above the PDL

    • jamonty42

      October 14, 2015 at 11:41 pm

      Where have you been, Kahkakew? When the Eddies were winning the internet (or at least this site) was absent of your bitter and pessimistic commentary… Did you have a nice holiday perhaps? No, why would you do that. Nevermind, carry on.

    • Kahkakew Yawassanay

      October 22, 2015 at 2:40 pm

      Nice of you to miss me, I was busy watching real football from Europe….not this semi pro crap played on plastic turf…but to catch you up, I feel FCE may be too limited by their inability to financially develop the club in terms of a larger roster size, attracting higher quality of players, coaches, trainers and managers, along with high costs of travel associated with the NASL…It would be great if the NASL quickly expanded in the west so more divisional play was favored and scheduling actually was not a hindrance to FCE’s paltry crew…but alas I am a dreamer and know they will most likely flop again in the spring season and fall just short again for 4th place overall in the fall campaign…

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