Home NASL & USL FC Edmonton Saiko, Pinto forced to stay at home as their FCE teammates jet to North Carolina

Saiko, Pinto forced to stay at home as their FCE teammates jet to North Carolina

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FC Edmonton has scored just 18 goals this season. And two players who have scored nine of those markers could not make the team’s road trip to North Carolina for this weekend’s big six-pointer against the Carolina RailHawks.

FC Edmonton confirmed Thursday that neither Shaun Saiko (six goals) nor Yashir Pinto (three goals) were fit enough to get on the plane. Saiko, after scoring the deciding goal in Sunday’s 1-0 win over the Puerto Rico Islanders, hurt his knee and had to leave the game. He was not able to train this week and admitted the knee was sore. Pinto had to sit out training with a right leg problem.

The loss of FCE’s top creative midfielder and top striker (albeit with three goals, we’re not talking about Pablo Campos scoring numbers, here) will force coach Harry Sinkgraven to adjust his lineup. If striker Michael Cox is recovered from a knee problem, he can move up to the top of the formation. As well, striker Elvir Gigolaj, who has shown flashes with the reserve side, has made the trip southeast.

Adding to FCE’s injury woes is the loss of Canadian midfielder Kenny Caceros to a charley horse; and midfielder Ilja Van Leerdam has jetted home to the Netherlands to have surgery on a troublesome knee.

The Eddies have closed the gap between themselves and the RailHawks, who hold the final playoff spot in NASL at the moment, to just four points with seven games to play. The RailHawks, though, look to have caught a break as the Eddies have been struck by the injury bug.

As the RailHawks still have five matches left against the top three teams in the league — three of them on the road — the Eddies may find that just a draw this weekend will suffice, as Carolina’s remaining schedule is far tougher than Edmonton’s.

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