A goal from Brazilian midfielder Kléberson gave the visiting Indy Eleven a 1-0 victory over FC Edmonton to a crowd of 3,152 at Clarke Stadium which debuted a brand new turf on Sunday afternoon.
FCE had a jump in their step early in the first half with a few solid opportunities. Lance Laing got a chance in the 3rd minute after a defensive misfire from the Indy Eleven led to a low cross inside the penalty area but Laing fired it just wide of the post. Minutes later, a high cross into the box found the head of Horace James who put it just over the crossbar.
The first half continued to be all Eddies as they kept the majority of the possession and boasted the best scoring opportunities of either side. When Indy did get in close with some chances, FCE ‘keeper John Smits stood up to the challenge with a couple highlight worthy saves.
It looked as though the Eddies were finally going to get on the board in the 19th minute when a through ball from James found a streaking Lance Laing, who had the room on the left flank and chipped it beautifully over Indy’s ‘keeper before it rang off the crossbar and out. Not two minutes later, a Neil Hlavaty strike from the top of the eighteen had a similar fate as it looked like the Eddies could beat everything but the iron in the first half.
The amount of scoring opportunities tapered off in the last 20 minutes and the teams traded possession for the rest of the half. However, neither team could find the back of the net and the score at the whistle remained 0-0.
“Sometimes it seems almost like a physically impossibility what we manage to do inside the opposition’s18-yard-box,” said FCE head coach Colin Miller. “Can’t fault the guys, they’ve been terrific at times in that first half and created a number of scoring opportunities.”
The 83rd minute saw the best opportunity of the second half for the Eddies when a newly subbed-on Michael Nonni cranked a ball after a run up the right side but a familiar storyline dictated the outcome as the ‘keeper got a touch on it and it deflected off the crossbar for the third time in the match.
It was in the three minutes of added extra time that the deadlock was finally broken. A defensive breakdown on the part of FC Edmonton lead to a scramble inside their own penalty area that ended in Indy Eleven midfielder Kleberson tucking the ball past Smits and into the corner of the net. The Eddies would not have enough time to respond and Indy would go on to claim an important three points in a 1-0 victory over the Eddies on the road as the three hit crossbars came back to haunt FCE in extra time.
"We knew coming here it would be a competitive match and one goal could decide it," said Indy Eleven coach Juergen Sommer. "We knew we'd have our hands full today and it could have gone either way. We were fortunate with our finishing piece in the 90th minute we did well and came away with the three points today."