FC Edmonton at home to Indianapolis Eleven
Post-secondary induced stress has increased a manageable-yet-significant 34% over the past month and thankfully I’ve been more productive than this cough (and nearly as persistent) – but last night was exactly what the doctor ordered, both for myself and for the Eddies.
The sun was shining, Dad was in town and despite the ridiculous traffic on gateway I managed to get to my seat just prior to kickoff. Even my uncles’ lack of understanding for the rules and apparent cluelessness couldn’t wet blanket my evening (Love him, but not yet a soccer guy).
Indy, despite my admiration for their playing style, were the opponent we needed right now. The Eddies took it to them pretty much right off the hop (get it?), and the pitch seemed tilted from the opening whistle. It was a gawd-damn gorgeous summer evening in Edmonton. The Wild Roses will be blooming in the River Valley soon enough.
(As a bit of an aside, it almost seems unfair to Edmonton to start the season when we do and expect people to turn out in droves. This was probably the first evening that it was enjoyable to be sitting outdoors, and if I was Paul Beirne or whoever ends up being the commissioner of #CanPL, I would have a long sit down with the owners from cities with more favourable weather than places like Edmonton and Winnipeg and see if they might consider starting the season a bit later than the traditional NASL and MLS starting points. Bob Young said it best – it’s not about having mega-deep pocketed owners so much as it is about having the right business model – and I worry that games in late April in Winnipeg, Edmonton, Regina and Saskatoon may struggle to draw fair-weather fans (every sport needs them). If that means long road trips to start the season for those teams, well, so be it.)
Getting back to the Eddies – we certainly caught a break on our penalty kick. Corea sent it off the bar on his first attempt, but luckily for him, the ref deemed that Indy’s defenders encroached before he hit it (I guess the stutter step has it’s place). He coolly converted his second attempt, and good for him, because no one wants to be the guy who flubs two penalties.
In terms of the run of play, I think this was Corea’s best game that I’ve seen (at least this season). He certainly had his rabbit’s feet on in the second half. He may not have got a second goal, but he was taking guys on one-on-one and causing all sorts of issues for Indy’s D – at one point dribbling around 3 or 4 on one play. I’m sure Colin Miller won’t want to see him overdo it, but as a former offensive player, I was happy to see his tail was up. Defenders rarely seem to understand you almost need to be a little cocky to score goals in bunches. I’d like to see all of our front 4(wingers/strikers/attacking mid) show a little more of this Muhammad Ali swagger.
It was nice to see Straith pick up his first as an Eddie. It was a well-taken header (they always teach you to head the ball downwards if you can) and judging by the team’s reaction, he seems to be settling in well. It’s always nice to see the strong-silent types pick up points.
All in all there was a lot to like about this game (Indy had a little late rally, but the Eddies held on to win with only one major nervy moment), and part of me wondered if it had something to do with an interaction that happened on the Loyal Company of The River Valley podcast. Jake Keegan was on, being interviewed by Adam and Nathan, and when asked what the difference between this season and last season was, he seemed to have an “ah-ha moment” talking about having someone in the locker room who was a joker and kept things light.
It seems like such a trivial thing, and some cynics will say “oh, they’re professionals, it shouldn’t matter if they’re having fun” but at the end of the day humans are humans, and I sincerely hope Keegan takes it on himself now to be the Joker he seemed to realize they were missing. It’s funny how life just seems to click when you feel like the person next to you is having fun.
Lastly, I want to talk a little bit about social media again for a minute. I don’t really know how to begin, so I’m just going to say it. I feel like many of us in the Canadian Soccer community need to tweet/post less and like/favourite/retweet more. I know Facebook seems eager to let you know that you’re followers haven’t heard from you recently – but there is such a thing as follower fatigue.
Perception is everything – what looks more “big-league” – a thousand posts with ten likes, or ten posts with a thousand likes? Canadian Soccer and FC Edmonton aren’t Chris Pratt (that’d be the Oilers) – they can’t play “what’s my snack” on Snapchat at 3am and have four-thousand teenage girls (and my fiancé) tuning in. We’re more the Jeff Goldblum type. We’re appreciated, and if we’re up to something major our fans want to know, but we shouldn’t get too carried away either.
Oh – and Dallas (I think) – if you’re going to try to transplant the supporters section noise to either the grandstand or big blue – you’re just gonna need to be a little louder, a little drunker, a little sooner. Had the game went on much longer you would have had that whole side chanting “Come On You Eddies!” – Keep it up you beauty.