Home NASL & USL FC Edmonton Saiko scores three as FC Edmonton dominates the RailHawks

Saiko scores three as FC Edmonton dominates the RailHawks


Shaun Saiko enjoyed one of his finest days as a professional player, as he scored all of the goals as FC Edmonton got its first win of the season, downing the Carolina RailHawks 3-0 at Clarke Stadium.

But, while Saiko was the author of all three goals — two wonder strikes and a penalty — the fact is the 3-0 scoreline wasn’t an indication of just how wide the gulf was between the two teams on Sunday. Yashir Pinto was stopped five, count ‘em, five times by Carolina keeper Ray Burse on close-in chances. And, a corner taken by Saiko that came off FCE’s Paul Hamilton struck the Carolina goalpost.

Really, had Edmonton won this game by six goals the RailHawks wouldn’t have been able to say it was an unfair result. This was FC Edmonton’s most confident, assured performance since last spring, and the Eddies did it with former coach Dwight Lodeweges — who the club assures is on vacation and is simply taking in some matches — watching from the stands.

Carolina began the game with a strong wind at its back, but it was Edmonton that carved out the two best chances of the first half. After a lovely give-and-go in the box with Kyle Porter, Pinto was in alone on Burse. The keeper did well to charge down the shot and he was able to block the effort.

Then, Pinto was sent in alone thanks to a perfectly weighted pass from Matt Lam, but again Burse came out and got low to block the shot.

Shaun Saiko, front, wins the ball from Carolina’s Cory Elenio. PHOTO: FC EDMONTON

But, rather than cursing their luck, the Eddies went to dressing room feeling good about themselves, because they had got to halftime even despite having such a disadvantage due to the wind.

“We didn’t concede any goals, and we knew we were going to get some chances,” said Saiko.

In fact, coach Harry Sinkgraven told his troops that, with the wind at their backs in the second half, they should be taking some chances on long shots.

Saiko proved his coach to be prophetic with a 32-yard effort that will be up there for NASL Goal of the Week. He walked into a shot that Burse got his fingertips to, but couldn’t keep from hitting the back of the neck.

But after the first golazo, Saiko decided one Goal of the Week candidate wasn’t enough. The second effort, a curled, lofted, effort from the left side that nestled into the goal just inside of the far post, was just as much a thing of beauty to watch as goal no. 1.

It all began in midfield, when Carolina’s Chris Nurse miscalculated, and challenged well into the Edmonton back line for a ball he didn’t have much of a chance to get to. The Eddies won the ball, and it went to Ilja Van Leerdam, who had acres of space in the middle of the park because Nurse was caught too far upfield. Van Leerdam sent the ball to the left channel, and Saiko curled the ball in, though he admitted the wind helped.

“It’s my first hat trick as a professional,” said Saiko, an Edmonton product. “It’s a proud day with all my family here.”

Saiko wrapped up the points when he slotted a penalty home past Burse, after Lam was brought down in the box. Even though Saiko had two goals and is FCE’s normal penalty taker, Pinto actually lobbied to take the shot.

“Pinto tried to call me off,” said Saiko. “I told him, ‘unlucky, my friend.’”

Pinto did have a series of chances late in the game to open his NASL account, but was stopped over and over by Burse, who was Carolina’s man of the match despite having three goals go by him.

“It was a tough one to take,” said Carolina defender Amir Lowery, who spent last season with the Montreal Impact. “I think maybe we had the better of the possession in the first half. We let it slip away.”

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  1. Sherry

    May 7, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    It’s lovely to see two homegrown Edmonton boys, who grew up playing youth soccer together, dominating the game for FCE… 3 goals for Saiko with Lam setting up 2 of them? Can’t believe the Edmonton Journal or the Sun haven’t picked up on this fairytale yet!

  2. MarkEightThree

    May 7, 2012 at 4:02 am

    Can I find an archive of this match anywhere online?? Maybe CBC.ca or Ustream?

    • Steven Sandor

      May 7, 2012 at 4:40 am

      NASL.com usually archives our broadcasts. Just go to the video section on the site. Usually takes a day or two to get up.

  3. CDN

    May 6, 2012 at 11:24 pm

    Steven do you know when Lance Parker is going to be back?

    • Steven Sandor

      May 7, 2012 at 12:24 am

      He is available for selection, it is up to the coaching staff.

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