FC Edmonton played to a 1-1 draw with University of British Columbia Thunderbirds as the rain in Vancouver held off for almost 90 minutes at Thunderbird Stadium on Saturday, March 29.
The Eddies started off the match with Lance Parker between the posts and Michael Nonni, Albert Watson, Kareem Moses and Lance Laing making up the back four. In midfield, Neil Hlavaty was along the right wing, with Milton Blanco and Ritchie Jones in central midfield and Mike Banner along the left. Up front, Daryl Fordyce and Frank Jonke played as strikers for the first 70 minutes of the match.
It was the Thunderbirds who struck first. In the 35th minute, UBC striker Naill Cousens, who put the Eddies back line under plenty of pressure in the first half hour, finished a low cross passed Parker to put the home side up by one, a scoreline that remained heading into the half.
FC Edmonton started off the second half with no substitutions and it took until the 54th minute for the Eddies to find an equalizer. A dangerous run down the far side saw Laing send in a cross, but it was deflected to Jonke, who flicked it on to Fordyce and he finished it off with a header into the back of the net. 1-1.
Starting in the 65th minute, FCE head coach Colin Miller began making subs, starting with Horace James on for Hlavaty and then trialist Tomi Ameobi in for Jonke. Banner and Fordyce were later replaced by Hanson Boakai and Sadi Jalali and finally Jones came off for Edem Mortotsi.
The Eddies maintained control over the second half seeing a number of crosses and a few close chances, but were unable to find that finish to take them into the lead. The best opportunity came when Nonni sent a ball over the top to Ameobi, but his final poke rolled just wide of the net as the keeper was beaten.
“I’m very pleased with this performance,” said Miller after the final whistle. “There was some terrific football played and some good scoring chances. A big thank you to Mike Mosher and the Thunderbirds for allowing us the opportunity to play against some great opposition.”
The Eddies will have a day off on Sunday to rest up and recover for the club’s final preseason match on Tuesday, April 1 against Vancouver Whitecaps FC. Kick off is 2:30 p.m. PT at Thunderbird Stadium.