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Edmonton- Seattle, Aug. 2 (R)


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Edmonton 1- Seattle 2


Seattle: 13' Somoza (Callahan), 26' Melo (PK)

Edmonton: 39' Bosch (Frazer)

Coronation Field, Edmonton, 23 C, Light Wind, Clear

Attendance (not announced): approximately 650 (my estimate)

Edmonton: Stankov; Devlin, Hart, Kassaye (Kaushal, 45'); Vignjevic,

Fraser, Bosch (Rago ?'), Munoz, Dhaliwal; Drummond (Akok approx 70'), Sipho Sibya (Ibo, approx 70)

Seattle: Burpo; Velez, Jackson, Edwards, Sakuda; Callahan, Sleeth, Bolanos, Somoza; Levesque, Melo ( I did not get the substitiutions, as not all were announced, the sound system was reall bad, and the players names on the jerseys were so small; but, there were a full 4 subs)

A beautiful night for a game. Great field, but prominently sloped from the centre for drainage. High School football field, max seating for probably 1,500. Wood benches on one concrete grandstand on west side. Night lights turned on in second half,, tho not necessary (will allow for later kickoffs,unlike Foote Field grass field). The scoreboard broke down just after start of second half. Very intimate and friendly crowd.

Seattle played very crisply, 4-4-2 formation, very defensive throughout, but had best chances and better possession. Played shortball for the most part, attacks up centre the norm. Did not show tiredness from playing the night before in Calgary in first half, was showing it in second half when they basically sat back in defensive shell, always 4 in the back at least. They played very physically, and were able to get away with a lot of fouls. They were able to win a majority of the balls by intimidation, as they were not fearful of discipline by the referees. Their GK Burpo and defence both played very well. They had a large number of players on the bench. As dirty as they were, Seattle probably deserved to win, as they were crisp and managed to fulfill their tough, defensive, short-ball control and possession game plan.

Edmonton played like they were rusty, there was probably too much time off. They were also missing some key playerts. At times they looked like they were playing 3-5-2, sometimes 5-3-2. they are lacking in both strikers and defence, so they use a lot of midfielders. Gordon Chin was missing because of the 5 card acculmulation rule (not enforced until the last monthly USL meeting!), and his spark was really missing, Vignjevic did not have his usual excellent game as he really missed his central forward midfield partner. De Silva was missing as well, apparently still nursing a concussion. Chins' centre attack midield position was taken by Eric Munoz, who had a good second half but was often inconsistent. The attack seemed to mainly be long-ball, they were only effective when they attacked up the wings, especially the right wing with Fraser (which unfortunately they did all too rarely). They were continually frustrated by the chippy Seattle play. Ibo (still somewhat injured from the Toronto match) and Akok (who was apparently still ill) did not start, but came on as substitutes well into the second half. EFC had very good speed and movement on the wings at times. Had Edmonton scored on a surprise attack by Fraser and Sibiya at 6', when Sibya's shot hit the right post, it would have been a different match. Some of the audience felt strongly that the ball actually crossed the goal line after hitting the post.

Edmonton played an ususual formation, probably due to lack of players and player strength. They seemed to sit back through much of the game, depending on long balls to the two forwards. Midfielder Drummond started as a forward with Sibiya. The other unusual strategy by Ongaro was to mainly keep the two midfiled wingers (Fraser on right and Dhaliwal on left) back with the defensive line, with occaisonal forays up the wing on attack. In my opinion, Fraser needs to be used on attack on the wing more. Dhaliwal was often stranded off by himself. He did show sparkles of brilliance in ball handling and moving the ball up, but it is obvious that his teamates have little faith in him, especially on his passing abilites. Dhaliwal has good fitness though, and he has not been substitued in the last three home matches. The other midfielders were interchanging their positions often, which was impressive.

On defence, Hart took Ibo's place as the centre defnce, until replaced by Ibo at the end. he was not engaged in the attack as much as he had been inprevious matches, which is unfortunate, especially because he could have sparked things on attack in the last 20 minutes had he been a little bit more adventurous up front.

