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Are there winds of goalkeeping change blowing at FC Edmonton?


Is there a goalkeeping controversy at FC Edmonton?

The fact that Lance Parker supplanted Rein Baart — the Dutch veteran who had been FCE’s No. 1 to this point — in goal for Wednesday’s Nutrilite Canadian Championship semifinal second leg in Toronto wasn’t really a surprise. Baart had earned a red card in Sunday’s NASL match against Montreal, and will be suspended for Saturday’s match in Atlanta. So, getting Parker into the lineup, when FCE was already 3-0 down to Toronto FC after the first leg, was the right call for coach Harry Sinkgraven. He needed to get the former Chivas USA prospect some quality time ahead of the date with the Silverbacks.

But what was surprising that Baart wasn’t even dressed. Jaswinder Gill had the back-up duties last night. And the club confirmed Thursday that Baart’s absence from the starting lineup and the bench was a coach’s decision. There wasn’t an injury situation.

After three error-prone matches, did coach Sinkgraven decide the best option was to get Baart some time to collect himself away from the pitch — so he could return to the form of Edmonton’s first two games of the year, in which he was excellent? Or, is this a sign that Baart has fallen out of favour?

Baart’s list of errors hasn’t been pretty. In Carolina, he came rushing out of his area to head a ball to safety, but only succeeded in pushing it out to the RailHawks’ Nick Zimmerman, who deposited the ball back into the wide open goal. In the NCC first leg against Toronto FC, he miskicked a ball out of his own area. It went right to Maicon Santos, who sprinted in, unopposed, and scored one of the easiest goals he’ll have in his career. The fault in the 5-0 loss to Montreal wasn’t all on Baart — Sinkgraven could point his finger at anyone wearing an FCE jersey on that night and be right — but there were more miskicks, and a stunning sequence when he allowed a long punt up the field to bounce in the turf in front of him, then go over his head towards the open goal. For Baart, he was lucky the ball went inches wide. But he received a red card later in the match. We can debate whether or not there was intent on Baart’s part when he got his studs up in making a challenge on the Impact’s Luke Kreamalmeyer; but Baart was late in getting to the challenge.

Baart is the kind of keeper who likes to roam. He’ll come well out of his area to try and act as a sweeper. But, through his last three starts, he has put his teammates in some awkward spots. And, yesterday, in a game in which he was eligible to dress, he didn’t get into the squad. If Parker plays decently in Atlanta — win, lose or draw — you can’t help but get the feeling we’ll be seeing more of him.

FCE notes: The club was expected to announce the hiring of a new general manager last week. The announcement was then expected this week. Word is that we won’t get the news on the new GM until after the club returns from its road trip. It plays Saturday in Atlanta then Wednesday in Tampa. Mel Kowalchuk, Edmonton’s first GM, left the job in March to pursue other commitments .

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One Comment

  1. strobe_z

    May 5, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    Since FC Edmonton started their road trip in Toronto and will go through Atlanta and Tampa, I wonder if this was partly a decision made for economic considerations? Is there a point to flying Baart and Lemire around when they could only really play 2/3 of the games?

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