Paulus and FCE depart The Island Games winless but proud, emphasizing the slim margins of tournament football.
“It’s details of the game – I really don’t feel like we’ve been severely outplayed and I know there are some supporters who’ll call me daft for saying it,” Paulus said. “And I’ve been fighting for players since day one here. Right from the first game against Forge, I thought we could have got results.”
FCE’s gaffer previously mentioned a “new voice” might be needed in the dressing room next season. Paulus confirmed he’ll be meeting FC Edmonton owner Tom Fath to discuss the team’s future.
“We’ll decide the best way for this club to move forward,” Paulus stated. “I absolutely love this club, I’ve been here a long time, and I will act in the best interest of FC Edmonton – whatever that means.
“But that’s a decision I’ll make with Tom. I want this club to succeed and I’m willing to do my part to see that happen.”
The Eddies ran neck-and-neck with Pacific on Sundsy from the opening kickoff. Half chances from Jeannot Esua and Prince Amanda looked promising as FCE out-shot a desperate Tridents side 3-0 in the first half.
A 59th-minute opener from Easton Ongaro – which put him joint-top of the CPL’s all-time goalscoring list with 13 goals – gave the Eddies the lead. Edmonton held tough, forcing Pacific to the outside as panic set in from their opponents.
But back-to-back goals – from a free kick and Marco Bustos’ wand of a left foot – handed the Eddies’ their sixth loss in seven matches.
“I thought we had another good game,” Paulus said. “Again, it was the details. Even today: the free kick we gave up on a ball that rolled backwards – a foul we didn’t need to take. That stuff has cost us at this event. But, we have committed players at this club.”
“The one time Bustos got free, he got a shot off. That was Chance Carter’s first start and he had good control of Bustos for the majority of the game.”
Striker Tomi Ameobi was quick to point to FC Edmonton’s offensive struggles at The Island Games, with a league-worst five goals.
“We’ve have that fight and you saw that today – we left everything out on the field,” Ameobi said. “The attitude and fight from this group has been good every game.
“That’s something we can build on. We know we’re solid at the back but going forward, scoring goals, that hasn’t gotten us over the line when we needed it.”
Regardless of Paulus’ future at the helm of FC Edmonton, you can’t deny his influence on this squad. Young local talents Amanda, Carter, Marcus Velado-Tsegaye, David Doe, and Anthony Caceres featured heavily in Sunday’s tilt.
“There’s a lot to build on here. This is a process and I think is going to stated with the base of players who featured in this event,” Paulus concluded.