Home NASL & USL FC Edmonton Late Minnesota penalty spoils another comeback-win attempt by FCE

Late Minnesota penalty spoils another comeback-win attempt by FCE


FC Edmonton was less than 10 minutes away from yet another Kardiac Kids comeback win. After going down 1-0 to Minnesota United just 71 seconds after the opening kickoff, the Eddies had scored two second-half goals to take the lead.

Then, it all changed on what looked to be an innocuous play. Minnesota fullback Justin Davis got into the penalty are with the ball, and looked to have run himself into a corner; he wasn’t facing goal and he didn’t have a shooting angle. At best, he could hope to turn and pop a cross to the centre of the area. But FC Edmonton substitute Michael Nonni elected to dive in. Even though Nonni got all ball with the tackle, Davis went down and referee Geoff Gamble pointed to the spot.

Before Jamie Watson converted the penalty to give the visitors a 2-2 draw with the Eddies, Gamble sent FCE forward Daryl Fordyce off for arguing the call. The player says that the referee “misheard” what was being said. But FCE will not appeal, as NASL fines teams for lost appeal attempts. And teams are only allowed two appeals per season.

So, down to 10 men, the Eddies ended up needing to hang on for the draw in a game that they dominated for long stretches.

“The referee has apologized to me for a call that he made last year,” said FCE coach Colin Miller after the match. “Now he owes me another apology.” Miller said that he didn’t need replays to see that the call was the wrong one — that in real time he saw that Nonni got all ball on the challenge.

Miller said the “criminal decision” undid a lot of good work by his club. Outside of the first minute of the game, he felt that the Eddies had played their most complete match of the year.

Tomi Ameobi scores for the Eddies as Minnesota keeper Mitch Hildebrandt scrambles in vain. PHOTO: TONY LEWIS/FC EDMONTON
Tomi Ameobi scores for the Eddies as Minnesota keeper Mitch Hildebrandt scrambles in vain. PHOTO: TONY LEWIS/FC EDMONTON

Minnesota United coach Manny Lagos said that he would need to see replays to see if Gamble had indeed made the correct call, but he pointed out that, when a player slides to make a tackle from behind in the box, he always runs the risk of the referee pointing to the spot. And Lagos felt that, earlier in the game, his fullback, Davis, was wrongly penalized — and the free kick was buried by Lance Laing.

Nonni, who had just come into the game for right winger Sainey Nyassi, could be criticized for deciding to dive in and making that challenge, who was not in a threatening position. Basically, don’t put the referee in a position where he has to make a bang-bang decision.

The game started like too many Eddies games have started this year; the Eddies have already given up a goal at the 12-second mark in league play, and the 56-second mark in Cup play. Starting with a full-strength 11 despite playing Ottawa in Cup play Wednesday and having to play the Vancouver Whitecaps this coming Wednesday, the Eddies got off to another dreadful start. Miguel Ibarra was credited with the marker 71 seconds in that could just has easily been credited as an own goal to keeper Matt Van Oekel.

After right back Eddie Edward fell down, the ball was released down Minnesota’s left side to Ibarra. His first cross was blocked; then he tried to play another ball across the face of goal. Defender Mallan Roberts and Van Oekel each tried to block the pass, which was headed right for a wide open Pablo Campos for a tap-in. The ball hit Van Oekel, changed direction and rolled across the line. To be fair to Van Oekel, with Campos wide open behind him, had he not touched the ball, the Minnesota striker would have tapped home the Ibarra pass.

But, after conceding, it was Edmonton who then controlled the remainder of the first half; that was especially true down the left wing, where Minnesota United’s Jonny Steele was being run ragged by Laing.

Laing delivered a cross that Fordyce headed towards the goal, only to have Minnesota keeper Mitch Hildebrandt make the fingertip save at full stretch.

Then, Steele compounded what was a miserable afternoon for him with an awful back pass that set FCE’s Tomi Ameobi in alone on goal. Hildebrandt came out, just got a piece of the shot, but it was enough to change the direction of the ball so that it kissed the goalpost rather than going in.

But the Eddies kept up the pace in the second half; and, after Davis was whistled for fouling Edward, Laing slammed a free kick into the top corner.

“I’ve been coming to training early for the last couple of days and practising free kicks from that exact same spot,” said Laing. “And I’ve been able to hit a few of them into the top corner just like that.”

Laing’s dominant, man-of-the-match performance continued when he got behind the defence on the left wing — after being sprung by a great diagonal ball from Cristian Raudales. He then laid the ball across the goal for Ameobi to slide onto and drive across the line.

Van Oekel made a good save on Davis, and Eddies’ captain Albert Watson and had to leave the game after picking up an injury when he fouled Campos. Watson had tried to play through the pain, but ended up needing to go out. Kareem Moses moved from left back to centre back, and FCE Academy graduate Allan Zebie was given his NASL debut.

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  1. Soccerfan

    May 5, 2015 at 9:43 pm

    With the historic win by the NDP this evening, I am really curious how that will affect Fath’s business interests which will obviously trickle down to the soccer team. What are people thoughts?

  2. left back

    May 5, 2015 at 4:22 pm

    Hoping someone can help me out for the FCE v Caps game tomorrow… how does TSN GO work? I have a shaw account and have an account with TSN as well.

    I logged on hoping to view the Ottawa Fury game because on the FCE website there was a link to TSN GO to watch the game.. but once there… i couldn’t find the game. TSN1 – 5 didn’t show the live stream and there was no where to access it.

