Foothills, FC Edmonton are already showing CanPL to beware Alberta’s teams By Steven Sandor Posted on July 28, 2018 1 0 1,118 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter The Canadian Premier League is still working on finalizing how domestic players will be allocated throughout the league. But, boy, the two Alberta teams are already sending warning shots to the rest of the league. If the Ottawa Fury joins the Canadian Premier League and can transfer some of its experienced USL roster to the new league, it might be the only team outside of Alberta that isn’t looking longingly at what’s happening in the Wild Rose Province. Hockey fans might remember that, in the 1980s, Alberta was nicknamed “Death Valley.” Why? Because teams would go on their road trips to Calgary and Edmonton, and get hammered both nights. It wasn’t that you’d lose both games, they’d be soul-crushing blowouts. Could FC Edmonton and Cavalry be looking to a create a Death Valley, soccer style, for 2019? On Saturday, in front of 1,250 fans (and that’s capacity, folks) in Okotoks, Calgary Foothills booked its ticket to the PDL finals with a 1-0 win over Chicago FC United. The final will see Foothills face Reading, with the venue to be decided by the league on Monday.We know that coach, booster, dreamer and chief bottlewasher Tommy Wheeldon will be promoting many of those players in green and white hoops up to Cavalry FC next season. So, this team’s run to the PDL final, based on a core of young Canadian players, puts them ahead of a lot of the other teams that are only beginning to have conversations about their rosters. Meanwhile, FC Edmonton’s Academy, which was left up an running by owners Tom and Dave Fath while the professional side took the 2018 season off, traveled to Northern Ireland for one of the world’s most famous youth tournaments, the SuperCup (formerly known as the Milk Cup). And the U-17 Eddies, many of them ‘02 kids, looked pretty good, winning their group. Prince Amanda scored four times in the team’s first two games. But, there were five groups of four at the SuperCup, and only the four group winners with the best records went through. The Eddies missed out on the semifinals by a very slim margin, not bad for a Canadian team fighting against European and American opposition. The Eddies lost to Vendee (a French side) 1-0 in their final group-stage game, a result which made them the outsiders out of the group winners, and you have to wonder what if the Eddies would not have wasted a breakaway chance early in that game. Now, back to the Foothills story. The winning goal came in the 59th minute, with former Whitecaps Residency player Ali Musse beating Chicago goalkeeper Luis Barazza at the near post with a bad-angle shot. It’s funny how things even out. Musse’s winner came just minutes after Barazza robbed Carlos Patino at point blank range, and Moses Danto fluffed a chance to bang the rebound home, with the keeper out of position. Danto, with a good run down the left side, set up Musse’s winner. Chicago’s Xavier Gomez was sent off shortly after the goal; he did something as the players from the two teams came together and milled about. But, it wasn’t a simple case of handbags, as the referee spotted something that he felt was worthy of reducing Chicago to 10 men. But, while the other CanPL teams are looking to build relationships with clubs and, well, begin brining in young players, Calgary and Edmonton are already bleeding their kids in highly competitive situations. And, if the league is true to its mantra and will focus on young Canadian players, both FCE and Cavalry FC have aces high at the table. And, with Edmonton-raised Alphonso Davies (see? Another gratuitous mention of Davies this week. I mean, how many have you read by now?) heading to Bayern Munich, this has been a crazy, outstanding week for Alberta soccer. Maybe Brampton’s grip on the title of “Canada’s soccer capital” is loosening, just a little.