Smoke, Smoke, go away, come again another day. Originally scheduled to lay at Clarke Stadium on Saturday, FC Edmonton’s match against Valour FC was postponed until Sunday morning due to bad air quality due to the substantial wildfires burning throughout Alberta. Before the game began FC Edmonton put on a pancake breakfast for fans who came before the game started which was a cool thing to see and definitely adds to the very family orientated set up the Eddies seem to be promoting on game days.
The game kicked off at 10:30am with Eddies fans hoping for a win but more importantly hoping for a goal from the home side as they had gone without a goal in their previous 3 games. Alas a goal wasn’t to be found as Valour came out of the match with a 1-0 clean sheet, driving the Eddies goalless streak to 4 games.
It’s unfortunate that the Eddies can’t find a way to put the ball in the back of the net, not scoring in 4 of your first 5 games is not a great way to draw in fans and try to build your brand in a new league. I believe the Canadian Premier League will find it’s niche in the Canadian sports landscape but the Eddies aren’t making it easy on themselves. Especially considering the massive opportunity to bring in fans while the CFL was still in training camp. Combine that with the beginning of the CEBL (Canadian Elite Basketball League), and the rise in popularity of basketball due to the Toronto Raptors run to the NBA finals, which i’m sure is having a positive influence for the Edmonton Stingers basketball club. It is a huge missed opportunity to capture the casual fan who is looking to spend his money at a summer sporting event.
As for the game itself, there were a couple chances either way in the first half but not a lot of substance, nothing dangerous either way.
In the 79th minute Micheal Petrasso, who did have a brilliant run into the box earlier in the game ran down the right flank and crossed a beautiful ball into the box that Ali Musse managed to get a leg on. It wasn’t a very effective strike but he got just enough on it to beat Connor James and put Valour up 1-0. That’s how it would stay until the final whistle blew. Though after a decent ball into the box youngster (17 y/o) Marcus Velado-Tsegaye nearly found the back of the net from in close but the Valour keeper managed a touch on the ball to send it away from danger. Velado-Tsegaye has impressed me coming off the bench the few times I’ve seen him, though he’s only 17 I’d love to see him get a chance in the Starting lineup in the near future. He has been one of the most dangerous options up front for the Eddies and while they are starved for goals he seems to provide a bit of an offensive spark every time he comes onto the pitch.
Connor James in extra time in the second half was faced with a huge one-on-one breakaway chance for Valour but played it to perfection getting a foot on the ball and deflecting it far away from the net. It seems that every single game James is making big save after big save and definitely the Eddies MVP of the spring season.
FC EDMONTON Man of the Match
Marcus Velado-Tsegaye : I wanted to give the award to Connor James again but i’m getting fatigued from having to give the Man of the Math to the keeper game after game. So today’s Man of the Match is the 17 year old Velado-Tsegaye who came on as a substitution and gave the eddies a spark with 4 shots, including 2 on target.
Shots are something the Eddies are lacking, they are still trying to be too pretty making too many passes inside the box. They need to shoot more, get balls on target and Velado-Tsegaye is doing just that right now.
Velado-Tsegaye is a product of the FC Edmonton academy and played his youth soccer in Edmonton. To see local products getting their chances is something that I think is special about CPL for Canadian fans and it’s an important aspect to continue to develop if this league is going to thrive.