FC Edmonton kick off the Canadian Premier League’s Island Games against North Star Shield holders Forge FC on Prince Edward Island Sunday. And Hamilton’s club won’t want to give it up easily.
FC Edmonton searching more goals
A major issue for the Eddies last year was a lack of scoring. Often, FC Edmonton were forced to aggressively hunt for goals in the final minutes as they played catch-up. This frequently led to defensive mistakes.
Last year 39 per cent of the goals scored against the Eddies were scored in the last 20 minutes of the game, according to footystats.org. They also failed to score in 43 per cent of their games. Those problems needed addressing.
New faces for FC Edmonton
FC Edmonton has made changes to address these offense problems by bringing in Hanson Boakai and Kevan Aleman and releasing Ajeej Sarkaria and Randy Edwini-Bonsu.
Boakai and Aleman look like good additions who’ll support emerging goal scorer Easton Ongaro, especially considering Raul Tito couldn’t join up with Edmonton due to COVID-19 restrictions and Edem Mortotsi not being available because of an undisclosed injury.
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The keys to success for the Eddies will be getting and playing with a lead or being level at half time. Last year the Eddies were 2-1-2 against Forge – with many of the games being close. This proves they can compete.
But getting the first goal will be crucial if the Eddies want to succeed this year. It’s a difficult balance but they’ll need to maintain pressure in the offensive third while maintaining their great defensive structure.
Defensive fitness key at Island Games
The defensive core has been strengthened with Ramon Soria possibly moving to his more natural position at centre-back.
FC Edmonton also brought in Sam Gardner, Terique Mohammed, and Duran Lee to help build their depth and improve their overall fitness, which will be important given the short window between games at the Island Games. Depth will be key.
Forge FC still strong upfront despite Borges absence
Forge FC drew their opening game against Cavalry FC Thursday and will be eager to get their first win of the competition versus FC Edmonton Sunday.
On paper, Forge could be less of a threat offensively without 2019 CPL Player of the Year Tristan Borges, who left for Belgium in the off-season. However, that doesn’t leave the current champs with no offensive potential.
Forge FC still has some offensive talent in Kadell Thomas, David Choiniere, Kyle Bekker and newly signed Mo Babouli, who could find a way to replace the talented Borges.
But if the Eddies want to send a message that they are here to play for a championship, it would be by beating the current champions right out of the gate.PHOTOGRAPHERS & WRITERS WANTED: Total Soccer News is looking for photographers and writers to help cover the Canadian Premier League in 2020. Click to learn more.