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FCE won’t have Saiko for Minnesota match

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For the second week in a row, FC Edmonton enters a critical match without the service of leading scorer Shaun Saiko.

The six-goal local product did not make the flight to the Twin Cities on Friday. A bad knee will keep him out for the second consecutive match. Saiko did do some training this week, so the knee injury isn’t thought to be severe, but it is painful enough to keep him out of the lineup.

Edmonton faces the defending NASL champion Minnesota Stars Saturday. The Eddies trail the Stars and Carolina RailHawks by seven points for the final playoff spot. But the RailHawks have a game in hand. The Eddies play two of their next three in Minnesota, and the Stars have a brutal schedule down the road, which includes two dates against San Antonio and two more against Puerto Rico.

Without Saiko, the Eddies lost 3-2 to the RailHawks last week. But the Eddies did create more scoring chances than any other road game the team has played this season. The issue wasn’t the offence — it was the fact the team couldn’t hold a 2-1 lead late in the second half.

While Saiko isn’t on the trip, two other wounded Eddies did get on the plane. Midfielder Kenny Caceros, out with a charley horse last week, was good to go. And striker Yashir Pinto is also ready to return to the lineup. But, Pinto may have to do something special in training to convince coach Harry Sinkgraven not to use Kyle Porter and Paul Craig as his two main strikers. Both were outstanding last week in the loss — and each scored a highlight-reel-worthy goal.


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