The referee, some whitebread dyed-blond jobbie from the usual stable of questionable USL officials, was really, really awful. How many of the USL officials are Canadian? He was quite biased on behalf of the Sounders, one has to wonder how badly the usl wants to have the playoffs in Seahawk stadium instead of Milwaukee. The linesmen were good for the most part on the offsides, but were invisible for anything else. The referee continually allowed major defensive infringemnts on the few freekicks he gave to EFC. He ruined what was otherwise a pleasant evening of football.

The first goal at 13' by Somoza was from a free kick cross from the left side by Callahan that sailed over the box to the right side to an unmarked Samosa on the right edge of the box. Stankov could not really be faulted, it was a perect example of EFC defensive breakdown from opposition attack.

The second sounder goal came at the 26', a penalty kick by Melo. The penalty kick was called when a Sounder attacker fell over the EFC GK who had perhaps unecessarily ran over to the sright side of the goal near touch. A very questionable call, and not at all like the GK and other defence interference at the other end that could have been called for PK's. Stankov nearly stopped it, he blocked a shot to the left that bounced of his hands up to the cross-bar, falling just inside the line.

The goal by EFC at 39' was as a result of a beautiful run down the right by Fraser, and a cross to Bosch from just inside the centre of the 18-yard box, crisply shot directly in upon receipt. Unfortunately, most of EFC's attack was down the congested centre.

EFC's next three matches are also at home. Next match is against Portland at Coronation Field on Saturday, August 7, at 2 pm. The match after that is at Foote, Tuesday, August 10, 7:00 pm

against Calgary (any overtime will be in darkness, they had better move it up). Following that, Milwaukee waves into town for a 6:00 kickoff on Sunday, August 15 at Foote. After a quick trip to Milwaukee on the 19th, EFC plays its last home match of the season at 7:00 pm (the kickoff will definitely have to be moved up by then)

on Monday, August 23, at Foote Field, against Minnesota. EFC ends their season away for Voyageur Cup/A-League matches on August 25 and 26 at Montreal and Toronto respectively.

A feature of the game were the the unofficial programmes produced by fans Greg Baker (aka strobe_z), Carmen D'Onofrio, Jennifer Fehr and Alisa Lang (the last two being the chicks who organized the efforts to bring high-level club soccer to Edmonto two years ago). They were handed out free of charge by Alisa and Jennifer at the gate, very good little publication. Good job!

(Check out the 90 Minute programs at :

http://www.90minutes.ca )

As the "Soccer Fans Of Edmonton United", they also handed out small pieces of paper with a schedule the remaining home matches as the crowd left. Talk about commitment!

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Don't like the ideas of the light posts being put in front of the stands. The scoreboard needs repairs or needs to be replaced.

No doubt that the MOTM for the Sounders had to be theri keeper as he basically won the game with some timely stops. This was especially true in the first half. Can't say the same for the rest of the Sounders.

Our guys should've done better with the ball. A bright side is finally seeing Rago start. Looks like he has some promise.

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The Sounders goalkeeper was Preston Burpo, not Danny Waltman (our back-up) according to the brief team press release:


Burpo is approaching a benchmark with the club...he'll record his 500th save as a Sounder in the next couple of matches.

The match was not broadcast back to Seattle fans because of the lack of facilities/equipment at Coronation.

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quote:Originally posted by sounderfan

There were a small group of wayward Sounders supporters up in Alberta for the back-to-back matches. Anyone see them at Coronation?

Yes, they were sitting by themselves for the most part over in the far left of the grandstand. I would have gone over to talk to them, but there were so many people to talk to during the match that I didn't have time (the stands are so much more intimate at the new settings).

They seemed pretty quiet. They should have joined the EFC fans, it would have been fun, as no one here is very agressive towards outside supporters. Guess discretion is better part of valour if unfamiliar territory. They probably had their tail between their legs because of what happened in Calgary on the pitch.

Interesting from seattle discussion sites that many had a hard time figuring where to go to see the game, it's hard enoyugh for the local fans.

I changed report to put Burpo back in the picture, good GK. Sorry, but as i said the sound system at Coronation was impossibly bad.

