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Eddies hope for help from the Puerto Rico Islanders

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Before FC Edmonton trained on Tuesday, midfielder Kenny Caceros called his buddy, Edson Edward, to wish him luck.

Caceros and Edward grew up playing soccer together in Ottawa. So, it’s not unusual for Caceros to talk to Edward, who plays for the Puerto Rico Islanders. But this call may have had a little more significance than other good-luck calls made between the two friends.

That’s because if Puerto Rico does not beat the Minnesota Stars Tuesday night, FC Edmonton will be eliminated from the NASL playoff race. If the Stars, who are on a nine-game winless run, draw or win Tuesday, FCE’s home date Wednesday to Carolina will be nothing more than a friendly for the Eddies.

FCE defender Paul Hamilton will spend Tuesday evening with his attention divided between two big games — he’ll be watching Canada take on Panama in World Cup qualifying, but also will be NASL scoreboard watching.

“I’ll be watching a little bit of both,” said Hamilton. “I will keep an eye on that Minnesota game on Twitter.”

FC Edmonton has three matches left on the season — all of them at home. But the Eddies trail Minnesota by eight points. Because the Stars won the season series, they hold the tiebreaker — so, if the gap grows to nine tonight, the Eddies are out.

“It sucks to have to watch and have other teams decide your fate,” said Hamilton. “But it’s our fault that it’s not up to us anymore.”

Keeper Lance Parker is more zen about tonight’s proceedings.

“You can’t be worried about the uncontrollables,” he said after a blustery training session at Clarke Stadium which saw the wind playing havoc with any ball in the air. “That’s how you approach all aspects of life.”

So, instead of obsessing about the Stars and Islanders, Parker will be watching the American national team, seeing if his countrymen can win at home against Jamaica Tuesday.

And, if Edward and the Islanders don’t win Tuesday, Caceros said the Eddies will still come out firing against Carolina on Wednesday.

“We still want a strong finish. We are going to have an attitude that we want to win the game. If we do go out, we want to show people that we deserved to be there. We have trained hard.”


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