    If anyone could help that would be great… as i want to stream the game tomorrow night.

    • Steven Sandor

      May 5, 2015 at 9:00 pm

      Sportsnet has the rights to the Canadian Championship, not TSN. Rogers will be showing the game on Sportsnet 360 but announced it won’t be streamed.

  3. :-/

    May 5, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    I don’t think Fath would pull the plug mid-season. Last year is a possibility though. Hard to fathom soccer getting another go here professionally if that happens.

    • italk2u

      May 6, 2015 at 12:52 pm

      Let’s hope he has some snow plows at the ready today.

  4. left back

    May 5, 2015 at 12:16 pm

    I have to say… i have been critical on a number of levels of FCE and CM…. but the team is desperately unlucky. It is almost laughable how poor they luck has been on and off the pitch. I was actually going to go on Wednesday night v the Fury but the weather was poor so stayed home. The day before the weather was 25+ and sunny… then on game day.. cold and windy. Same as Sunday… decent weekend then starts snowing before kick off to keep the walk up crowd at home. It seems to happen more often than not.

    As for the game on Sunday i did watch it at home and thought FCE played very well. The call for the penalty was a joke… and if CM goes into his locker and pulls out one of his many quotes about poor calls…. i wouldn’t blame him… this time.

    The club seems to be a bit snake bitten in terms of weather and getting nice days/nights for games. It is kinda comical when you are that unlucky but i am sure Fath and the FCE staff are not laughing. There has to be a genuine concern.

    On that note… i notice a lot of staff (who i know personally) have been let go from the organization and that is a warning sign. With the economic downturn in Alberta i am sure everyone including the Fath group are counting pennies these days. No one has confirmed that the layoffs were due to The Fath group shutting up shop…. but that must be a concern with what Alberta is going through.

    I don’t want to start nasty rumours though and this is pure speculation.

    • Nathan (Loyal Co of the River Valley)

      May 6, 2015 at 8:20 am

      I wondered the same thing last night during the election. That said, the work the Fath Group does will always be needed in Edmonton, and the current gov has stated in that they want to build more bridges in the economy. Hope that means that Fath can adjust, and perhaps even benefit. As the weather turns and gets closer to consistently over 20, people will come. Bad luck this year with so many early games/poor conditions. Minnesota saw almost 3000 again, which is more in line with last year.

      If you’re referring to those let go that I think you might be, I had a conversation and it was not related to budget. I had heard that floating around, but had a direct conversation, and confirmed that it was not a budget issue.

  5. footy

    May 4, 2015 at 12:40 am

    That was a great game. You can say what you want about Miller but Eddies have a plan and they play as a team. Who’s was talking about applying forward pressure recently?

    2 things. First, Lagos absolutely has a point, that freekick was very soft indeed. The goal was deserved, but if that’s a foul the game would be dead constantly.

    Secondly, when are MLS teams going to wake up and sign that Laing? He’s got speed, plays aggressively and his crosses are always dangerous. Not even talking about the set pieces. He would be great for Montreal or TFC, and in a year he could be a domestic as well.

    • cwell

      May 4, 2015 at 4:34 pm

      Nice to hear from someone who was at the game and enjoyed it, late goal against notwithstanding. From what I saw of the Eddies here in Ottawa, they are a fast and talented team. They didn’t perform that well in midfield, but they stayed in the game and ultimately won handily. I hope that more Edmonton fans get out and support the team before they lose it. Supporting a team is about more than wishing for a certain style and perfect results. NASL provides quality soccer – fans should support it.

  6. Kahkakew yawassanay

    May 3, 2015 at 10:52 pm

    So once again FCE blow a lead or fall behind very early and cannot catch up or win once behind…and of course more excuses for terrible starts..this has become a very bad habit which last season resulted in FCE losing too many Spring season points to qualify for the post season…seems nothing has changed this season..once again,they are falling behind early in matches, blowing leads, losing their cool and getting players thrown out of matches…this lack of discipline starts and ends with the manager….having a losing record overall since inception, no playoff appearances has directly resulted in ongoing low attendances for home games.. Colin Miller needs to answer for this and changes are required at FCE….unless the Faths have money to throw away on another under achieving, immature side, players or management needs to be made accountable!!!

  7. cwell

    May 3, 2015 at 6:03 pm

    Steve, I read elsewhere that the attendance for this game was something like 2,800. What’s your view on whether this is the maximum support the Eddies can expect? Or is this figure likely to increase if they prove to be a winning team. And can the club sustain operations, including what must be a very large travel bill for their next game in Brooklyn, on crowds of that size? From what I’ve seen here in Ottawa, NASL soccer is quite good, and it’s entertaining, as well. I think crowds here will grow from the 5,000 p.g. or so they have attracted this year, but they will never reach 10000 on a consistent basis. As for an MLS club, I say forget it. The interest is just not there.

    • Steven Sandor

      May 3, 2015 at 8:10 pm

      Today’s game is a tough read because weather was abysmal (driving rain and wet snow) up to about five minutes before kickoff. So a lot of people might have already abandoned their match plans.

      That being said, the concern this year has got to be the number of no-shows. A lot of tickets (season tickets) aren’t being used.

      • cwell

        May 4, 2015 at 5:51 am

        I can well imagine how the owner must have been praying for better weather, and a few more people in the stands. And then to again give up a goal in the first few minutes. Tough business. I hope the fans start to show up before it’s too late. The team looks good.

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