FC Edmonton embracing big underdog role against Cavalry FC
FC Edmonton aims to pull off the upset win over Cavalry FC in the preliminary round of the Canadian Championship. SHERRI LACASSE PHOTO
FC Edmonton aims to pull off the upset win over Cavalry FC in the preliminary round of the Canadian Championship. SHERRI LACASSE PHOTO

Jason Hills
FC Edmonton Communications

CALGARY — FC Edmonton knows they are considered underdogs with every match they’ve played this year.
As they enter the preliminary round of the CONCACAF Canadian Championship against their biggest rivals — Calvary FC, their underdog status hasn’t changed.
But their belief hasn’t changed that they can pull off the upset.

“To be brutally honest, if we win this game it could in many ways make an entire season,” said head coach Alan Koch.
“Because we’re not exactly set up for success, to be brutally honest, in anything that we’re doing right now. We’re not complaining about that, that’s just factual.
“And we get a chance now in a do-or-die type game to go cause an upset.”

The Eddies also have a shot at redemption. Cavalry FC handed FC Edmonton their first home loss of the season, in a 3-0 loss at Clarke Stadium on Friday.
It marked back-to-back losses for the first time this season, and the Eddies are 0-3-3 in league play this year.
While three points aren’t on the line in the Canadian Premier League standings tonight, there is no doubt, the Eddies want to gain confidence, and a win in the opening round of the Canadian Championship would be a nice building block to start to turn the season around.

“It’s a whole different competition. It’s actually welcomed, for us, to be honest at this stage,” Koch said of the Canadian Championship.
“Having struggled the other day, this is a whole different game. It’s almost a clean slate.
“The Canadian Championship, for fans that aren’t familiar with a soccer knockout competition, it’s a way of competition, it’s a win and advance. So, we’re excited to actually step away from the league. It’s a clean slate, it’s a brand new opportunity for our group.”

In the Eddie’s loss against Cavalry, too many mistakes were made, and with the experience that Cavalry FC has in their lineup, they capitalized.
Koch now hopes his young squad can learn from their mistakes made and put forth a stronger push against Cavalry in this match.

“We were disappointed with the performance and the results Friday night and we just completely started all over again,” said Koch.
“It’s almost like we’re in a whole different existence right now. We’re not playing for three points, we’re playing for a game that could take 90 minutes, it could take 120, it could take penalty kicks.
“So, our preparation, we’re playing the same game but there’s a different way in this game to try and achieve the outcome.”

The rivalry between the two clubs has been one-sided over the past four seasons. The Eddies have yet to secure a victory against Cavalry FC in 13 matches (0-3-10).
Koch has seen his club step up with some real strong efforts in matches, including a scoreless draw at home against Pacific FC this season.
While, they haven’t earned that first win this year, to date, the squad is hungry and will look to pull off the big upset against Cavalry FC.

“It’s the beauty, it’s the romance of our game. Things can happen in 90-plus minutes and we believe in the romance. We believe in the dreams. We want to go do something special,” Koch said.
“I’ve had the privilege of going on cup runs in my career. We have some players, not many, that have been on cup runs before, we’ve shared some of those stories with our players already: Being the underdogs, going into challenging places to play and going in fearless and trying to create shocks that people will be surprised by.
“We’re going to embrace this game. We’re looking forward to it and the guys are chomping at the bit to get going again. They want to play. One of the big positive advantages of our group is we’re young. We have very little experience and that is a positive in this situation because we’ve forgotten about last week already and we’re getting ourselves ready for a big challenge (Tuesday) night.”