Match Analysis: FC Edmonton 2-0 Forge FC

Match in a minute or less

After a relatively uneventful opening 85 minutes in the Canada Day clash between FC Edmonton and Forge FC, late goals from Ramón Soria and Jeannot Esua sealed an important win for The Eddies.

After shutting down the defending champs for the majority of the match, they were rewarded with their first win since October 16th, 2019 — 624 days ago — and a first under new head coach Alan Koch.

Three observations

FC Edmonton shut down Tristan Borges and the Forge right side

Just like Valour FC did on Sunday, FC Edmonton were all over Tristan Borges on one side of the pitch. Edmonton left back Paris Gee was among the players putting pressure on Borges and Johnny Grant on Forge’s right flank, forcing them to focus a lot of their play down the left instead.

Borges played around an hour before being replaced by David Choinière. He touched the ball 34 times, but he was constantly surrounded, and lost possession again 14 of those times. Like against Valour, Forge were happy to attack on the other side, but were again missing the final clinical play to find a goal.

“We know that teams are going to pick certain areas of the field to smother, which isn’t a problem, it gives you an opportunity somewhere else,” said Forge head coach Bobby Smyrniotis. “That’s one thing we prepared for, and I thought that for a large part of the game, we used those situations well.

“It’s always the final third, it’s the hardest thing to do in football. The hardest thing to do is to play football, use rotations, move the ball around, and create the opportunities against teams that play in a very low block. When you’re not your sharpest… that’s a byproduct of that.”

Kwame Awuah saw a lot of the ball on the left flank, linking up with Kyle Bekker and Chris Nanco to try and break down the Edmonton backline. Awuah was a key part of Forge’s attack — the ball kept going to him on the left flank to fire in a cross or find a pass for a teammate — but he took a lot of responsibility upon himself for the late goals conceded.

“We feel terrible, for lack of a better word,” Awuah said after the match. “We thought our opportunity was coming to score, we kept creating chances, and then my mishap not cutting off a cross, a bad clearance, a few lucky bounces, and they get a shot on net.

“Granted it was a good strike, but the opportunity could’ve been stopped a lot earlier if I was in a better position to block off the cross.”

Easton Ongaro’s first start of the season

After being limited to 30 minutes off the bench in his side’s season-opening loss to Atlético Ottawa, star striker Easton Ongaro started match number two for The Eddies on Thursday.

He played 77 minutes in this one, firing a couple of shots at the Forge FC goal, one on target, and moving well off the ball to clear room on the pitch for his teammates. Forge had defenders crowding his 6’6 frame all game long, as he’s a threat at all times, in the air or with the ball at his feet.

The towering forward also pitched in defensively, blocking a Daniel Krutzen header on a defensive set piece.

After undergoing surgery on his wrist a few weeks ago, his injury is also recovering well according to head coach Alan Koch.

“He’s playing, and that says a lot about him. It says a lot about his and motivation and his desire to commit to the team and his willingness to work for us,” said Koch after the match. “I thought he did a good job coming off the bench the other night, and then tonight we flipped him and Tobi (Tobias Warschewski), and both had good roles.

“Sometimes as a striker, or as a number nine, you don’t get rewarded with goals and assists, but he laid the foundation with his tireless work rate for the guys that come on and finished the job at the end.”

Edmonton’s late offensive outburst sees them win first game since October 2019

After 87 minutes of action the game remained scoreless, and seemed destined for a 0-0 final score, but a pair of FC Edmonton substitutes scored late to earn Edmonton their first three points of the campaign.

Ramón Soria won the game with a thumping effort from about 10 yards out that Triston Henry had no chance at stopping. The 32-year-old has been a key leader with FC Edmonton since the 2019 CPL season, and his efforts were rewarded on Thursday night.

The play that led to Soria’s goal was started by another second-half substitute, Jeannot Esua, who would score a brilliant goal of his own a few minutes later. Catching Henry way off his line, Esua took a touch just inside the halfway line and fired a perfect shot down the field and into the back of the net. Player of the Match

Ramón Soria, FC Edmonton

FC Edmonton substitute Ramón Soria was a difference-maker off the bench, and scored a fantastic late goal to seal all three points.

What’s next?

Both FC Edmonton and Forge FC next play on Sunday, July 4th. Forge take on Pacific FC in the ComeOn! Match of the Week at 7 pm ET (6 pm CT), and The Eddies play York United at 10 pm ET (9 pm CT). Watch all games live on OneSoccer.