Ed­dies seek re­turn to form

Club hosts Indy with an eye on vic­tory

Edmonton Sun - - SPORTS - DEREk Van Di­EST

The FC Edmonton Ed­dies are chalk­ing up last week­end’s em­bar­rass­ing home loss to North Carolina FC as a bad day at the of­fice.

Head­ing into their game Sun­day against the Indy Eleven (2 p.m.) at Clarke Sta­dium, FC Edmonton is look­ing at get­ting back to the form, which had them on a five-game un­de­feated streak be­fore fall­ing flat last week­end.

FC Edmonton is go­ing to need to start string­ing wins to­gether for any hope of qual­i­fy­ing for the North Amer­i­can Soc­cer League play­offs.

“I per­son­ally want to see a re­ac­tion from last Sun­day’s disas­ter,” said FC Edmonton head coach Colin Miller.

“That’s as poor as we’ve been since we were down in Puerto Rico (3-0 loss),” Miller con­tin­ued.

“I’m look­ing for a pos­i­tive re­ac­tion from the play­ers.”

Chas­ing a play­off spot and need­ing a vic­tory against North Carolina last week­end, FC Edmonton laid an egg.

They gave up two goals in­side the first 21 min­utes en route to a 3-0 loss.

On Sun­day, Miller is ex­pected to make a num­ber of changes to the start­ing lineup to try and chase a valu­able three points for a vic­tory.

“Sun­day for us is a gen­uine Cup Fi­nal that we have to win,” Miller said.

“We have ev­ery con­fi­dence that we can do it. The at­ti­tude has been great in train­ing, the re­ac­tion from such poor per­for­mance has been great this week,” Miller con­tin­ued.

“The com­pe­ti­tion for places is def­i­nitely heated up, and there will be changes for Sun­day.

“It’s just a case now, can we get the right re­ac­tion from our play­ers? Be­cause we haven’t been great at home.

“We’ve been hit­ting the post and cross­bars and huff­ing and puff­ing with­out man­ag­ing to get on the same sort of run that we man­aged last sea­son.”

The Ed­dies have yet to win a game at home in the NASL Fall Sea­son.

Both of their wins have come on the road, while their two losses have come at Clarke Sta­dium.

In seven games thus far, the Edmonton squad has nine points from two wins and three ties.

“I think maybe, we just ex­pected it to hap­pen (win at home), be­cause we were so good here last year,” said Ed­dies de­fender Al­bert Wat­son.

“It doesn’t hap­pen un­less you put the hard work in. We need to just get back to ba­sics and just do what we’re good at, at home.

“It’s that men­tal­ity that we have away from home, we knuckle down be­cause we know it’s go­ing to be hard ini­tially. So we need to get into that at­ti­tude at home, be­cause it’s just go­ing to hap­pen for us.”

Sun­day is the fifth time this sea­son FC Edmonton will face the Indy Eleven. Edmonton held Indy to a score­less tie on the road and won 2-1 at home in the Spring Sea­son.

Indy de­feated FC Edmonton 2-1 at Clarke Sta­dium in the first game of the Fall Sea­son. A week later, Edmonton played their best game of the year, de­feat­ing the Indy, on the road, 3-1.

“I re­mem­ber play­ing in the Scot­tish Premier League when we played each other four times and you’re not go­ing to spring any sur­prises on them,” Miller said. “There’s noth­ing we’re go­ing to do that’s go­ing to sur­prise Indy and there’s noth­ing they’re go­ing to do to sur­prise us.

“So from a prepa­ra­tion point of view, it’s on the day, who wants it more.

“I re­mem­ber (Indy head coach) Tim Hank­in­son telling me af­ter the game when we beat them there, that we were hun­grier than they were.”

FC Edmonton goes into the game tied for third in the Fall Sea­son stand­ing with the San Fran­cisco Deltas and Puerto Rico FC, two points back of North Carolina and seven be­hind lead­ers Mi­ami FC.

The Edmonton crew needs to win the Fall Sea­son or get into the top four in the com­bined stand­ings to qual­ify for the play­offs.

The Ed­dies are cur­rently 10 points off the play­off pace in the com­bined stand­ings, with three teams ahead of them for the fi­nal spot.

“It’s go­ing to be a good con­test on Sun­day, and we al­ways re­act well af­ter a loss be­cause of the char­ac­ter of our team,” Wat­son said.

“We have boys in the change room that will pull peo­ple up and get us go­ing again and, hope­fully, get a win on Sun­day.

“And that’s what we need.” @DerekVanDi­est

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