Home NASL & USL FC Edmonton U.S. Open Cup results work out perfectly for FC Edmonton

U.S. Open Cup results work out perfectly for FC Edmonton

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Coach Colin Miller and his FC Edmonton players lamented the number of breaks that went against them in the early portion of the NASL spring campaign. There were the phantom penalty calls. There were the goalposts and crossbars that were magnets for balls off the heads, thighs and feet of the Eddies’ players.

But Lady Luck has a way of evening things out. And, while the Eddies have been on a bye, pretty well each and every result they wanted to go their way has, well, gone their way.

Going into the weekend, the Eddies were three points out of first place in the NASL spring season table, but each of the other six teams in the league had a game in hand on FCE. When the weekend’s action was done, the Eddies found themselves still just three points off the top of the table — yet the rest of the league had burned their games in hand.

Now, the Eddies go into the final six games of the spring campaign just three points down — and with four of the team’s final six on Clarke Stadium turf, where the team is 2-0-0 and has yet to surrender a goal so far.

But things got even better for the Eddies after Tuesday’s US Open Cup action wrapped up. Fort Lauderdale, which plays in Edmonton Sunday, won its game. That means the Strikers will play at home to FC Dallas next Tuesday. So, the Strikers will have to fly to Edmonton and play just five days after their U.S. Open Cup win, then will have to fly all the way back to Florida to play an MLS side just 48 hours later. This means Strikers’ coach Daryl Shore will have to wrestle with the notion of trying to make guys play three games in a week with an insane travel schedule, or resting guys for the Edmonton game — and possibly not even putting some key players on the plane.

Also good news for the Eddies is that the Tampa Bay Rowdies overcame their cross city USL rivals, VSI Tampa Bay, on Tuesday. That means that next Wednesday, the Rowdies will face the Seattle Sounders, then have to face FCE at Clarke just four days later. So, once again, fixture congestion could work in Edmonton’s favour.

Eddies fans are cheering for NASL teams in the U.S. Open Cup not just because of pride in the league, but because it’s pragmatic. Playing weakened or tired sides over the next couple of weeks could help the Eddies secure six badly needed points.

The winner of the spring season, which concludes the first weekend of July — hosts the Soccer Bowl. A home game for Edmonton in November would constitute the biggest home advantage any of the NASL teams would enjoy. Playing a game in near or sub-zero temperatures, or with snow on the ground, would be a major obstacle for a field of possible opponents which are dominated by clubs from the southeast U.S.

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2 Comments

  1. Seathanaich

    May 22, 2013 at 6:31 pm

    Hosting the Soccer Bowl would be fantastic for this club. What have the home attendances been this season?

    Reply

  2. footy

    May 22, 2013 at 5:37 pm

    FCE should be able to beat the Strikers at home whatever the situation. Although it is known that these are the hardest of games, they’d be perfectly fine with a boring draw.

    The Rowdies is another story. They are the team to beat IMO, they have great stamina and grit, especially at home. Beating them in Edmonton would sure increase the chances of ending the first half of a season on top. No matter how you look at it, home games are the way to the championship.

    In Europe,there’s lots of midweek games. But very often this takes a toll on the league play. And if you look at North America, the distances are a lot bigger. So this effect is more extreme. That means more hours in planes, in airports and buses just to get somewhere, at some point in the game you are going to feel that in your legs. It’s no surprise that in MLS (but also in the lower tiers), home teams win disproportionally often. Every draw in the road is seen a a victory. With Edmonton having 2 draws on the road already, their chances are looking pretty bright right now.

    Reply

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