Home NASL & USL FC Edmonton Antoniuk scores as FC Edmonton ties University of New Mexico

Antoniuk scores as FC Edmonton ties University of New Mexico

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Dan Antoniuk’s continued his impressive audition for a spot on the FC Edmonton roster. The striker scored the opening goal Thursday in the new NASL team’s 1-1 draw with the University of New Mexico in a friendly in Arizona.

Antoniuk, who played for the Montreal Impact in 2006, is a veteran of Div. 2 soccer in North America, and plays for the indoor San Diego Sockers, the favourites to take the Professional Arena Soccer League tourney title in Cincinnati this weekend.

Antoniuk converted a cross from trialist Will Beauge, the 2008 Canadian College player of the year after a standout season with Algonquin College. He scored 13 times in 11 games that season.

Antoniuk played a solid second half in the preseason-opening 3-0 loss to FC Dallas on Monday.

The Lobos’ Carson Baldinger tied the game in the 79th minute off a corner, beating Lance Parker, who just signed to become the third goalie on FC Edmonton’s roster. Parker spent time in MLS with Chivas USA.

FC Edmonton coach Harry Sinkgraven used the same 10 outfield players for the entire match — most of them trialists or players expected to be squad players in 2011. He used keeper Jaswinder Gill in the first half and Parker in the second — the only substitution he made all game long.

“We’ve been training indoors all winter,” said FCE assistant Dave Randall. “We need to get used to the big field, to make big passes. Because, after we go back (to Edmonton), we likely have to back indoors to train.

“There were portions of the game where we played very well, but parts of the game where we played very poorly… we didn’t dominate midfield like we should have done.”

Also in the FCE lineup was trialist Shaun Pejic, who played for Wrexham before coming across the Atlantic Ocean. The veteran may be best remembered by Vancouver Whitecaps fans for an unfortunate own goal in the 2009 USL championship against the Montreal Impact.

Randall praised the work of Alberta-native fullbacks Antonio Rago and Niko Saler, who linked well with the midfielders and created some problems for the UNM with their overlapping runs. But Randall had a lot of praise for the UNM, which has made it to the NCAA playoffs eight of the last 10 seasons.

“Of all the teams we played in 2010, they were better than all of them, except for Colo Colo and Portsmouth. They had a couple of players we would be interested in when they have graduated.”

FCE faces the UNM again Saturday morning, and is expected to play most of its projected starters.

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