Home NASL & USL FC Edmonton Watson breaks FC Edmonton’s goalless drought, leads team to victory over Ottawa

Watson breaks FC Edmonton’s goalless drought, leads team to victory over Ottawa

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As the players from FC Edmonton and the Ottawa Fury lined up for “O Canada,” Eddies captain Albert Watson had his infant, daughter, Scarlett, in his arms.

A little more than an hour later, Watson was celebrating the fact he had scored FC Edmonton’s first goal of the season. FCE would go on to beat the Fury 2-0 on a chilly Sunday at Clarke Field.

So, when asked after the game if Scarlett would be making more appearances in pre-game ceremonies to come, Watson answered with an emphatic yes. Maybe the little girl has replaced the rabbit as the Eddies’ good-luck charm.

Albert Watson heads the ball in action against Ottawa. PHOTO: FC EDMONTON/TONY LEWIS
Albert Watson heads the ball in action against Ottawa. PHOTO: FC EDMONTON/TONY LEWIS

“We know we’re a team that can score goals, we just need to get that first one,” said Watson of his 46th-minute header off a Sainey Nyassi corner that turned out to be the game winner. “We bossed the game after that. It wasn’t that we were lucky to win the game… We had a few other chances. We defended well. We got a clean sheet. And, I got a goal.

“You always back yourself. I always back myself in getting my head on it. I need to score more, and I put that pressure on myself, every week, to try and score. It was good to get a flick. And, as soon as I headed it, I knew it was in, to be honest. I just got a good touch on it, and it was a great ball. All I had to do was direct it.”

That goal broke a three-and-a-half-game goalless drought for the Eddies to start the 2016 campaign. But, later in the half, Jake Keegan scored his first NASL goal to put the game away.

“It’s nice to get that first goal for your club,” said Keegan. “It really takes the pressure off.”

The Eddies now move to four points after four games played, while the Fury remain rooted to the bottom with just one point after four contests and a worrying -6 goal differential.

Fury coach Paul Dalglish lamented a pair of critical errors that led to the two goals.

The corner that led to Watson’s goal was set up thanks to a dreadful back pass that Fury central defender Rafael Alves tried to play back to his keeper, Romuald Peiser. The keeper’s sliding attempt to keep the ball in play could not prevent the Eddies from getting a gift of a corner-kick attempt. And Nyassi delivered a corner that Watson flashed into the goal.

The Keegan goal came after Fury striker Idan Vered lost the ball near the Eddies’ penalty area. FCE’s Dustin Corea picked up the ball and hoofed it down the field — as route one as route one can be — for Keegan. Timbo, Alves’s central defence partner, should have got to the ball. But, as Dalglish noted, he “got the the footwork all wrong.” Instead of heading the ball forward and out of danger, the ball grazed off his head and went to the space behind him. Keegan got to the ball, then rode Alves’s challenge before slotting the ball into the corner.

“Coming in here, you know it’s going to be a difficult game,” said Fury striker Carl Haworth. “It’s going to be a battle for 90 minutes. And it’s just the team that made two crucial mistakes, and they capitalized on them.”

There were other Eddies who didn’t get their names on the scoresheet who had inspired performances — most notably right back (and Ottawa native) Eddie Edward, who absolutely dominated that wing through the game. He was able to get forward and make a series of dangerous crosses, and broke up several attacks, including a challenge in the FCE penalty area on Ottawa’s James Bailey.

And Matt VanOekel made a great stop just a few minutes after the opening kickoff; he came racing off his line to deny Ottawa’s Paulo Jr., who had bolted through a gap in the Eddies’ defence and raced in on goal.

Ottawa Fury captain Julian de Guzman had to leave the game halfway through the first half with what looked like a right leg problem. Fury fullback Kyle Porter had to leave the game late in the second half for a non-contact injury; he came up hobbling as he tried to pursue Edward down the wing.

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