FC Edmonton claimed three points away from home in resounding fashion on Tuesday night, breaking an eight-game winless streak in all competitions by taking down Valour FC, 3-0, at IG Field in Winnipeg.
With usual centre-forward Austin Ricci suspended, Valour opted for a strike pairing of William Akio and Sean Rea up front, as Amir Soto and Rodrigo Reyes came in to play at the back in lieu of the suspended Rocco Romeo. Edmonton, meanwhile, made five changes to their team from Saturday, as Connor James returned to play in goal.
The match started with a quick tempo, both teams looking to play quite direct despite playing a lot of games recently. The Eddies definitely had the better of the opening stages, firing nine shots to Valour’s three in the first half-hour, but neither side could find the net (although Edmonton came very close with a couple set-piece opportunities) early on.
MORE COVERAGE: Match Analysis: Valour FC 0-3 FC Edmonton | Sights & Sounds: Valour FC 0-3 FC Edmonton
However, Edmonton did break the deadlock before halftime. In the 40th minute, Azriel Gonzalez made a strong run with the ball down the left flank, and he found Tobias Warschewski completely unmarked on the far side of the box. The German striker volleyed the cross immediately with his right foot, putting it off the ground and past Valour ‘keeper Jonathan Sirois for a well-deserved opening goal.
The Eddies scored a second just minutes later, as it was Gonzalez — this time cutting in toward goal — who again found the striker, putting a ball right under the crossbar for the six-foot-seven Easton Ongaro to head into the net.
Both teams made a change at half, Valour looking to get back into it by bringing Federico Peña in for Amir Soto. Edmonton checked Antony Caceres into the game, with Easton Ongaro coming out after a strong 45 minutes of work.
Valour did begin to impose themselves in the match after halftime, looking to take over in possession and work the ball forward. They managed to put Edmonton under pressure, especially with a few moments of individual magic from Moses Dyer and Sean Rea, but Edmonton’s backline was difficult to break down.
The home side suffered another blow just after the hour mark, though, as Andy Baquero took a hard challenge in the middle of the park and picked up what looked like a sore injury to his shin and was replaced by Jared Ulloa — an attacking option, as Valour continued to look for a goal.
However, after withstanding a few waves of Valour pressure, it was Edmonton who scored again next. After winning a corner from a quick counter attack, Adam Najem flicked the lobbed delivery across the box, and Azriel Gonzalez scored it with a superb volley of his own in the 74th minute to put the match to bed.
The match was effectively settled by then, although Valour did see at least one glimpse of good news, with veteran midfielder José Galán getting on the pitch for his season debut in the final 10 minutes after struggling with injury. The Winnipeggers also thought they’d scored in the last few minutes of the game, but the play was ruled offside. Moses Dyer also hit the post with a long-range shot that beat Connor James in the 90th, but it seemed it just wasn’t Valour’s night.
With the win, the Eddies moved up to 17 points in the table — five points back of Valour, who remain in the fourth and final playoff spot.
40′ — Tobias Warschewski (FC Edmonton)
44′ — Easton Ongaro (FC Edmonton)
74′ — Azriel Gonzalez (FC Edmonton)
33′ — Yellow: Paris Gee (FC Edmonton)
71′ — Yellow: Shamit Shome (FC Edmonton)