FC Edmonton, along with all other Canadian Premier League teams, are now back training after the pause brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. And if reports are to be believed, they are preparing for a yet to be unannounced shortened single-location 2020 season.
But, has FC Edmonton done enough to be championship contenders in the possible makeshift 2020 season?
FC Edmonton has historically produced defensively solid teams that can sometimes struggle to score goals. Last season’s results are evidence of that.
Edmonton was the third best defensive team last year behind championship finalists Cavalry FC and Forge FC, with 33 goals conceded across both Spring and Fall competitions. But, Edmonton only managed to score 27 goals in 28 matches – the league’s second worst record – three behind Valour FC and six more than HFX Wanderers.
However, those fortunes might be changing.
Building offensive creativity and flexibility
FC Edmonton Interim General Manager and Head Coach Jeff Paulus has focused on increasing his club’s offensive potential. With the additions of the attack-minded Hanson Boakai and Raul Tito down the wings, Paulus appears to be building offensive creativity and structural flexibility. He’s looking to diversify the attack, rather than simply looking for crosses into the box for Easton Ongaro or Tomi Ameobi.
Erik Zetterberg and Keven Aleman have been added in midfield. These additions along with Allan Zebie and Edem Mortotsi will add some midfield stability and depth after Paulus stated in a OneSoccer hangout he was looking to return Ramon Soria back to his more natural position of centre back.
FC Edmonton has solid defensive core and strong in goal
On defense, FC Edmonton appears to be strengthening a back line that already boasts Canadian international Amer Đidić. Moving Soria, and new signing Duran Lee, into a rotation of centre backs increases the depth in the defense alongside Mele Temguia and Kareem Moses.
Goalkeeping is one of FC Edmonton’s strengths. They arguably have the best tandem in goal with Connor James and Dylan Powley. The pair combined for eight clean sheets last year.
FC Edmonton has looked to bring some U-21 options into the team by bringing back former academy players Antony Caceres and Chance Carter through the U-Sports Draft. Forwards David Doe, Prince Amanda and Marcus Velado-Tsegaye may have an opportunity to shine as second-year players and will likely be brought into the game through substitution to help fill the U-21 minutes.
FC Edmonton has brought in depth and strengthened their positions across the field. The formation that would help them overall would be a 4-2-3-1 taking advantage of the attacking players, Tito, Aleman and Boakai supporting attacks from both sides and through the middle as needed. It would also give them flexibility to move to a 4-4-2 or 4-3-3 as required on defense.
Ameobi looking to break club records
This year some team records could be broken. Tomi Ameobi could become the all-time leading scorer and have the most appearances for the team with eight appearances (141 apps in total) and five goals (35 goals total) in all competitions and would be a great achievement for the veteran striker in his four, hopefully soon to be five years at the club.
Whenever the season starts, FC Edmonton should be in a good position to start the season off well and could be contending for the playoffs, depending on the eventual 2020 CPL format.