The game began right around 5:00 MST over in Hamilton as FC Edmonton looked to gain some ground in the short spring season. Having only played three games up to this point (the lowest total in the league), the Eddies looked worse off in the standings than they probably were but today’s game would be essential to come away with 3 big points if the Eddies do hope to compete for the Spring title. I said the game started at 5:00 but you wouldn’t know it if you were trying to watch the game live through the leagues only streaming options OneSoccer.ca. I came home from work a little later than 5:00 and quickly rushed to my computer to see if I had missed anything but alas I came up empty handed because the stream wasn’t working. When I tried all I could watch was the York 9 vs HFX match, eventually around the 30 minute mark or so the stream popped up but there was no commentary and being relatively new to the game of soccer I love listening to the commentary because it can help give insights into why things are playing out the way they are.
Though maybe having the stream up running was a bad thing because it wasn’t long after the stream started working Tristen Borges (was hauled down) dove inside the box very cleverly to bait the official into giving him a penalty kick. Borges the current top scorer in the league made no mistake putting the ball into the top right as Connor James dove left in the 35th minute to give Forge the 1-0 lead.
Other than giving up 2 goals on 2 penalty kicks this season, in my opinion Connor James has to be the teams early front runner for MVP. He has seemingly been all-world for FC Edmonton keeping them in games they have no business being in. He is quickly becoming my favourite player. It helps that he came out of the University of Alberta here in Edmonton, anytime an athlete comes out of the U of A they find their way into my good books very quickly. Though the fact that the goalkeeper has been the Eddies MVP so far is a little disappointing since coach Paulus said before the season began that he wanted the team to be a fast paced attacking team, yet they have gone goalless in 3 out of 4 matches and haven’t scored since game one of the season. I’m not sure what the fix is for their offence but they need to find one fast they are bone dry in the goals department right now.
Quickly after the Borges goal the feed cut out again which was disappointing, it came back just in time for the half time whistle. Forge outshot Edmonton 4-1, shots on target 3-0 in the first half even though FC Edmonton was credited with 58% of the possession. With a large amount of the possession that doesn’t seem to be the Eddies problem but perhaps getting into the box and making the most of their chances is what seems to be plaguing them. The are generating very few shots, from my untrained eye I see a lack of urgency about getting the ball to towards the net. Maybe going forward they need to start taking some shots from outside the box and then bang around in the box for a rebound or a deflection. Get to the dirty areas and grease one into the net. The Eddies are trying to be to fancy and perfect to my eye, they need a few greasy ones to get their confidence up. Just look to the deflection goal Jordan Brown scored for Cavalry FC against the Eddies a shot from outside the box, then Brown (though a very skilled deflection) deflects it in from inside the box to give them the lead they needed to shut down Edmonton.
The Eddies then made some adjustments in the second half and Forge moved into a more defensive style of play so the Eddies attack looked quite a bit more dangerous though there weren’t any major scoring chances. Since my feed kept cutting in and out I relied on FC Edmonton twitter to help me understand what was going on and as the game moved past the 60 minute mark it seemed that over and over again the Eddies were tweeting praises for Connor James as he made stop after stop. Though he alone couldn’t hold back the Forge attack forever and off of a Forge corner Daniel Krutzen put the ball behind James to give the home side from Hamilton the 2-0 lead in the 70th minute.
Randy Edwini-Bonsu came on as a sub in the 60th minute and he placed the only shot on target of the night for the Eddies and had two of their 4 shots in the whole game. Son Yongchan came in, in the 84th. with those two coming in as subs in this game and not starting like they have in the Eddies other games this season, i’d expect they were saving them for their game on Saturday at home vs Valour FC (Winnipeg). Overall it was a lacklustre performance from the Eddies and I would hope they are hungry for a goal or two as the come home to play their second home match of the season.
FC Edmonton Man of the Match
For me the man of the match, as has been the case for most of the games so far this season is Connor James. He had more than his fair share of work and did an admirable job defending the goal tonight.