Home NASL & USL FC Edmonton Laing’s moment of magic the difference as FCE edges Tampa Bay

Laing’s moment of magic the difference as FCE edges Tampa Bay


During the first half of Sunday’s match between the Tampa Bay Rowdies and FC Edmonton at Clarke Stadium, NASL Commissioner Bill Peterson came into the broadcast booth and compared the two teams to heavyweight fighters. They were pushing each other, feeling each other out, looking for weaknesses.

And, like many heavyweight bouts, one punch changed the fortune of the fight. And it was a left hook from Lance Laing that sent the Rowdies to the mat. (OK, it was a left-footed shot, and it sorta hooked as it went into the net… but I’m trying to work an analogy here. Sue me.)

Laing’s second-half goal was the difference as the Eddies beat the Rowdies 1-0 in front of an announced crowd of 4,392 at Clarke Stadium.

It came off a goal kick that Rowdies keeper Matt Pickens struck into a stiff 30 km/h wind. Laing won the ball on the Rowdies’ side of half, and played it to teammate Neil Hlavaty. Laing continued his run, Hlavaty spotted it, and then lofted a ball behind the Tampa Bay backline. Laing beat defender JP Rodrigues to the ball then unleashed a left-footed drive the Pickens couldn’t stop.

Kareem Moses, right, clears a ball away from the path of Tampa Bay's Willie Hunt. FC EDMONTON/TONY LEWIS
Kareem Moses, right, clears a ball away from the path of Tampa Bay’s Willie Hunt. FC EDMONTON/TONY LEWIS

It was the exclamation mark on a scrappy game which saw the wind play havoc with the teams. It looked to affect the Rowdies more than the Eddies. Tampa Bay won the toss and decided to take the wind in the first half, which led to 45 minutes filled with long balls played out of the reach of the strikers. The Rowdies couldn’t adjust to how strong the wind was at their backs, and played ball after ball that ended up as goal kick after goal kick. At halftime, Rowdies coach Ricky Hill lamented how the wind advantage had made his team “too impatient.”

Still, the Rowdies got one great chance; and it didn’t come off a long ball. Beto Navarro, playing at right back for the Eddies made an ill-advised back pass that was intercepted by Tampa’s Blake Wagner. But FCE keeper John Smits came off his line, took away the angle, and made a great save.

In the second half, Smits was called upon to make a great save to preserve the win. Tampa’s Lucky Mksoana’s pass was deflected by Luciano Olguin towards goal, but Smits went into a butterfly pose, almost like a hockey goalie, to block the chance.

FCE Coach Colin Miller admitted that the game wasn’t the prettiest to watch, but it showed the home team’s resolve.

“You have to be committed to the job that’s required.”

And, after giving up a poor goal to Indy last week, Smits’ performance was proof that commitment.

While Miller was still critical of his keeper’s distribution (“he kicked it out to the bagpiper a few times in the first half”) he praised his keeper for the saves. “If you’re a keeper, your first job is to keep the ball out of the net.”

And while Laing got the glory, some unsung hero awards need to go to Eddie Edward, who moved from his regular right back spot and played 75 minutes as a holding midfielder, as the Eddies coped with injuries. And Kareem Moses’s play at left back is what allowed Laing to be able to roam up and down the pitch.

Miller said that Moses’s improvement since he came to the Eddies last February has been remarkable.

“For big Kareem, the standard here is far more consistent. But he’s very coachable. And he just cares so much about the club.”


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  1. Daniel Blodgett

    September 24, 2014 at 11:59 pm

    Every team, in every league, announces tickets sold, and not tickets scanned at the gates (which most teams don’t even know from the ticket agencies until the next day or two). The Dallas Stars and Florida Panthers may be getting over six thousand living, breathing humans in their arenas, but they announce fifteen thousand plus.

    The language teams use is important. An actual full house is called a full house and not a sell out, because a sell out means a certain number of tickets sold to be considered a sell out. Which isn’t always max capacity. It just sounds good, and teams use that to say there is an interest in the team. Full houses happen when teams in major leagues make the playoffs. In some cases, there is over a hundred percent capacity.

    A sell out doesn’t mean full house, and when you hear the term “a sell out crowd,” just be skeptical. That goes for every single league in every single sport on the planet.

    • Kahkakew yawassanay

      September 25, 2014 at 6:37 am

      I would like to see what FCE’s losses are for the last four seasons, as their small average announced attendance of 3300 is less than half of the 8500 per game the Faths recently quoted as their break-even attendance per game

  2. Soccerfan

    September 23, 2014 at 10:34 pm

    Nathan, in the words of Taylor Swift, you gotta “shake it off.”

  3. Nathan

    September 23, 2014 at 5:44 pm

    Man the next thing you guys will complain about is that the sun was shining too much.

    Seriously. That was THE BEST crowd (actual vs announced number be damned) that FCE has ever had (my estimate was between 2500-3500. GA’s were quite full, and the West stands were very full). There was some serious energy in the stands. The club won and is in its best position ever. Enjoy it.

    I recall back in 2011/2010 that people would constantly say that any D2 club had to pull at least 2000 to be sustainable. Well Edmonton has seriously cut the budget, increased the professionalism and generally is doing things well. I’d say that they’ll be around for a while still.

    • Kahkakew yawassanay

      September 23, 2014 at 10:36 pm

      If Faths have reduced costs to a point when average crowds of less than 3000 per game is good that FCE will survive and bad if these reduced costs impact player signings, regardless a city with a metro population of 1.2 million + has sold 4000 tickets on only two occasions is an issue. The jury is still out on if Edm will support this club and I am certain the Faths have lost millions to this point and their commitment to the NASL is commendable

  4. Soccerfan

    September 23, 2014 at 1:25 pm

    Nice win by the team!! That photo up top sure does not look like 4392. And I don’t want to hear the same old excuse that teams will announce tickets sales and not actual attendance. Yes, that can be a practice but eventually for at least a few games during the year, the later should match the present. This team has never had that occur.

  5. Kahkakew Yawassanay

    September 23, 2014 at 5:30 am

    I hope FCE can attract at least 4500 a game to ensure the NASL stays there…it sure looked like there was a lot less than the 4400 at that game.

  6. footy

    September 22, 2014 at 7:57 am

    Laing and Smits in the NASL team of the week. Funny though how, after a win, you don’t hear the same critique for playing extremely defensive. But who cares right? I hope they can keep it up, they look very consistent and deserve that 3rd spot.

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