Looking Forward: FC Edmonton
It can’t get any worse right?
The Eddies look to move on from a weak spring season performance in which the team produced a 2-3-5 record for only nine points in the standings and placing tenth overall, barely a point ahead of the Atlanta Silverbacks (soon to be officially unveiled as Atlanta United FC in MLS).
One could conclude from their 4-5-1 formation with a defensive midfielder shielding the backline that FC Edmonton is a defensive-minded team. The team’s 2013 and 2014 seasons suggest otherwise. For the past two combined seasons, the team relied on going goal-for-goal to maintain their standing in the middle of the pack. In the combined 2013 season, FC Edmonton allowed 26 goals while equaling that with 26 scored. In 2014, that stat line was 29 and 34, respectively.
In the 2015 spring season, the Eddies have already allowed 22 goals, 85% and 76% of goals allowed in the combined 2013 and 2014 seasons respectively. Looking at the last few losses, the primary issue is the combination of no control of the midfield despite such an inherent capability of a 4-5-1 and the lack of communication among the backline, resulting in open looks and garbage goals off of second chances. Defense will continue to be a primary concern as the team did nothing to shore up the backline, further verifying the team’s “score more” mentality. Can the defense get it together? They better hope so.
While the team has been historically capable of matching goals allowed in the two previous spring seasons with goals scored, they only scored 16 goals in 2015. Unfortunately, FC Edmonton can expect no reprieve from the offensive end for the fall season, as the team loses assist leader and joint top goalscorer Lance Laing to international duty for Jamaica in the upcoming Gold Cup. He is expected to miss, at the very least, the first three games of the fall season.
If FC Edmonton wish to salvage the second half of the combined season, they need to bolster their backline and bring in a creative player who can carry the load while Laing is unavailable and can support him for the remainder of the season. In terms of the latter, the Eddies recently signed Pablo Cruz, who previously played with the San Antonio Scorpions and Atlanta Silverbacks, earning three goals and three assists in the last fall season. In tandem with Cruz, FC Edmonton also signed Thiago de Freitas, who has spent most of his career overseas in Greece, Israel, Hungary, and Portugal. Whether these two midfielders can contribute to the Eddies’ attack remains to be seen, depending on their ability to gel with their teammates and the system.
Fall Prediction: Ninth
Coming off of a historically terrible spring season, I just don’t see FC Edmonton improving too far up in the tables, considering no significant changes were made to the backline. Furthermore, the Eddies lose Laing for its first three matches. While the team did bring in a creative, attack-oriented midfielder in Cruz, I don’t believe he can make an immediate meaningful impact. But, optimistically, I can see the Eddies moving up a spot in the tables.