On a rainy day in Alberta’s capital city, the Eddies had a shot to climb up to third in the league standings as they took on the Tampa Bay Rowdies at Clarke Stadium.
Fresh off a US Open Cup victory against Seattle Sounders FC, the Rowdies were put under pressure early by the home side.
Quality chances were scarce in the first 20but it was the Eddies who came closest as defender Eddie Edward sent a menacing cross into the box off a free kick. Forward Daryl Fordyce was closest to making contact but couldn’t stretch far enough to reach the ball for a tap in.
The rain subsided and the Eddies picked up the offensive pressure more and more as the half went on.
In the 30th minute, Michael Cox dribbled the ball into the box and found Shaun Saiko at the far post but the midfielder’s shot was saved by Diego Restrepo in the Tampa goal.
Both coaches seemed pleased with their team’s play at the half.
“Not that much seen between the two teams so far, but I’m very pleased with our organization,” said head coach Colin Miller. “It is a very completive match against Tampa Bay but I’m happy with our performance so far and with a bit of luck we can create more chances and hopefully score in the second half.”
“I’m very happy with the overall performance of my side at this half,” added Tampa coach Ricky Hill. “This is a very difficult surface to play on, especially when it is wet, but I am quite happy that we were able to adjust to it and maintain possession of the ball.”
The half started positively for the Eddies. Less than a minute in, Saiko, Cox and Neil Hlavaty all had a chance to score but the ball ended up going wide of the net.
Tampa was unlucky not to take the lead in the 52nd minute when Jordan Gafa got his head on a rebound and sent it passed Smits but the goal was called back because Gafa was offside.
For the second game in a row, An Eddie was shown a Red card. This time it was defender Mallan Roberts who was sent off after colliding with a Tampa midfielder and received his second Yellow of the game.
After the card, the Eddies made a defensive substitution bringing David Proctor on for Michael Cox.
The teams went back and forth but neither could finish.
In the 80th minute, Lance Laing swung a ball into the box off a free kick. It bounced around before being cleared away from danger.
At the end of the day, both teams had their chances but even being down a man, the Eddies looked to have more of the quality pressure.
Next up for the Eddies is a road game versus the Atlanta Silverbacks. Kickoff is at 5:30 p.m. MT.
Photos available at: http://www.tlfoto.ca/Clients/F-C-Edmonton/FCE-vs-Tampa-Bay-Rowdies-June/29763981_bC8MMM#!i=2550204751&;k=Drn96fV