Home NASL & USL FC Edmonton Farago gets first NASL win in Eddies’ season finale

Farago gets first NASL win in Eddies’ season finale


Weeks ago, the Eddies coaching staff had discussed the scenarios: If the Eddies were out of the chase for the post-season in the final week of the NASL campaign, Tyson Farago would get his professional debut.

And Farago got the win between the sticks as the Eddies got a 2-1 victory — a triumph that gave the supporters at Clarke a nice send-off, but also added to the “what could have been” dialogue in the wake of last week’s loss to Fort Lauderdale on a late, self-inflicted goal.

Farago deserved a ton of credit for getting the Eddies the three points they needed to finish third in the NASL fall season table. After the Silverbacks cut the lead to one, Farago made a fantastic leap to parry Pablo Cruz’s dipping shot over the bar. And he came out of the goal to block an effort from Ryan Roushandel, who found himself alone at the far post.

Farago also got some help from Nonni, the scorer of the Eddies’ second goal. Roushandel looked to have sent the tying marker goalward, but Nonni headed it off the line and out to help preserve the win.

“The plan was always to give Tyson a chance to play the final game,” said coach Colin Miller. “And he did very well out there. Unfortunately, he’s been relegated to being a training-ground keeper, because we are in the middle of nowhere and we can’t find decent reserve games. But he went in there today and I thought he did fantastic, and he can kick the ball further than I can drive my car.”

The Eddies should have had the game won at halftime; the 2-0 scoreline flattered the Silverbacks, whose defending and midfield play were non-existent for long portions of the first 45 minutes.

The Eddies opened the scoring in the 17th minute. Eddie Edward launched a cross into the box; Atlanta defender Edgar Espinoza decided to move away from his man, Tomi Ameobi, to try and cut off the cross. But, when the ball came down, Espinoza couldn’t get close to the ball. And, because Espinoza left Ameobi behind, the Eddies striker had plenty of time to chest the ball down and blast it inside the post.

Daryl Fordyce and Kareem Moses get airborne vs. Atlanta. PHOTO: TONY LEWIS/FC EDMONTON
Daryl Fordyce and Kareem Moses get airborne vs. Atlanta. PHOTO: TONY LEWIS/FC EDMONTON

Then, Eddies’ midfielder was ruled to have been brought down in the box by Atlanta defender Ramiro Canovas. Hlavaty’s penalty was too close to keeper Thomas Hunter, and was saved.

But Espinoza was soon back at it — first, despite having goal-side, ball-side position, he allowed Lance Laing to get around him and lob a ball over Hunter. Atlanta defender Abdul Bangura cleared the ball off the line. But the Eddies collected the ball, and Edward pumped it back into the box — where Daryl Fordyce cushioned a header in the path of Nonni, whose diving header found the goal. Fordyce was Espinoza’s man and was allowed a free header to get the ball to Nonni.

“I thought, when I was in the air, ‘shouldn’t I be kicking it?’” said Nonni. “But it worked out OK. I’ve been snakebite this year. My first league goal — and it only took me about 20 games.”

When the Eddies and Silverbacks heard the halftime whistle, Miller was unhappy that the Eddies weren’t up by four or five over a team that’s future is uncertain.

“No disrespect meant to Atlanta, but that’s a team here that’s waiting to be beaten.”

The Silverbacks have not confirmed if they will return to NASL next season, and speculation has the team moving, self-relegating to a lower league or folding altogether.

But, if the second half in Edmonton was the Silverbacks’ final 45 minutes of play in NASL, at least they can say they came out with a heck of a lot more fire than they offered in the first half.

A photo finish was set up when, off a corner, Abdul Bangura won the ball in the air; the ball then went to his cousin, Shaka Bangura, who nodded home from six yards out.

The Eddies finished nervously — but thanks to Farago and Nonni, held on.

SMITS IS GOLDEN?: By sitting out the final game of the season, John Smits has clinched the NASL Golden Gloves award (at least by my math).

While the league won’t announce awards till the lead-up to the Championship, the Golden Gloves is an award based on stats, not votes. Smits went into the weekend with a 0.90 goals against average. Jimmy Maurer of the New York Cosmos was scored on this weekend, so his 0.91 goals against average going into the weekend can’t be lower than Smits’s goals against average. Matt VanOekel led the league in GAA going into the weekend, at 0.89. But he gave up two goals on the weekend, so his average is now higher than Smits.

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  1. Nathan

    November 3, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    Have to disagree. In Fort Mac at least there’s a chance that someone will go out to the game after a shift, and be interested enough to check out the club on days off in Edmonton. Can’t see people making a trek up to Edmonton from Red Deer, let along Calgary enough to make a massive difference for the club’s bottom line.

  2. cwell

    November 3, 2014 at 2:59 am

    Well done, Eddies. And thanks, Steve, for your excellent reporting throughout the season.

  3. Alan

    November 3, 2014 at 1:55 am

    With a stable coaching staff in place, and if they keep a solid core of players, next years spring session should be a good one for FCE. They need to better market the team and playing in Fort McMurray isn’t a good way to start. Red Deer, Calgary would be better venues if they have to play out of town during WWC.

  4. Tomas

    November 3, 2014 at 12:33 am

    Got a bit sketchy near the end but congrats to the club for getting the win! Nice to see Farago get the call in net and Nonni get a beautiful goal(and save one as well).

    Kudos to Colin Miller and the club as well on the best NASL season ever for FC Edmonton, looking forward to good things for them in 2015.

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