My therapist says I need to try to focus on positives a little more, so, in that spirit, my puppy has learned to fetch, which should reduce distractions by a respectable 10-15%(1 whole BBQ duck worth of meat later). But good lord, that was a painful game.
Perhaps I should rephrase that. The game, itself, wasn’t horrible. The ending, though, a kick in the nuts.
The Canada Soccer live-stream music had me fired up for a rousing Canadian derby, which has been sorely lacking since Ottawa moved to USL. Game kicks off, and I thought the urgency was a little lacking – despite being away, I half-expected the Eddies to push the tempo. After all, the NASL’s narrative is that they are the true div 2(and USL are the punk-bitch Robin to MLS’s batman). They did seem like they tried, but there were precious little for chances for both squads in the opening 30.
And here’s where I start seeing some signs of writing on the wall. Nick Ledgerwood – if I was Colin Miller I would be inches away from Mike Milburying you. You’ve been given the captain’s armband, and you’re making both the tackles and the faces of a petulant child. You fully deserved that yellow, and If I was CM, I would have half a mind to give the armband back to Watson. You learn not to make faces like that in the dickensesque orphanage in Northern Ireland that he was raised in – or else you might get beat, and you definitely won’t get supper. Put your head down and play. Yes sir, no sir. Left foot, right foot. It’s an away game. No need to give them something to get excited about. Sure, the crowd is a non-factor in Ottawa, but if this is TFC or Miami you’re poking a hornets nest.
Alright, moving on. Colin Miller decided to take my advice (and for the record, I approve of his decision to prioritize the Canadian Championships and rest players against Miami, despite the result – the potential date with TFC is priority number one as far as I’m concerned) and give one of the younger keepers a go. Farago definitely had a few nervy moments, but going into half I was pleased. Theres always jitters when you aren’t playing regularly and you can’t blame a guy for that.
Nice little run from Fisk, good to see him carrying the ball again, and sends in a cross that Shiels and Ameobi got their signals crossed on. I’ll chalk that one up to a fresh face – understanding new teammates always takes time. Arguably the best chance of the first half goes over the bar.
Epic halftime music makes halftime homework epic.
2nd half starts – absolutely brilliant sliding tackle by Nicklaw to start the second half. Definite +1 in my little black book for him- could have easily been a red (or a goal) if he got it wrong, but he got it oh so right.
It’s at this point I’m starting to notice a trend for the Eddies, offensively. We talked about defensive gap control a few articles back – and that was good in this game, but their offensive gap control has my temper getting up again. If your right back gets the ball from your keeper, he should have AT LEAST 3 easy options for a pass(not including the keeper) – the centre back, the winger, and a central midfielder. He SHOULD NOT have to be giving it the old heave ho unless the red sea parts and he sees a glorious run by a striker. The whole team needs to be a bit tighter together offensively.
But despite this, FC Edmonton gets a glorious chance and some angel comes down from heaven to pick up Callum Irving to help him deny Allan Zebie. I could be mad at Zebie for failing to bury it, but I’m more concerned about patterns than one guy not bearing down on a chance. It happens. Just take a breath and tuck that one to bed next time, Allan.
All in all, I was ready to write up a run of the mill article about how a draw on the road in a two legged fixture is basically a mulligan, and that playing at Clarke should be a different story – but then, up steps Williams in the 88th to bury one.
Farago has got to communicate with the D that he’s got that one. Then again, I’ve made no shortage of mistakes in my twenties – who am I to judge – the only way to learn from your mistakes is to make them.
All to play for in the second leg.