NASL Midweek Action: Edmonton and San Antonio Draw Following Long Delay
Inclement weather has played a part of several NASL matches in recent weeks, and again Mother Nature had an effect on a league match. The restart to the second half of Wednesday’s FC Edmonton -San Antonio Scorpions match at Clarke Field was delayed over 2 and a quarter hours. Neither team added a goal after the long delay and the match ended 1-1 despite the hometown Eddies having a man advantage for the final twenty-five minutes of the contest.
FC Edmonton, tied for last in the league standings with the Atlanta Silverbacks, started the game without two core players. Defender Paul Hamilton was out due to a red card received for a rough challenge late in the weekend match with the Minnesota Stars, and midfielder Shaun Saiko, the Eddies leading scorer, was on the bench because of issues with Edmonton coach Harry Sinkgraven.
The Scorpions were the first of the two sides to hit paydirt. After Edmonton goalie Lance Parker had denied Scorpions midfielder Josue Soto earlier, Jonathan Greenfield found the back of the net. A headed pass from the NASL’s leading goalscorer, Pablo Campos, created the opportunity for Greenfield and he took full advantage.
Edmonton, however, found an equalizer at the end of the first half. Chilean forward Yashir Pinto netted after a pass from Serisay Barthelemy to knot the score 1-1.
Following the lengthy weather delay, the second half started with the Scorpions missing on two golden opportunities. Ryan Cochrane one-timed a pass from Hans Denissen that missed the net as did a Campos shot that went just wide of the net at the hour mark. But things changed when Soto, the young Scorpion on loan from the Houston Dynamo, received two yellow cards in succession and was ejected from the match in the 65th minute. Despite the man advantage, the Eddies had difficulty mounting a threatening attack until late in the match.
With little more than ten minutes left, Sinkgraven inserted Saiko into the game for Kenny Caceros. The 22-year-old Alberta native immediately made an impact, sending a cross into the San Antonio box that was deflected by a defender right to the Eddies’ Kyle Porter. The Edmonton forward rifled a shot from close range that San Antonio keeper Daryl Sattler got deflected, providing a golden opportunity for a charging Pinto to give Edmonton the lead, but Pinto’s close range shot went over the crossbar. With time dwindling down, Saiko again placed a quality cross from the right flank into the box near the feet of Porter, but the forward was unable to get a shot off. Saiko also made a fine sliding tackle to defuse a potentially dangerous San Antonio counterattack.
The point earned by each team places the Scorpions two points ahead of the Puerto Rico Islanders with each team having eight games remaining in the regular season. For the Eddies, the point lifted them out of the league cellar and within seven points of the final playoff spot currently held by the Carolina RailHawks. But with a man advantage for a half hour, Edmonton can only rue the lost opportunity to earn all three points over the league’s top team. FC Edmonton’s next match is on Sunday, as they host the Puerto Rico Islanders, while Tim Hankinson’s Scorpions are on the road again, visiting the Minnesota Stars FC in a Saturday evening clash.