2020 CPL regular season (The Island Games) — Match #22 FC Edmonton vs. York9 FC September 1, 2020 at 8:00 p.m. ET/9:00 p.m. AT
UPEI Artificial Turf Field in Charlottetown, PEI Watch Live: OneSoccer.ca
FC Edmonton will attempt to win their first match of The Island Games when they take on York9 FC on Tuesday night. But beyond three points, and maybe just as important, the Eddies will also be looking to earn some respect, while also giving a boost to their embattled coach.
Following a 2-1 loss to Valour FC over the weekend, FCE bench boss Jeff Paulus lamented his team’s poor start to the CPL season (just one point from five games), hinting that management might have to make a coaching change in 2021 in order to set the franchise on the right path.
“I really want to pull the focus away from our players, because I think our players have done well here. I want to support them, and I think just own where we’re at, and where we’re at starts with me,” Paulus said after the game.
Tuesday offers Paulus’ players their first chance to respond to his honest self-criticism with a command performance on the pitch. But it won’t be so easy, as York9 is undefeated in PEI (one win and four draws) and currently sits fourth in the table after settling for a 1-1 draw with HFX Wanderers FC on the weekend.
A loss or draw against Y9 would officially eliminate FC Edmonton from contention in terms of qualifying for the second round at The Island Games.
Notably, York9 FC midfielder Joseph Di Chiara, who leads the team in scoring with three goals, is suspended for Tuesday’s tilt due to yellow card accumulation.
FCE’s response: After the loss to Valour, coach Jeff Paulus spoke openly about how Edmonton might need to make a coaching change for next season. “I’ve been here since December of 2011, and yeah, I love the club. Of course. But the reality is, though, I want this club to succeed, and right now we think we’ve got a better roster than where we are in the standings shows,” Paulus said. “If it takes someone else coming in with a new voice to get this club and this group of the players over the top, then I’m just open to that.” How will FCE respond after Paulus’ honest assessment of himself?
Y9’s final product: Against 10-men HFX, the Nine Stripes enjoyed 65 per cent of possession, outshot the Wanderers 11 to five, and completed nearly double the amount of passes (583 to 310). But for all of their dominance, they couldn’t put the game away when they had the chance and struggled to create much from open play – Manny Aparicio’s goal came off a free kick. All of that possession and all of those shots have to lead to something concrete.
York conceding late: Instead of collecting three points against HFX, the Nine Stripes had to settle for one point after Omar Kreim’s late equalizer. They also conceded late against Pacific FC in their second game of the season. Had Y9 held on both games, they’d have four more points in the back and be tied for first place with Forge at the moment. With the table so tight at the moment, Jim Brennan’s side has to close out games if it wants to assure itself a spot in the second round
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
“We don’t want to let down ourselves, these players are playing for themselves as well. This is professional football, so whether it’s me whose job is on the line, whether it’s a player fighting for their next contract, we’re all professionals here, and we have to see this out professionally.” – Edmonton coach Jeff Paulus, after the Valour game.
“We haven’t created much from the run of play and that’s something we’re working on. That goes from attack all the way back to the defence. It’s gonna come, we signed good forwards in the off-season. Those goals will come.” – York midfielder Manny Aparicio, after the HFX game.