PREVIEW: HFX Wanderers FC vs. FC Edmonton – Match #66
Charlie O’Connor-Clarke, Contributor
Canadian Premier League — Match #66 HFX Wanderers FC vs. FC Edmonton September 2, 2019 — Wanderers Grounds (1 p.m. ET/2 p.m. AT) Watch Live: OneSoccer.ca
FC Edmonton will visit Canada’s east coast for the first time on Monday as they head to Nova Scotia for a clash with HFX Wanderers FC, hoping to keep pace near the top of the CPL standings.
Currently sitting third with 13 points, the Eddies are in the thick of a riveting sprint to the finish for the Fall season title. Their 3-2-4 record has them third, just three points behind both Forge FC and Cavalry FC. They could really use a result away from home here, especially after dropping points at Clarke Field last weekend in a 2-2 draw with York9 FC that felt like a loss for both sides.
The Wanderers, meanwhile, will be very happy to return home for the first time since August 10th. They’re last in the Fall standings with six losses from nine matches, including a tough one on Wednesday to Valour FC. They’ve never scored a goal against FC Edmonton in two meetings, but they’ve also never subjected the Alberta club to the magic of Wanderers Grounds.
After this Labour Day battle, both clubs will get another weekend off before the season’s homestretch begins. The Eddies are back at it on Wednesday, September 11th to host a high-stakes Al Classico tilt with Cavalry FC (9:00 p.m. ET, 7:00 p.m. MT, on OneSoccer). HFX won’t return until the following Sunday, September 15th, when they’ll be in Hamilton to play Forge FC (1:00 p.m. ET, on OneSoccer).
KEYS TO THE MATCH
Home sweet home: Much has been made of HFX’s incredible home record in comparison with their poor form on the road. They’re 5-2-2 at Wanderers Grounds in the CPL, having only met defeat at the hands of Cavalry. After a very trying few matches in July and August, HFX would dearly like to settle themselves with a return to form at home.
Smoother through the middle: One area of the pitch where the Eddies haven’t been particularly consistent is central midfield. With a revolving door of players lining up in the middle, no one has emerged as the man who can pull the strings and facilitate buildup play. As a result, FC Edmonton has struggled at times to mount a fully-formed attack outside of set pieces. They need, at the very least, to be a little more clinical with passing through the middle of the park.
Attacking connection: Stephen Hart has shown that he wants to use both Tomasz Skublak and Luis Alberto Perea in his attacking setup, typically with Skublak sitting a little off Perea’s shoulder. The Wanderers’ attack has been a little stunted lately, though, with just one goal in their last four games. Whether it’s just a finishing issue or something deeper remains to be seen, but HFX won’t have much of a chance if Skublak and Perea aren’t on the same page against Edmonton.
FC Edmonton: Connor James; Allan Zebie, Mélé Temguia, Amer Didic, Jeannot Esua; Ramon Soria, Ajay Khabra, James Marcelin, Bruno Zebie; Easton Ongaro, Oumar Diouck
HFX Wanderers FC: Jan-Michael Williams; Ndzemdzela Langwa, Matthew Arnone, Duran Lee, Chrisnovic N’Sa; Andre Rampersad, Elliot Simmons; Zachary Sukunda, Tomasz Skublak, Akeem Garcia; Luis Alberto Perea