Home NASL & USL FC Edmonton FCE adds midfielders Cruz and Thiago de Freitas, as Miller woes poor defensive record

FCE adds midfielders Cruz and Thiago de Freitas, as Miller woes poor defensive record


FC Edmonton has brought in two midfielders, American Pablo Cruz and Brazilian Thiago de Freitas.

Both were on hand at FCE’s south-side headquarters Thursday as they were unveiled to the media. Cruz — who has played in NASL for the Atlanta Silverbacks and the San Antonio Scorpions — has long been admired by FCE head coach Colin Miller. Thiago is expected to help FCE in the possession department, as giveaways were a massive problem for the team in the spring season, and contributed to the Eddies’ league-worst defensive record.

“We gave away the ball far too easily, far too often,” Miller said.

As for Cruz, Miller called him a “game changer,” a player he wanted make an Eddie as far back as two years ago. He said Cruz will help mitigate the loss of Lance Laing, who is tied for the team lead in goals and leads the team in assists. Laing will likely be on Gold Cup duty with Jamaica when the NASL fall season begins in early July.

“His first thought is to go forward; he enjoys running at people,” Miller said of Cruz.

Cruz said he’s wanted to come to Edmonton for a while. “But, for different reasons, it didn’t work out before,” he said. “But I am happy to be here now.”

Thiago flew in from Rio de Janeiro two days ago. He most recently played for Greek second division side AOT Alimos. He also has played for Israeli side Hapoel Ironi Rishon Lezion FC, and previously played in the Hungarian league for Vasas.

“We have a saying in Brazil that a team is like a family,” said Thiago, who speaks five languages. “A family cares about each other.”

With the signing of Thiago, FCE is once again maxed out with its permitted seven international roster slots. Miller did bring up the possibility of bringing one or two more players — and had previously stated that one of the targets would likely be playing at the Gold Cup.

FC Edmonton begins its pre-fall-season training camp on Friday, and Miller said he’ll be bringing the “belt” to the first training session. He said he’s dismayed that the team has averaged giving up more than two goals per game so far this NASL season.

“It’s been very disappointing, given my background as a defender, to give away such comical goals,” he said. When he looks back at the video of the goals the Eddies have conceded, the mistakes have been so farcical that Miller said he felt like kicking his laptop out the window.

But if there has been one bright spot on defence, it was Canadian national-team coach Benito Floro’s decision to bring centre back Mallan Roberts into World Cup qualifying. Roberts got his first cap earlier this week in a qualifier against Dominica — and is also on the preliminary Canadian Gold Cup roster.

Miller said that FCE doesn’t do enough to trumpet its own achievements – that it should be proud of the fact that a player that came up through the academy ranks got the call-up. Unlike the two other NASL players on the Canadian roster — Julian de Guzman and Nana Attakora, who had extensive MLS and/or international résumés — Roberts is an NASL player who is the product of an NASL academy.

Miller said it should be a cue for Roberts to work harder than ever, because Canada is quite deep at centre back.

“He still has a lot of work to do, he’ll be the first to admit that,” said Miller. “But this carrot has been dangled in front of him, and now he knows he has to work harder than he’s ever worked in his life.”


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  1. left back

    June 19, 2015 at 9:58 am

    They are interesting signings… that is for sure… a journeyman brazilian and a latino american who really has never proved himself…. i wouldn’t call these signings ‘marquee’… more like long shots to see if they can discover some unknown talent…

    my guess is they will bring them in and see if it is a fit… we will probably see them moved along at year end as they are just here to fill in the gaps left by LL and Chad Burt…. hopefully one of them surprises and is the real deal… seems a bit optimistic by the FCE management and not players that will make a dramatic impact on the team… which is what this group really needs….

    i do like attacking players that can keep the ball though… so at least CM is giving it a go..

    it stinks of desperation though… doesn’t it?

    good luck… both new signings will need it.

  2. Kahkakew Yawassanay

    June 18, 2015 at 4:32 pm

    How long are FCE going to wait to make changes in coaches….their record has not dramatically improved, attendance is down 1000 per game…they finished second worst in the spring season…Miller seems to be the common denominator in their numerous shortcomings…whether the Faths find another investor for more cash for better players or better coach/manager….how the Faths can continue to operate averaging 2700 per home game is beyond me…just how much of FCE does Traffic Sports own and control?

    • D Po

      June 18, 2015 at 8:39 pm

      Remember, we were second last in the spring season last year and still came within a hairs-breadth of making the championship. We played more games than any other team in the league, what with our Canadian championship run, which was punishing to our starting eleven.

      Miller is trying something new: an attack-minded approach, which I applaud, but it will take a while for the team to find the right balance, especially with Miller being used to a defence-heavy style of play. I think these new recruits are a key step to finding that balance, and I for one am very excited for the fall season!

  3. cwell

    June 18, 2015 at 4:13 pm

    Say what you like about Miller, he delivers great quotes! I wish him and the Eddies well so that I can continue to read his comments on the game.

    • kahkakew Yawassanay

      June 18, 2015 at 4:34 pm

      does not seem to take much to satisfy you…another losing season, turnstile for players coming and going..embarrassing home attendance…yeah.it’s all good at FCE

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