Home Featured FC Edmonton plays the waiting game in final week of NASL regular season

FC Edmonton plays the waiting game in final week of NASL regular season

Comments Off on FC Edmonton plays the waiting game in final week of NASL regular season
Kyle Yamada
FC Edmonton has been playing the waiting game, not knowing who it will face in the first round of the NASL playoffs.

Right now, Fort Lauderdale and FC Tampa Bay are tied in the standings. They play each other Saturday, the final day of the NASL regular season. FCE will face the team that finishes lower in the standings two weekends from now. Through a scheduling quirk, FCE has a bye week, so it has an extra seven days to prepare for the playoff game.

But this week has been strange, because FCE doesn’t actually know yet who it will be playing. It can focus on itself, but not the other team. The players can’t talk about systems or key matchups.

“We’ve played full-field games for the last three days, so I am pretty tired,” said forward Kyle Yamada. “We are in a situation where we are working on our own game. We are focused on what we are doing, the way we are playing. But, it would be good to know the system we will be playing against.”

And that’s because FCTB and the Strikers offer different challenges. According to Yamada” “Fort Lauderdale likes to play a South American style, lots of short passes in the middle of the field” and, as for Tampa? Well, “they like to have the big man up top (Aaron King, who has given FCE fits this season) and they like the play the ball up to him or into his feet.”

The fields are interesting, as well. Most NASL teams outside of Montreal and Carolina don’t play on ideal pitches. And the FCE players, who have their home games on old-school turf with football lines, know they don’t have the moral high ground when it comes to talking about other teams’ stadiums. But, midfielder Shaun Saiko said both Tampa and Fort Lauderdale’s fields will present challenges.

“The first time we went to Tampa, it was really bumpy. They share it with the baseball team. But, to be fair, the second time we went there it was a lot better, even though the field still has an incline. And Fort Lauderdale is the other way around; the first time we went there, the pitch was in great shape, the second time it was dry and bumpy.”

And, interestingly, Saiko has a bit of a rooting interest when it comes to other Canadian NASL team. The Montreal Impact needs to beat Atlanta, while Carolina must beat or draw the NSC Minnesota Stars (or, Montreal can tie Atlanta if Minnesota loses) to get the sixth and final NASL playoff spot. Montreal has been red-hot since it revamped its attack with MLS loander Ryan Pore and Miguel Montano, including a 2-0 win over FCE this past weekend.

Saiko wants to see Montreal get in; because he thinks the Impact, right now, is playing better than anyone in the NASL right now. His dream would be to see both Montreal and Edmonton make Cinderella runs from low seeds and face each other in an all-Canadian NASL final.

“It doesn’t matter to us right now if Montreal makes the playoffs because we can’t face them unless we meet in the final,” said Saiko. “And you want to play the best. Right now, Montreal is the best team in the league. And the atmosphere at their stadium was fantastic. To play the final in front of that many people, that’s what it’s about.”

Load More Related Articles
Load More By Charles
Load More In Featured
Comments are closed.

Check Also

FC Edmonton says Landskrona BoIS can’t use Boakai until a deal is sealed

“They can’t do anything until they look after us,” said Miller. …