FC Edmonton calms the Fury
Eddies go on to Amway Canadian Championship semifinal next week
FC Edmonton head coach Colin Miller believes there is more to come after his club eliminated the Ottawa Fury FC from the Amway Canadian Championship on Wednesday.
The Eddies recorded a second straight 3-1 victory, this time in front of 1,858 fans at Clarke Field, to wrap up the home-andhome series and advance to the semifinal round, which starts next Wednesday with a home game against the Major League Soccer-leading Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
Edmonton was quick to dash Ottawa’s hopes, scoring 10 minutes into the second leg. Striker Tomi Ameobi tapped in a rebound off Fury goalkeeper Romuald Peiser, who had stopped a Christian Raudales volley a second earlier.
Eddies star Lance Laing then made his presence felt by picking up an assist on Sainey Nyassi’s 14th-minute goal. The left-side winger curled a long cross to Nyassi, who booted the ball high past Peiser from in close.
“We brought Sainey in to do exactly what he’s doing and Lance Laing has been sending in quality crosses to set things up for us,” Miller said about his team’s recent run of offence (nine goals in the last three games).
Laing was carted off the field before the first half ended with an apparent leg injury, but he was walking with a limp in the lockerroom after the match and didn’t think the injury was as serious as it looked. “Just a little bit of a knock to the knee, so it was a precaution, nothing else,” said Miller.
If Laing is forced to miss an extended amount of time, it could be a disaster for the team, which looks to be on the rise in the North American Soccer League table. The Jamaican has two goals and four assists in only five games this season.
Michael Nonni took Laing’s spot in the lineup in the second half.
The Fury were aggressive and stronger in possession than a more counter-attack oriented Edmonton squad and it led to Ottawa’s first goal. Defender Ryan Richter chipped an aerial volley over Edmonton’s Matt Van Oekel to narrow the lead to 2-1.
The rest of the first half was highlighted by some big stops by Peiser and some questionable officiating. In the 32nd minute, the Ottawa keeper turned aside a pair of good chances back-to-back, stopping Ritchie Jones from in close and Daryl Fordyce.
“To be honest, with the chances we created, we could have scored a few goals tonight,” Miller said. “Ottawa has some excellent goaltending.”
Edmonton were lucky the game remained 2-1 in its favour after captain Albert Watson took down Ottawa’s Andrew Wiedeman in the penalty box.
“It’s tough,” Fury coach Martin Nash said. “It looked to me like it was a penalty. But to still give away six goals (in two games) is not acceptable.”
Fordyce finally ended Edmonton’s season-long penalty drought in the 81st minute after Nonni cut into the box and was hauled down by a Fury defender. Fordyce lined up at the spot and ripped the top corner rocket past Peiser for the 3-1 lead.
“Fair play to the guys before, I’ll never criticize the guys who step up before,” Miller said. “When Fordyce does it, he does it right.”
The Eddies have to put any thoughts of playing the Whitecaps on the back burner because they are back in action at 2 p.m. Sunday against NASL powerhouse Minnesota United FC at Clarke Field.
“We have a bigger game on Sunday against Minnesota United. That’s where our focus is,” said Miller.