The NASL club lost to Canadian rivals Vancouver Whitecaps, while World Cup winner Kleberson scored in his preseason debut with Indy Eleven.Despite missing some regular starters, NASL's FC Edmonton held its own against a strong Vancouver Whitecaps FC side at Thunderbird Stadium on Tuesday.
The Eddies squad looked different than previous preseason matches. John Smits earned his first start of 2014 in goal, Mike Banner filled in at left back with Albert Watson and Kareem Moses in central defense and Michael Nonni playing out on the right. Hanson Boakai started on the left wing with Milton Blanco and Ritchie Jones in the center and Daryl Fordyce out right. New signing Tomi Ameobi and Frank Jonke started up front.
The ‘Caps kicked it all off in the 4th minute with a goal from Uruguayan international Sebastián Fernández, who slid it calmly passed Smits in net. The Eddies answered less than two minutes later with a darting run down the near side from young Boakai who crossed it perfectly for Ameobi to head by ‘Caps keeper Paulo Tornaghi. Both sides level at 1-1.
The scoreline lasted for less than a minute as right after kickoff, first-team goal-scorer Kekuta Manneh doubles the home team’s lead and took the ‘Caps up 2-1. Vancouver once again found the back of the net thanks to Eric Hurtado in the 17th minute to make it 3-1.
The Eddies pulled one back in the 26th minute on Fordyce’s corner kick. His cross into the box once again found Ameobi, who headed it in for his second and FCE’s second goal of the match.
However, the ‘Caps added to their tally a few minutes before the halftime whistle with Manneh’s second goal of the match to make the score heading into halftime 4-2.
The second half began with Tyson Farago in net to replace first half ‘keeper John Smits. The next substitution happened in the 67th minute when Boakai was replaced by Horace James. Following that, Sadi Jalali came on for Ameobi and Edem Mortotsi came on for Jones. Marko Aleksic was the last substitution of the match in the 83rd minute as he came on for Moses.
The Eddies took more control of the second half and were able to create more scoring opportunities, but could not find the back of the net. ‘Keeper Farago kept the scoreline unchanged after he touched a free kick over the crossbar.
The final score remained 4-2 in Vancouver’s favor as the final whistle blew.
“They were four very poor goals to give away for our standard,” said FCE head coach Colin Miller after the match. “We improved defensively in the second half, but it was a talented, young Whitecaps group that we played against today. I think it was a good reality check for the players.”
The Eddies wrap up preseason training camp in BC on April 5 as the team heads back to Edmonton. FC Edmonton’s season starts on April 12 against the Tampa Bay Rowdies in St. Petersburg Florida.
Indy Eleven fall to Chicago Fire
A lone second-half goal from Indy Eleven midfielder Kleberson in his unofficial debut was not enough to overcome the Chicago Fire’s strong first-half form, as the NASL expansion side fell 3-1 to the MLS squad in a preseason matchup at the Boilermaker Soccer Complex.
Kleberson’s tally came during a better second half of play for the home side, but could not erase a three-goal deficit built by Chicago in the first half.
“Chicago was a great opponent, and we want to play quality competition like that because it shows us where our strengths and weaknesses are tactically and what we need to continue to work on as the season approaches,” said Indy Eleven head coach Juergen Sommer. “That’s why we played this game, to continue to do what we need to get sharp and prepare for Friday and then, more importantly the opener the following week.”
Chicago came out of the gates firing on all cylinders and showed no sign of slowing down in the first 45 minutes of play. The Fire enjoyed the bulk of possession and the majority of attacking opportunities in the opening stanza and opened the scoring just six minutes in when defender Lovel Palmer nodded home a corner kick from 10 yards out. In the 24th minute it was forward Luis Anongano’s turn to head in a cross from the right flank, doubling the Chicago advantage.
Although Indy Eleven’s front line was able to get into a few dangerous attacking positions, Fire goalkeeper Kyle Reynish went largely untested in the first half. Indy Eleven almost got into the locker room down just two goals, but Fire forward Chris Rolfe’s far right post finish past Eleven netminder Kristian Nicht in the 45th minute brought the Fire lead to 3-0 heading into the break.
The second half saw the introduction of Indy Eleven’s newest signing, as the World Cup champion Kleberson replaced Pedro Mendes at the interval. The midfield combination of Corby Moore, Kleberson, Brad Ring and A.J. Corrado saw Indy Eleven start to control more possession in the center of the park. One of Indy’s better scoring opportunities on the night came in the 69th minute when Don Smart broke free and looked to get in on goal but was clipped from behind about 30 yards from goal. On the ensuing free kick Kleberson put the ball into the mixer but was unable to find the head of an Eleven teammate.
Indy Eleven was finally rewarded for its improved second-half form when Fire defender Chris Ritter armed down the ball in the box while attempting to make a clearance. The referee awarded the penalty, which Kleberson stepped up to take without hesitation before slotting low past the correct-guessing Alec Mann in goal to give the Brazilian his first unofficial tally in Indy Eleven checkers and bring the match to its eventual 1-3 scoreline.
“It was great to see Kleberson get out there. You can see the qualities he brings to the game,” said Sommer. “For us it was important to give him a good 45 minutes to get his fitness up and watch the first 45 minutes to get a gauge of what his teammates’ tendencies are and learn about the group a little more.”
Indy Eleven won’t have much time to dwell on the loss, as the squad will close out its spring exhibition schedule this Friday, April 4, when it welcomes the Indiana University Hoosiers to its home of Michael A. Carroll Stadium at IUPUI for a 7:30 p.m. ET.
Watch every match at NASLLive.com
Soccer fans around the world will be able to ‘Watch Every Match Live’ throughout the 2014 North American Soccer League season, which kicks off on the weekend of April 12/13.
By subscribing to either a 30-day pass or a season access pass at www.NASLLive.com, soccer fans can access all 135 matches during the 2014 NASL Spring and Fall Seasons.
Throughout the month of April, the NASL is offering a 10-day free trial to enjoy the weekly broadcasts as the league’s 10 teams battle to reach the postseason and compete in The Championship for the coveted Soccer Bowl trophy.
“Our clubs have significantly improved the standard of their broadcast capabilities during the offseason to enable us to bring a quality product to our online viewers,” said NASL commissioner Bill Peterson. “There will be no more away games for fans because they will be able to capture the excitement of every match in their own home, or wherever they may be.”
Soccer fans throughout the world will also be able to follow along at the NASL Live Match Center where they can enjoy comprehensive live stats, interact through social media while watching the NASL Live stream, and enjoy a fully interactive viewing experience.
A 30-day subscription to NASL Live will cost $4.99, while a Season Pass will also be available for $29.99 and will expire on November 30, 2014. Following the 10-day free trial, users will be charged for whichever option they select at sign up and will have an option to cancel the subscription before a charge is made to their credit card. In order to qualify for the free trial, users must register prior to April 30, 2014.
The full season broadcast schedule is available at NASL.com, outlining this season’s matches and streaming information. Subscribers will also have access to additional premium video content, such as exclusive player and coach interviews and more, throughout the season.
The NASL Live platform will be provided by PERFORM, which commercializes multimedia sports content across internet-enabled digital platforms, driving revenues through a mix of content distribution, advertising and sponsorship, the development and management of subscription platforms and technology and production.