It’s official: FC Edmonton eliminated from NASL playoff chase By Steven Sandor Posted on September 12, 2012 1 0 509 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter For weeks, FC Edmonton’s playoff hopes were hanging by a thread. Now, finally, mercifully, the thread has been cut. With a 4-0 win Tuesday over a Puerto Rico Islanders squad that was badly depleted due to international call-ups, the Minnesota Stars clinched a playoff spot — and eliminated both FC Edmonton and the Atlanta Silverbacks from post-season competition. So, with three home games left on the schedule, the Eddies will finish the NASL season with a chance for coach Harry Sinkgraven, whose contract has been extended for next year, to give his club one final evaluation. The question will be, will Sinkgraven allow some of Edmonton’s young Canadians the chance to see some playing time, such as fullback Dino Gardner or striker Elvir Gigolaj? Will midfielder Matt Lam be allowed the chance to move out of the doghouse? Has the team impressed on-loan midfielder Bryan Arguez, who likely will get the option to stay in Edmonton for 2013, enough that he’d agree to remain in the Alberta capital for next year? So many questions, and so much frustration in a season that saw the club promise a new, expanded Clarke Stadium facility, only to end up getting caught in building code regulations and not being able to fulfill the plan in 2012. FC Edmonton — because of the high expectations before the NASL season — has endured the most disappointing season out of the four Canadian pro teams. (Toronto FC wasn’t expected to be a playoff team, so while the Reds’ season has been awful, it wasn’t as surprising as FCE’s campaign.) So, sorry, TFC, when it comes to “most surprisingly underwhelming pro campaign of 2012,” FCE has you beat. Amani Walker: The Edmonton slayer had a goal and an assist tonight The fact is, two league-run teams on budgets much smaller than Edmonton’s — Minnesota and Carolina — are in the playoffs. Before this win, Minnesota was on a nine-match winless skid, screaming to Edmonton, “please catch us!” and the Eddies simply could not make up the gap. And next season, with only the winners of the first and second halves of the season getting to the Soccer Bowl, FC Edmonton’s brass knows it needs a massive uptick in points in 2013. Because, with results like this in 2013, FCE fans will see their team out of the race in May, then out of the race again in early September. The Islanders sent a skeleton squad to Minnesota, as the Puerto Rican national team is playing this week in a Caribbean Cup qualifier in Haiti. When Puerto Rico’s national side plays, the Islanders’ lineup is stripped. And, the Stars made easy work of the Islanders. Jamie Watson, who just came to Minnesota on loan from Orlando City of the USL, had a goal and an assist. Amani Walker, the Edmonton slayer himself, had a goal and an assist (and hit a post). Miguel Ibarra had a goal and two assists. Nate Polak scored the opener. We could bellyache about how NASL (which, because of Traffic Sports’ role as a major promoter of CONCACAF matches, had many advertising placards up at Tuesday’s qualifer between Canada and Panama) decided to schedule a match on an international day. And, worse yet, how NASL scheduled the Islanders to play — and the Islanders are always the team most affected by international call-ups. But that would be unfair. It would be sour grapes. FC Edmonton didn’t deserve the playoffs in 2012.