Eddies aim to keep momentum going on the road against Atletico Ottawa

Jason Hills
FC Edmonton Communications

EDMONTON — Winning is contagious, and after FC Edmonton’s thrilling victory over the HFX Wanderers FC, the club is making them hungry for more.
The Eddies will try to earn their first road victory of the season, when they battle Atletico Ottawa on Friday (5:30 p.m. MT) at TD Place Stadium.

“To be honest, the few victories that we have has made everything worthwhile. We realized we weren’t going to win many games this year, but when we do win a game, it makes everything worthwhile. It’s what we push towards every day, and the guys are in good spirits,” said FC Edmonton head coach Alan Koch.
“When you get one (win), you want another one obviously, so we will be pushing to get as many points as we can towards the end of the season.”

After 50 days away from Clarke Stadium and six straight road games over July and almost all of August, the Eddies returned home in dramatic fashion, putting together one of their most complete games of the year.
And when the Eddies had their lead cut to 3-2 in the late stages of the match, they didn’t breakdown. They pushed back and made sure to secure the three points, which shows a level of maturity and growth with the young squad.

“That’s part of the progression. You could see it in the last 10 minutes of the game. Obviously, they scored the second they scored the second goal, and the natural thought is (FC Edmonton) will capitulate again. But I think the players showed growth,” said Koch.
“They showed intelligence, managing those critical moments, taking the ball to the corner, slowing the game down. Those are things you learn by going through those situations, and we’ve had moments like that, where we haven’t handled it well, and it was pleasing to see those guys handle those moments very well in the last game.

There have been several players this season that have shown exceptional growth in their games, one player recently that has made the most of his opportunity has been goalkeeper Darlington Murasiranwa.
The 21-year-old didn’t get much playing time early on in the season with the arrival and emergence of goalkeeper Andreas Vaikla, but he was given his second start of the season two weeks ago against Valour where he helped the Eddies earn a 1-1 tie, and then earned his first professional win, last weekend against Halifax.

“I saw progression and growth with Darlington last year in his first year as a pro, and last year he got rewarded with a few games,” said Koch.
“It’s been challenging for him this year, because I think he thought he was going to get more games right out of the gate, but Andreas came in and played fantastically, and a big part of the reason why we were able to keep games competitive at times, was because Andreas was playing so well.
“I knew I had to find a way to show confidence in Darlington, and find some games for him. It’s difficult for a young player to stay patient, and it’s been difficult for him, he’s had his ups and downs, but I give him full credit. He’s taken his opportunities now, and now we have some difficult choices right now. We have two keepers we believe in, and we’re going to have a real fight between the two of them until the end of the season.”

Now the challenge is to try and secure a win on the road, and Atletico Ottawa has been moving up the standings in recent weeks with their strong play.
The Eddies played in Ottawa, during their six game road trip and fell 2-1 on Aug.7 in a game that featured crazy wind and rain storms in the first half.
But, the Eddies have had success against Atletico Ottawa this season, securing their first win of the season at home against them, and they’ve battled the current league leaders, tough in all three previous matches.

“It’s going to be a very difficult game, because they’re at the top and we’re at the bottom. Any time a team at the top plays a team from the bottom, the top team expects to win, and I believe Ottawa expects to win, but I think our group has shown that we’ll make it very difficult. We’ll make it difficult against every team we play against,” said Koch.
“We’ll go into the game tomorrow with that mentality. Our players will be willing to work for each other and we’ll try to minimize Ottawa’s strengths, and we’ll try to expose on their weaknesses.
“We hung on (last meeting against Ottawa), until about 20 minutes to go. Now, we want to show progression, so that means we need to stay in the game for the full 90 plus minutes, and that’s what our goal is going to be tomorrow night.”


FC Edmonton goalkeeper Darlington Murasiranwa earned his first professional victory last weekend against the HFX Wanderers FC.
FC Edmonton goalkeeper Darlington Murasiranwa earned his first professional victory last weekend against the HFX Wanderers FC.