Home NASL & USL FC Edmonton Arguez strike gets FCE a point in Minnesota, but Eddies needed three

Arguez strike gets FCE a point in Minnesota, but Eddies needed three

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FC Edmonton needed a win. But, the Eddies had to settle for a draw with the Minnesota Stars. A spectacular drive from the boot of Bryan Arguez gave the Eddies a point on the road in Blaine, Minn., cancelling out Cristiano Dias’s opener.

“The ball came to me, I saw Kyle (Porter) to my left, hesitated and faked like I was going to pass to him, but I knew I was going to take the shot,” said Arguez. “I took the shot and BOOM! it found the top corner.”

But, despite a series of close-range chances in the dying minutes of the match, the Eddies could not find the winning goal. The draw means that FC Edmonton remains seven points behind the Stars for the last playoff spot. Both teams have five games remaining. And, the Eddies have to go back to Minnesota in couple of weeks.

The Carolina RailHawks beat Atlanta Saturday, and now lead the Eddies by nine points. As the RailHawks also have a game in hand, they have to be considered uncatchable, even if they do have some tough dates left against the top three teams in the league. And, with just five games left on the sked, making up seven points on Minnesota falls close to being “miracle” territory.

Well, Arguez doesn’t think so.

“I am disappointed we got the draw, and not the win,” said Arguez. “I felt that we could have got the win. But, at the same time, we kept Minnesota from getting the three points and we kept ourselves in the playoff race. We still have another game, and four games left at home. We can still make our goal, of making the playoffs.”

The Eddies, without leading scorer Shaun Saiko for the second consecutive match, didn’t start well. Minnesota bossed the possession and kept things tight at the back, never bringing forward too many players. The Stars were happy not to create an opening for the Eddies. And, before the game was 20 minutes old, the Stars had the lead. Amani Walker, the striker giant who, for the past two seasons, has caused nightmares for the Edmonton backline, won the ball and held it up — then laid off the ball for Dias to finish.

Walker could have made it 2-0 before the break, but a close-in chance found the side netting.

And, early in the second half, the Stars had another great chance, but Eddies keeper Lance Parker came out and took away the angle from Miguel Ibarra, who may have taken the ball too far away from goal with his first touch — reducing his shooting angle — after it looked as if he was free and clear.

FCE’s Paul Hamilton, dives in on Minnesota’s Justin Davis

But Arguez brought the Eddies into the game in the 74th minute; his rocket of a shot found the top corner of the goal from just outside the box. It seems as if the Eddies only know how to score spectacular goals — as, for the third game in a row, the Eddies found the net with a wonder strike, but had no tap-ins, gimmes or greasy goals.

Arguez pounced on a loose ball after striker Yashir Pinto had been caught lingering on the ball in the penalty area, and Stars defender Kyle Altman came in with a sliding challenge. The ball was dislodged but came to Arguez, who was again FCE’s man of the match, which has come to be a common occurrence since he arrived on loan from the Montreal Impact.

Ironically, Arguez admitted to feeling fatigued in the second half. He has been a fixture for the Eddies since he arrived on loan from Montreal. But, remember that he hardly played — even in reserve matches — during his MLS tenure with Montreal. So he came in with not a lot of action under his belt.

“I have to admit, in the second half, I felt a bit tired. I haven’t had the time to work on my fitness. Some of my play in the second half wasn’t what I’d normally do, because I was a bit tired. But, with points being as delicate as they are right now, I have to push through it.”

Maybe the most remarkable thing about the final 20 minutes of the match — after Arguez had scored the equalizer — was that there wasn’t another goal in this game. The Arguez equalizer ushered in an end-to-end finale to the match, as both teams attacked in numbers looking for a winner. The Stars wanted to end the Eddies quest for a playoff spot, while FCE tried to keep their playoff hopes alive. It was enthralling stuff. Kenny Caceros had a great chance to fire the Eddies into the lead. but his drive from inside the area went wide. Then Serisay Barthelemy put a shot right at Minnesota keeper Matt VanOekel after the ball was squared into the Minnesota penalty area by FCE fullback Antonio Rago, who had made a swashbuckling overlapping run.

But Minnesota also had chances. Justin Davis blasted high from inside the area when it looked like it would be easier to score. And, after catching Parker out of goal, pushed a shot from a bad angle just off the outside of the post. It was a wild finish. But, for the Eddies, who desperately needed three points, maybe not wild enough.

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