Home NASL & USL FC Edmonton Miller on FCE’s probable season-opening starting XI: “One or two spots up for grabs”

Miller on FCE’s probable season-opening starting XI: “One or two spots up for grabs”

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FC Edmonton’s players have gone through 16 indoor sessions at the Commonwealth Fieldhouse over the last three weeks. Now, they’re ready to hit the great outdoors for the final three weeks of their NASL preseason camp.

The team finished their Edmonton part of training camp with a 70-minute scrimmage, and will depart for Florida over the weekend. The Eddies open the NASL season at Jacksonville on April 4, as the Armada makes its debut in the league.

Going into the three-week Florida portion of camp, coach Colin Miller said he has a good idea on who most of the starting XI will be on April 4.

“But there are still one or two spots up for grabs,” Miller said “And some of the guys here are making good cases for them.”

The Eddies were supposed to take part in a series of friendlies on March 25 and 28 that also included the Tampa Bay Rowdies, Fort Lauderdale Strikers and Jacksonville University. But the Strikers pulled out of the tourney and have been replaced by the Carolina RailHawks.

Johann Smith, the American speedster, will outlast his initial three-week trial. He will travel to Florida with the Eddies. Though no contract has been announced as of yet, the fact that the former Toronto FC player will go to Florida and go into his fourth week with the Eddies is a sign that the coaching staff likes what they see in Smith.

And, even though the opening game is a little less than a month away, Miller is already looking forward to what will be a raucous occasion in Jacksonville.

“I expect there to be 10 or 15,000 people in the stands,” he said. “I saw that they had over 5,000 when they played Charleston [in a friendly] and it was just chucking down with rain. I think we could have a very big crowd for that opener. And we’ll have to deal with the hats, balloons, fireworks and maracas. But it’s all fluff to me.”

What that means is, the Eddies can’t let the pomp and circumstance of being Jacksonville’s first ever NASL opponent become a distraction. And, after three weeks of training in that Florida heat and humidity, weather should not be a factor, either.


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