In 2018, when the “YEG for CPL” movement went into full effect searching high and low for “rally rabbits”, I hopped on board. Previous to the fan movement to resurrect FC Edmonton, the handful of games I attended were more for the tactics of the Supporters Group, whom in 2018 re-branded themselves as the River Valley Vanguard (RVV). The 2020 “Island Games”, the bubble tournament the Canadian Premier League held streamed through One Soccer, was the first time this fan had to learn to watch a game without the aid of those RVV tactics. Saturday June 26th, my wife and I attended the Eddies season membership event called “Party on the Pitch”.
The result of yesterday’s game was disappointing – a 1-0 loss to Atletico Ottawa. Learned enough to give you a strong tactical report of the happenings yesterday? Nope. Passionate enough to use my couple seasons of fan experience to tell you what I saw? Yup.
With the announcement of the starting lineup, I learned the goal scoring leader of the Club Easton Ongaro would be a sub today as he is recovering from wrist surgery. The only other starting returnees from last season were Connor James, Jeannot Esua, Ramon Soria and Amer Didic.
The only player the broadcast team kept singling out as having an off-night was goaltender James. That said, the goal scored against him was not a reflection of his game. With the timing of the goal coming mere moments after being shown Esau aided off the field clutching his hamstring, the Eddies may still have been a man down when the ball bulged the net. Esau had been his typical dynamic self throughout the match.
In the previous 80 minutes before the goal, FC Edmonton was the better team. The pessimist reads that as blah blah moral victory blah blah been there, done that. You’ve probably been here longer than me, you’re entitled to your opinion but I respectfully disagree.
The combination of Sharly Mabussi and Tobias Warschewski were more potent yesterday than I ever recall stalwart now former Eddies Tomi Ameobi and Hanson Boakai being last season. One has to mention the questionable off-side goal that took a goal off of the board but one will not harp on it – being a linesman is much easier when watching on a screen.
First overall draft pick Thomas Gardner looked like a seasoned pro. Fraser Aird was the presence I believe the Club had hoped they would receive from Keven Aleman. A healthy Didic is simply a step up over any other option that was pressed into service last season (that’s a tip of the cap to Didic, not disrespect to the players trying to fill his shoes). The recently signed Hunter Gorskie seemed to win all his one-on-one battles.
Coach Alan Koch spent an entire off-season preaching the obvious, the Eddies needed to upgrade their talent. Walking out of Clarke Stadium yesterday, one felt like this was accomplished despite the result.
With time-weathered fans already stepping of the bandwagon, a Canada Day poor showing against two-time defending Champion Forge FC would cause a mass exodus. With the compete level we saw yesterday, one hopes Forge FC under-estimates the Eddies. C’mon on you boys in blue!