Home NASL & USL FC Edmonton Beating Eddies is snow problem for the Fort Lauderdale Strikers

Beating Eddies is snow problem for the Fort Lauderdale Strikers


It was a battle of FC Edmonton’s rotated squad against a Fort Lauderdale Strikers team that didn’t get to the Alberta capital till 2 a.m. Saturday morning.

But despite playing in snow and freezing temperatures, the jet-lagged Strikers won 3-1 Saturday night at Clarke Stadium. FCE is now winless in four NASL matches this season, and is already 11 points back of spring-season table-topper, Minnesota United FC.

FCE’s dreadful night was punctuated by having to see teenage forward Sadi Jalali taken off a stretcher and sent to hospital, after a head-to-head clash with former Eddie Chris Nurse.

Nurse was yellow carded in the first half for a foul that sent Jalali crashing into the fence just outside the touch line. At the 93 minute mark, his forehead crashed into Jalali’s temple, sending the Edmonton teen crashing to the turf. After the game, Nurse sported a massive goose egg over his eye.

“There was no intent to hurt him,” said Nurse. “Sadi is one of my best friends. I talk to him all the time, even though we are on different teams, now.”

FCE coach Colin Miller wasn’t convinced.

“That was probably his ninth foul of the game. We hope the kid is OK. What happened? I’m not surprised at all. We had him (Nurse) here last season. We decided to let him go for a reason.”

Nurse didn’t want to gloat after the game. He said he wanted to leave the past in the past.

“Edmonton is a very good defensive team.” said Nurse. “To come here and get three goals here is a big achievement. We want to show people that we have a very good team. We think a lot of people have underestimated us.”

One thing that can’t be debated was that this was FCE’s worst effort of the season. Coming off a 3-1 win Wednesday over Ottawa in the Amway Canadian Championship, and first leg of the ACC semi-final against Montreal slated for this Wednesday, Miller decided to rotate his squad. Forward Daryl Fordyce, who scored twice against the Fury, was dropped to the bench. So was teenager Hanson Boakai, who had a goal and two assists Wednesday. Striker Frank Jonke and defender Marko Aleksic were also left off the starting XI.

Mike Banner, recovered from a hamstring problem, got the start on the left side, while central defender Mallan Roberts returned to the lineup after an injury spell. Tomi Ameobi and Jalali got the starts in the advanced positions.

But, FCE had a massive weather advantage. Snow flurries began to fall just minutes after the kickoff, and the game was played in blustery winter conditions — in May — as Edmonton dealt with conditions at about the freezing mark, just about 16 C below the normal temps for early May.

The Strikers felt their way into the game, dealing with the conditions and the slick turf — and the Eddies got a couple of early chances. Veteran keeper Oka Nikolov beat back an effort from Jalali, then cradled a shot from distance taken by fullback Edson Edward.

But the Eddies spotted the Strikers the advantage before halftime. Mark Anderson shook off a challenge from FCE’s Ritchie Jones and slotted a defence-splitting pass to Martin Nunez. Keeper John Smits made a good save, but the rebound went to Striker Fafa Picault, who was left wide open in the area. He then slotted a ball back to Nunez, who was also open despite having the first chance. Nunez roofed the second chance.

“I’m not surprised that we’ve given up such a poor goal, considering our attitude in the back at times,” Miller said.

Nunez, like Nurse, has FCE baggage. He was with the Eddies in camp back in 2013, and was cut before the season.

Miller brought in Fordyce and Boakai for the second half, but the Strikers were able to increase the lead. Darnell King laid a clever header into the box, just out of reach of defender Albert Watson. Smits was slow to come for it off his line, and Picault beat the keeper to the ball, smashing a low drive off the post and in.

The Eddies were able to claw one back. Boakai laid in a cross that Ameobi headed to the middle of the area. Fordyce got to it and, with his back to goal, cheekily backheeled it into the goal.

It was just the Eddies’ second regular-season tally of 2014.

But, the Eddies’ challenge was undone by some diabolical play in their own end. A giveaway by Jones allowed the Strikers to get into the final third and, eventually, Watson was sent off for blocking an Anderson shot with his arm.

You can debate whether or not Watson deserved to be sent off, as he didn’t know much about the shot. But what can’t be debated is that Anderson’s shot should never have come in the first place. Seconds before the ball was fed to Anderson, Nunez was dangling along the end line, with his back to goal, surrounded by blue shirts. But, somehow, he was allowed to turn and get the ball to Anderson.

Anderson, in turn, buried the penalty.

“It’s as poor as we’ve defended for a long time,” admitted Miller.


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  1. left back

    May 6, 2014 at 6:06 pm

    I was looking at the FCE teams from the last 3 years… I was amazed to find that only Lance Parker is an original member of the 2011 first year EFC team to play in 2014. The turnover from 2012 was 23 players… Smits and Parker are the surviving members. So…. CM has changed the whole team. Every player that was on board before his arrival is gone… outside of two keepers. That is unbelievable. How can you expect Edmontonians to support a club that is a revolving door? Can you tell me that every player before CM came in was not worthy of staying with the club? Does that mean Sinkgarven and D. Lodeweges are really poor judges of footballing talent? Or does that allude to massive insecurity as CM as a coach… you really have to wonder.