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quote:Seattle: Burpo; Velez, Jackson, Edwards, Sakuda; Callahan, Sleeth, Bolanos, Samoza; Levesque, Melo

That's a fairly top-strength side for Seattle. Injuries, suspensions and the like have created make-shift line-ups from match to match lately. While the 3-0 hammering the night before at Calgary featured 7 non-starters, the group listed above actually features 7. Only Edwards, Sakuda, Callahan and Samoza are considered "becnh" players.

Nice to see Billy Sleeth back in after missing a month with an injury.

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Article in today's Edmonton Sun. Interesting quotes from Kassaye about

Canada U-20 team.


Good times, bad times


Anyone toying with the idea of buying a men's soccer team would have found last night's game quite a conundrum. A damned-if-I-do, damned-if-I don't proposition. For the opening 45 minutes, Edmonton FC played like a worthwhile investment. Yes, the club had fallen behind, although one goal for the visiting Seattle Sounders was a ridiculously absurd penalty call. But, that opening half of play was undoubtedly one of the most attractive stanzas in the brief and dubious history of A-League soccer in this city.

The second 45, however, was a draining period - frustrating, scrambly and lacking much of the momentum the home side had created with a terrific goal by captain Kurt Bosch just moments before the half.


And the setting for all of this madness? Without any question, one of the worst facilities in the city - crusty and crumbling Coronation Park, where Joe Petrone, FC's director of soccer operations, was stationed on a lawn chair perched next to the construction-site trailer that was doubling as the referee's changeroom. Hand-drawn signs pointed the throng of about 700 the way to the concession stand.

So in the end, undermanned and underpaid FC (3-12-6) fell 2-1 to the playoff-seeking Sounders (9-10-4) on a night when all that is good and bad about professional soccer in Edmonton was ever so prevalent.

"The guys worked hard and did the best they could," said FC head coach Ross Ongaro. "They did OK but it's a tough level this A-League."

Ongaro had to liked a lot of what he saw in the first half but the two best scoring chances FC created - a nifty setup for Sipho Sibiya that found the post and trickled across the goal line, plus a rocket off Sean Fraser's foot that required a sensational save from Preston Burpo - were sandwiched between the Sounders' goals. Ben Somoza's low shot found the post in the 21st minute and just six minutes later, FC 'keeper Nic Stankov was whistled for an phantom takedown of Seattle striker Walton Melo on the goal line. Melo's shot from the spot found the top shelf, but Edmonton chipped away until Fraser's wicked cross was headed home by Bosch in the 40th minute.

Other than a few brief flirts around the net in the second half, FC couldn't get any closer. To fight back and build up and then fade away was cause for concern until figuring out the home team had just a 14-man bench and was already without injured defender Liam De Silva and suspended midfielder Gordon Chin.

"It's a tough situation because I know what their level is and I know what their potential is and a lot of them are overachieving right now," said Ongaro. "Eric (Munoz) did unbelievable and Simon (Kassaye) played very well. It was good to see some chances, they didn't quit and gave everything they had. They did the best they could."

Kassaye, in fact, made his first start of the season in his first game back with the club. Through all the turmoil his teammates went through in the past few weeks, Kassaye had been basking in the Florida sun with the national under-20 squad.


"One morning I came down for breakfast with the team and my coach Dale Mitchell told me I had no team. I thought he was kicking me off the (U-20s)," said Kassaye. "I was shocked because if I want to play on the national team I have to play top soccer. I called back home, found out the league was taking over and I'm going to finish out the season. Daniel Drummond asked if he could put my name in and I was definitely in."

Kassaye, newcomer Robin Hart and Fraser were among the standouts but after creating so much early on and clawing their way back from a two-goal deficit, the FCers failed to find another gear when they needed the equalizer. The Sounders were hammered 3-0 by last-place Calgary on Sunday but fielded a much stronger lineup as four players returned to duty from suspension.

"Playing a team that played the day before, you've got to jump on them early and we gave them two goals that really energized them and kind of depleted us a little bit," said Bosch. "If we can come out strong and start playing with the lead like we did against Toronto, then I think people who come out to watch can expect some attacking soccer from us.

"We're going to keep going, we're not going to look to kill games or just hang in. We're going to look to attack and hopefully if we get off to a better start we can continue to build on to what we can create."


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