Edmonton AB (April 28, 2013) - FC Edmonton claimed their first win of the 2013 NASL Spring season, edging the San Antonio Scorpions 1-0 in the team's opening home game of the campaign on the back of a three-game road trip.
Shaun Saiko's penalty in the dying seconds of the first half proved decisive in earning the Eddies three points, keeping them in touch with the leading pack.
"We’ve played better this season and lost," said coach Colin Miller. "There’s such character in the team and I’m proud of them. We’ve created some good chances today but not as many as I’d like. I’m just pleased that all the fitness work we’ve put in has shown and that lady luck gave us a couple of breaks today.
"If we continue to play with the same attitude there’s so many positives, but I still expect more. The guys wanted to win so badly that it probably affected our performance a little bit. But we’re delighted with the three points today."
Edmonton had the first real chance of the game off a free kick in the 8th minute. Midfielder Neil Hlavaty sent the ball in that Scorpions keeper Pat Hannigan was unable to get a glove on. All that FCE defender Carlyle Mitchell had to do was touch the ball home, but it fell just wide of the net.
The Scorpions had the next clear chance in the 24th minute when a streaking attack from defender Luka Vucko saw him send in a dangerous ball that left Eddies goalkeeper Lance Parker stranded at the far post, but there was no San Antonio forward on hand to touch the ball into the back of the net.
The break-through goal did not come until first half injury time when FCE defender Eddie Edward made a run off a deflected San Antonio corner and was brought down in the box. Saiko stepped up to take the spot kick and sent Hannigan the wrong way for the Eddies to take the lead 1-0.
"You’ve got to strike it with confidence and I feel like I’ve been playing well, so I wanted to take the penalty and make sure we got the three points today," explained Saiko. "You’ve just got to get the goalie going the other way and slot it to the other side."
In the 64th minute Lance Parker came off his line and out of the home box to clear a ball, but was left in no man's land. The Eddies backline was able to cover for the wayward ‘keeper and preserve their lead as the Scorpions pressed.
The Eddies made several replacements in the second half, bringing on Massimo Mirabelli and Michael Nonni, making his first appearance for the team.
The Scorpions thought they had drawn level in the 83rd minute, but the attempt was ruled offside with the ball in the net and a few moments later, Parker came out to make a big save to once again keep the Eddies in the match. In the 88th minute, Scorpion’s forward Esteban Bayona raced clear in a one-on-one with Parker, and once again the home keeper came up with a big save.
As injury time approached, the Scorpions continued to search for that game-tying goal, but the FC Edmonton backline continued to stand strong and earned their first league win of the 2013 NASL season.
The Eddies now play in the second leg of the Amway Canadian Championship against Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Wednesday May 1 in Vancouver. Their next league game takes place against the Tampa Bay Rowdies on Saturday May 4.
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