Home NASL & USL FC Edmonton It’s a six-pointer: NASL post-season race heats up as Strikers face FCE on Sunday

It’s a six-pointer: NASL post-season race heats up as Strikers face FCE on Sunday

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After several years of frustration, it must be awfully nice for FC Edmonton and its supporters to look forward to a real, legitimate six-pointer.

The Eddies, who have scored eight times over the last four games — three of them on the road — are now just six points behind the Fort Lauderdale Strikers and Tampa Bay Rowdies, who are tied for fourth spot on the NASL combined spring/fall table. That fourth spot represents the final playoff spot in the league.

If the Eddies can beat the Strikers on Sunday, they’ll close the gap between the teams to three points. Meanwhile, the Rowdies play the Carolina RailHawks (who are just four points ahead of the Eddies) on Saturday.

“The guys know what a big game it is already, and we’re trying to take some of the pressure off of them this week in training,” said coach Colin Miller after the team’s training session in Clareview on Thursday. “The guys know the significance of the result. I would settle for a sub-standard performance if we get the three points. At this point of the season, it’s about getting three points. We’re capable of doing it.”

But, for the Eddies to make up the ground, they’ll need to break a trend. The Strikers are the Eddies’ bogey team in NASL. In 14 meetings between the two, FCE has won just twice; and that includes the Eddies’ victory in their first-ever NASL game. In the spring, despite flight issues, lack of sleep and inhospitable wintry weather in Edmonton, the Strikers beat the Eddies.

“I looked at my written report from the last time we played them,” said Miller. “I actually had written down that we had played well but let ourselves down defensively.”

In the spring of 2013, the Strikers came to Edmonton with a B squad, as it was resting its starters for a U.S. Open Cup match. The Strikers won that game, too.

But the wild card in the game might be a former Striker; Lance Laing has been a major contributor to the offence — he scored in last week’s 3-2 win over Carolina — putting balls in the net, running at fullbacks and setting up teammates. Since moving from fullback to a wing position, Laing has been revitalized.

“We have been very dangerous going forward,” said Miller. “And Lance Laing, if there is a better wide player playing in this league, I have yet to see him. He is really tormenting a lot of fullbacks at the moment. I’m not singling him out specifically for a wonderful performance on Sunday, but I just think there is a confidence in Laingy in the moment. He’s scoring goals, he’s setting goals up for us. He’s a real handful to play against. His pace, he’s got several different gears he can run up to. He’s been a revelation since he’s gone to that wide left position.”

Miller said that FCE leading scorer Daryl Fordyce, who missed out on last weekend’s trip to the Carolinas, is still listed as “day-to-day” with tendinitis in his heel. Miller said that he doesn’t want to put Fordyce in the lineup at 80 per cent and a higher risk of aggravating the injury. He wants to wait till the Northern Irish forward is at 100 per cent. And, midfielder Milton Blanco, who is out with a knee problem, is at least a couple of weeks away from return.

The Strikers will be without Darnell King and Walter Ramirez, who are both suspended for Sunday’s match.

The Eddies trained this week in Clareview, in northeast Edmonton, as the contractor who installed the turf at Clarke Stadium works to repair a few deficiencies. The City of Edmonton has advised that all work at Clarke will be completed on time and Sunday’s match against the Strikers is in no danger.

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5 Comments

  1. john anderson...

    August 23, 2014 at 5:27 pm

    send Morts on loan to a club in Ghana I believe that his heritage or the USL PRO next season .. this year was wasted or his time at the club is coming to an end

    need a big crowd

    Reply

  2. Ian

    August 22, 2014 at 5:07 pm

    Absolutely, I’m inviting everyone I can. Hopefully there will be a good turnout as the boys have been away and come back with good results. Keep the momentum building with two home games in a row now…

    Reply

  3. left back

    August 22, 2014 at 4:24 pm

    This could be the ‘tipping point’ for FCE and the season… if they get a win and continue their good run of form… there will be a real sense of optimism for the future of the club and how CM has built the team… if they lose… it will be easy for everyone to say ‘same old FCE… the club is just not good enough’…. so i wish them well…. i have been critical on this form of both CM and players on the team… i hope they prove me wrong….

    Random notes about FCE…… where is our wee maestro Hanson? I saw him at the U20 WWC game here in Edmonton when FCE was in Carolina… obviously CM has ‘developmental’ plans for him and is not including him in the squad right now… What about this Edem Mortotsi player… has even played more than 15 minutes all season?… if not… loan him out to a Alberta Major League team to get games…. he is a ‘local product’ that CM claims to have developed from the academy…. jeez… signed a pro contract and basically killed his University/College career… bad move and no one giving him decent advice obviously…. well done FCE.. way to look after the best interests of players.

    last thing… FCE training in Clareview for one of the biggest games in franchise history….? What happens when the kids get out at recess? Does CM shut training down for 15 minutes? How can you be a pro player and be training at an Elementary school field? Does anyone remember Rick Titus and him going off on Joe Petrone and Ross Ongaro for holding a press conference and training at O’Leary?…. ‘Mickey Mouse’ organization he coined it…… unfortunately FCE hasn’t progressed much further than the Aviators…. training at a school field… the players must really feel like they are in the ‘big leagues’….. roll of the eyes… i do miss Titus… he called a spade a spade and was a great footballer.

    good luck FCE

    Reply

    • Steven Sandor

      August 22, 2014 at 6:40 pm

      To clarify: FCE trained on the new turf field at Clareview Recreation Centre. Not a school field. In fact, it was a field that was used as a training spot for the U20WWC teams when they were in Edmonton.

      Reply

  4. cwell

    August 21, 2014 at 10:25 pm

    A good crowd would help.

    Reply

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