EDMONTON – Forge FC and Cavalry FC are in a shootout at the top of the CPL fall season standings. Cavalry has already won the spring title, and Forge has clinched at least the second-best spot in the overall table.
So, while there are six teams still mathematically alive to play in the Canadian Premier League Finals, a lot of teams and players are already looking towards 2020.
And that includes Easton Ongaro, who has taken over FC Edmonton’s goal-scoring lead, even though he didn’t start a game for the Eddies until the fall campaign. A broken hand suffered in training derailed his spring season, limiting him to just 95 minutes of action.
But, he’s already talking about being the CPL scoring champion — next year. After scoring in the Eddies’ 3-1 loss to York9 FC last weekend, the University of Alberta product talked about keeping the momentum going not just through the end of the 2019 regular season, but throughout 2020.
“Hopefully it’s something that continues over the last few games here and, definitely next season, I think I’ve got to have my sights set on the scoring title,” Ongaro said.
Ongaro has shown a knack to put his six-foot-six frame in the right spot at the right time, especially at close range. Playing in Edmonton, he’s been called the soccer version of Ryan Smyth more than a few times, compared to how the Oilers’ great would get in front of the net and score most of his goals from near the crease.
In fact, Ongaro’s goal against York was as close to a hockey goal as you’ll see a soccer player get, as he cleverly stuck his foot out to redirect Edem Mortotsi’s shot away from the goalkeeper. It was a deflection, but it wasn’t an accident. Ongaro knew what he was doing.
Ongaro has seven goals, and that means it would take a heck of a run to catch Pacific FC’s Terran Campbell (11) or Forge’s Tristan Borges (10) in this year’s scoring race. But, Ongaro’s minutes played this season come nowhere close to the other two.
Ongaro has seven goals in 824 minutes. So, he averages a goal every 117.7 minutes, or a little less than a goal per 90-minute game. Plus, FC Edmonton has taken only one penalty all season long, and that was converted by Tomi Ameobi. All of Ongaro’s goal have come from open play.
Campbell has 11 goals, but he averages one per 173.45 minutes. He’s also converted a penalty. Borges has 10 goals, two on penalties, and averages one ever 150.4 minutes.
So, pro-rated, if Ongaro had played the same number of minutes as Campbell this season, he’d be at 16 goals. Of course, that’s an “everything being equal” kind of measure, but it speaks to just how efficient FCE’s towering forward has become.
And, Ongaro hasn’t started the two most recent Eddies’ games. He’s been brought in as a second-half sub in both matches, and as the team has moved to a 4-3-3, he’s been asked to play outside rather than centrally.
“It’s been a frustrating last couple of weeks, not necessarily starting or playing in my preferred position,” Ongaro admitted.
But coach Jeff Paulus has praised his young charge’s attitude, and said that FCE still has goals to reach this season.
“We’re still fighting for third place overall, and that’s key for this team. I want to stress third place overall in the combined table, because I think that sets us up to be in a better position for the Canadian Championship next year. It’s a position we definitely want,” Paulus stated.