    I keep on blogging that I don’t think CM understands the league and his players. My biggest problem is he hasn’t gone local… (please don’t get me started on 4 17-year-old players who rarely play) and he goes for players that are on the downswing of their careers. Jones, Ameobi, Blanco… why would you consider signing them? They are on their way out of football. Why not take a kid who is 23… just out of college and want to make a name for himself…. instead of players who have slowly drifted down the divisions until they end up in Edmonton because there is nothing left….? I don’t understand why CM thinks these are good signings.

    Anyway… he has dug himself this hole. I question his mentality toward playing a passing game that will allow the team to score… I also question his policy toward not making Saiko or Hamilton a face local kids and supporters can get behind. Honestly… who cares about a guy who once was a part of Man U… then has been moved on from every team after that until he can’t get a contract anywhere else… hence he is in Edmonton? CM has to give back to the city that pays his wages. Giving him the keys to this project has been a disaster for our local players. You can’t tell me John Pegg would not be better than R.Jones in the middle of the park… but CM doesn’t know who Pegg is so… that tells you everything. Pegg… a local kid who was very good in the best American Uni’s… and would love to play for the city and local fans.

    I want this team to succeed but…. 800 people at the last game and bottom of the league again….. I hope we aren’t seeing the FCE in its last season……????

    • Steven Sandor

      May 6, 2014 at 8:34 pm

      To be fair, while attendance was sparse at the match against Fort Lauderdale, weather had a lot to do with it. The team said it had nearly 3,000 tickets sold for that game. But, no show or not, the money for unused tickets still go to the team. The problems with no-shows is that (obviously) they don’t spend on parking, concessions, souvenirs, etc.

  2. Footballl

    May 5, 2014 at 12:57 pm

    The strategy played by FC Edmonton amazed me. They kept feeding the ball from the wings into the middle of the box, where the center back (#33) from the strikers would win, 99% of the balls in the area. FC Edmonton played exactly the game that the strikers wanted.

  3. left back

    May 4, 2014 at 2:40 pm

    Another poor outing for FCE. I don’t have a problem with CM rotating his squad but he still is not addressing the problems the team has with scoring. They have good target players but the players from the back can’t deliver a ball…. the distribution is laughable. Some of the balls played up front… literally… came down with snow on it… as a striker… how do you deal with that. There is no mystery why they can’t score goals…. the build up play is shocking…. and they can’t get into good areas. Really questioning R. Jones as well. He had a nightmare yesterday. Hard to pick out a player that did play well… thought Boakai showed flashes of good play and they actually look dangerous when he is on the ball… outside that… Smits in net was questionable…

    On concern… the ‘Sping Season’ I guess is over for FCE… and if it is a combination of points from both seasons that qualifies for playoffs… we may be out of that as well… barring a massive turn around in the Fall… not looking good right now for CM and staff… at what point does Fath pull the rug on CM?… must be in his thoughts… we play the worst brand of football in the league… can’t score goals and don’t have an established local player for anyone to get excited about… somehow… CM has managed to dig himself a massive hole… I am glad I didn’t read excuses for this loss… I think CM knew they were brutal last night.. he has changed the team so much in the short time he has been here… really can’t say for the better… if he gets fired… he can only blame himself.

  4. footy

    May 4, 2014 at 10:58 am

    Have you ever heard of through the good times and the bad? You must be the lousiest fan ever.

    It’s sports. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose and very often you tie. That was a bad game without a lot of regulars (did you even notice that?)

    I don’t know if you actually watched the game, but that challenge from Nurse on Jalali was ridiculous and what about a red card for a Watson-handball he didn’t even see coming?

    But you will never be satisfied anyway. First it was goals, then they scored 3 but it was only “one game.” Then it was Miller talking about refs. Miller was very clear that this was a poor performance and didn’t mention the ref (allthough there were good reasons why he could have). The only way you can be satisfied is when FCE wins every game 5-0. That won’t happen.

  5. Soccerfan

    May 4, 2014 at 6:03 am

    @footy, where you at ? The win against Ottawa was just one game. The 2014 season is proving once again that Miller will use anything for an excuse and has no idea to coach. I am sure his grind it out approach works on FIFA 14 but not at the professional level. Last place with one point!!! Sounds about right. @footy, let me guess, it was the refs or nurse that made FC Edmonton not score enough goals and loose the game. Pathetic, Pathetic, Pathetic, they couldn’t even take advantage with being at home and the weather being a pain in the butt. FC Edmonton blows!!!! Typical, an owner and GM that don’t know a lick about the beautiful game and a head coach that has alienated the whole soccer community in Edmonton. Montreal is going to stomp us!!!!

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