Cavalry FC and FC Edmonton each scored in the opening 20 minutes, but failed to find a winner, as the final AL Classico of the season ended 1-1 at ATCO Field on Saturday afternoon.
Alan Koch made nine changes to his team, heavily rotating a team in the midst of a very busy stretch — only starting Hunter Gorskie and Adam Najem from their win over Pacific FC on Wednesday. Cavalry made just a single change, replacing the suspended David Norman Jr with Richard Luca.
The start of the match was dominated by Cavalry, but it was FC Edmonton that opened the scoring against the run of play in the 15th minute.
Cavalry right back Mo Farsi isn’t often out-paced down the wing, but Eddies left back T-Boy Fayia ran onto a pass and raced by him with the ball. Fayia cross the ball along the ground into the box, which Cavs goalkeeper Marco Carducci tried to push away, but it deflected off Matthew Durrans and fell to Marcus Velado-Tsegaye, who was there to tap the ball in from a few yards out.
The home side responded quickly, taking just five minutes to put the ball into the back of the net on the other side of the pitch. Making a run down the left flank, Ben Fisk floated a high cross to the far post, and Richard Luca dived to head it past Fayia and Eddies goalkeeper Darlington Murasiranwa.
Chances were traded as both teams pushed to take the lead, but the first half would end tied at a goal apiece.
With most of their stars on the bench, Koch brought some on in the second half to try and make a difference, as the Eddies brought Shamit Shome, Tobias Warschewski and Fraser Aird off the bench, among others. The boost off the bench had an effect, but the Eddies weren’t able to find an elusive second goal.
Cavalry failed to score in the second half as well — both teams were very strong defensively on Saturday afternoon, and prevented each other from getting good looks at goal. Their best chance to score in the second half was a low shot from Victor Loturi that the youngster fired just wide with his first touch from the edge of the penalty area.
Velado-Tsegaye had the only shot on target in the second half, testing Marco Carducci from long race that forced a save out of the Cavalry netminder. The second half was a lot more defensive than the first, and there wasn’t many moments of real peril for either backline.
A draw was ultimately a fair result, and sees Cavalry move equal on points with Forge on points, but remain in third place in the CPL standings. FC Edmonton move two points back of sixth-placed Valour FC, and stay eight points back of York United for the fourth and final playoff spot.
15′ — Marcus Velado-Tsegaye (FC Edmonton)
20′ — Richard Luca (Cavalry FC)
38′ — Yellow: Sergio Camargo (Cavalry FC)
64′ — Yellow: Nik Ledgerwood (Cavalry FC)
90+1′ — Yellow: Ramon Soria (FC Edmonton)