“It’ll be job number one in-between seasons to try and bring a striker who can score goals” – FCE coach Colin Miller

FC Edmonton head coach Colin Miller didn’t hide his frustration at the lack of finishing after the Eddies fell to San Francisco for the third time, this time by a 1-0 score line at Clarke Field. Edmonton could have won this game by three or four goals, but unfortunately they lacked the killer instinct. Shawn Nicklaw’s first-half own-goal was enough for the visitors to secure all three points on the road.

NASL Spring Season
Nathan Ingham can only watch as the ball goes off teammate Shawn Nicklaw and into the net. Photo Credit: Tony Lewis

“It’ll be job number one in-between seasons to try and bring a striker who can score goals,”  FC Edmonton head-coach said post-game. “You can’t possibly miss the chances that we are missing at the moment and expect to win games. The guys are putting in a heck of a shift game in and game out and we were far better in the second half. We score goals for fun in training, but unfortunately when the three points are there we have been unable to finish. It’s also a criminal goal to give away at this level of football.”

All the ingredients were there for a perfect Saturday in Edmonton. The sun was shining, clear blue skies and a packed stands at Clarke Field for a third game in a row. All that was missing was goals and a convincing win. However, despite a good performance, the Eddies created chance after chance but were unable to beat Romauld Peiser and Delta’s defence. Dean Shiels could have had a pair of goals in yesterday’s 1-0 loss. His two best chances came in each half, the first one came after Ben Fisk sent the 31-year-old midfielder on a breakaway following a neat through ball, but Shiels was denied by Peiser.

North American Soccer League
Dean Shiels watches his shot trickle just wide of the far-post in yesterday’s 1-0 loss. Photo Credit: Tony Lewis


His second chance came after Tomi Ameobi’s sharp run in-behind the Delta’s defence was picked out by Adam Straith with a neat pass overtop. After holding off two Delta’s defenders, Ameobi displayed some neat footwork to dribble past his markers, before rightly so, laying the ball off to Shiels. But the former Rangers player fired his shot right at San Francisco defender Kenny Teijsse despite having most the net to aim for.

Edmonton’s bad luck and inability to score continued in the first half. They came inches away from levelling the match through Abdoulaye Diakite. Straith found Diakite with a cushioned header across the Delta’s net, and the Senegalese defender directed his header past Peiser, but unfortunately he was denied by the crossbar.

NASL Spring Season
Abdoulaye Diakite hits the crossbar with his header in the first half. Photo Credit: Tony Lewis

Jake Keegan was brought on in the second half for Straith, who might’ve just played his last game for FC Edmonton. Keegan was found by Sainey Nyassi, who did so well to put the ball inside the box, but Keegan was unable to find the back of the net despite being left unmarked from in-close.

There was some heroics between the posts from Nathan Ingham. The 23-year-old continues to show he is ready to be the number one ‘keeper. Ingham was tested twice by free-kick efforts and he made two strong saves on both occasions. The highlight of the night and probably a contender for NASL play of the Week was the trip save from the Canadian. Kyle Bekker had two back-to-back efforts denied by Ingham and after the ball bounced off the cross bar, Devon Sandoval thought he had doubled his teams lead, but Ingham came up huge with a third save.

“We played very well and we were on the losing side again, it’s hard to take,” Miller said post-game. “There are 21 games to go, so there is a lot of games to be played. Anything is possible, but you have to put the ball in the opposition net. It’s very disappointing, [the deltas’s] have taken nine points from us this season and that’s difficult to take because I don’t think there is nine points between the two teams and they’re second in the standings.”

NASL Spring Season
Ameobi forcing Peiser into a brave save during yesterday’s 1-0 loss against San Francisco. Photo Credit: Tony Lewis

The good news for Edmonton is that they created several good goal scoring opportunities against the second best team in the league. It’s only a matter of time until these missed chances find the back of the net. Eddies striker Ameobi looked to have found some of his confidence back since his two goal performance against New York Cosmos. The Newcastle product should’ve had a goal during the last home game versus Miami FC, but his goal was controversially disallowed. His hold up play and overall work ethic is getting better and he’s creating chances for his teammates. Between Ameobi and Keegan, both strikers are getting good scoring opportunities and it’s just a matter of time till everything clicks. When it does, the Eddies will be hoping that it lasts a long time.


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