FC Edmonton vs. Vancouver Whitecaps | Canadian Championship Match Preview
FC Edmonton vs. Vancouver Whitecaps
Clarke Field, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Amway Canadian Championship semifinals, second
May 20, 10 pm ET
Two weeks after the Vancouver Whitecaps and FC Edmonton were supposed to take the field at Clarke Stadium to kick off their Canadian Championship series, they’ll play the fixture under very different circumstances.
After snow rendered the field in Edmonton unplayable in their originally scheduled May 6 match, the two teams swapped legs, and the Eddies took advantage in what became last week’s first leg in Vancouver, taking a 1-1 draw from BC Place.
The result means there is little margin for error in the Whitecaps' quest to win the first Voyageurs Cup in club history. A win will see them through to the final against Montreal, as will a draw by a scoreline of 2-2 or higher. A scoreless draw, meanwhile, would hand Edmonton their first semifinal series win in tournament history thanks to their away goal, while a 1-1 draw presents the possibility of extra time and potentially penalty kicks if neither team can break through in the additional 30 minutes.
Head coach Carl Robinson featured his young Whitecaps players prominently last week – a completely different lineup to the one that lost 2-0 to Seattle on Saturday – but with the series on the line, don’t be surprised if a few tweaks are made. Mauro Rosales is a candidate to return after injury, Robert Earnshaw could add some experience up top after coming off the bench in the first leg, and a stronger back line is likely to take the field on Wednesday evening.
Finding the right balance is a tough proposition for Robinson and the ‘Caps, who will then play six of their next seven MLS games on the road, but the boost a Voyageurs Cup win could provide to both the team and the fans will surely be an alluring prospect as the coach lays out his plans.
The Opponent – What you need to know about FC Edmonton
Coach: Colin Miller (Canada)
Position: 10th in 11-team NASL (1-3-2; 5 pts, 11 GF/15 GA)
Despite the encouraging result at BC Place, Edmonton have been having a rough go of it in league play. They’ve dropped their last two matches, conceding seven goals in the process, though they’ve also scored four in that period.
It’s nothing new – scoring has not been the problem for the Eddies. They co-lead the NASL with 11 goals, while forward Tomi Ameobi and midfielder Ritchie Jones are among those tied for second place on the league’s scoring charts. Forward Daryl Fordyce also joined the scoring party with a pair of goals on Sunday, while Jamaican international Lance Lang has two goals and a co-league-leading three assists after posting a seven-goal, six-assist season in 2014.
The concerning part for head coach Colin Miller is the back line, which is now averaging 2.5 goals conceded per game after a 4-2 loss to the New York Cosmos and 3-2 loss this past weekend to the San Antonio Scorpions.
One to Watch: Tomi Ameobi – The well-traveled 26-year-old, who is the younger brother of Premier League veteran Shola Ameobi, seems to have found a good fit in Canada after a career in the English lower leagues, plus stops in Iceland and Finland. After a reasonably productive six-goal haul in 2014, he has now scored in each of the Eddies’ last six games across all competitions and will need to be watched carefully by the ‘Caps.