EDMONTON —Another week, and another big challenge awaits FC Edmonton.
Just a few short days after the Eddies got punched in the mouth at the hands of Forge FC, for their first loss (3-0) of the season, the Eddies will now battle the defending champions, Pacific FC at home Wednesday night at Clarke Stadium (7 p.m.).
Two powerhouse opponents in just a span of four days, but they certainly aren’t going to back down.
“I’ve said this before we started this journey, we are the underdogs,” said FC Edmonton head coach Alan Koch.
“We are massive underdogs in the scheme (of things), but we’re going to go into the game and give it everything we can.”
The Eddies have proven to be a tough opponent at home. They’ve managed to earn two draws, after scoring late goals in both their matches against Valour FC and York United FC.
The young squad learned a tough lesson on the road against Forge FC, and are looking to rebound with a strong performance against Pacific FC.
FC Edmonton is in the middle of a rough gauntlet stretch of their schedule. After their home game against Pacific FC, they travel across the country to face the Halifax Wanderers FC on Saturday.
But Koch and his players aren’t focused on the tough schedule, they’re focused on improving each and every game.
“I think the negative is that the schedule that’s been presented to us this year is an absolute nightmare. This week that we’re going through is an almighty challenge,” said Koch.
“The positive is that we just lost the game and we get to go play right away. So we’re going to focus on the positive that we don’t have to wait a full week or 10 days or two weeks to go play again. We get to go play right away.
“So I know our group is chomping at the bit to go in and put in a good performance, we weren’t happy with the performance (nor) the result on the weekend, we want to get back to the performance levels of how we played in the first games.”
One area that the Eddies will no doubt want to improve in their match against Pacific FC, is on the offensive side of the pitch. They didn’t register a shot on net. They simply need to be more aggressive against a potent Pacific FC squad that will no doubt bring the offensive firepower.
“It’s about moving the ball quicker and playing with pace and find the gaps to get shots on goal,” said FC Edmonton defender TBoy Fayia.
“We have quality forwards that can do the damage, and we need to the ball into the box to our forwards, because I know they can do the job.”
Pacific FC is loaded with talent, throughout their lineup and are led by forwards Marco Bustos and Alejandro Diaz, who lead the league in assists and goals, respectively. But those aren’t the only two potent attackers that Pacific FC has at their disposal.
“The reason Pacific are the champs are they can hurt you in the middle, they can hurt you out wide and they can hurt you everywhere. You have to be fully cognizant in shutting down, not just one player, you have to shut down their entire team,” said Koch.
“We have to do a better job managing our game. We respect Forge, and I know we respect Pacific, but we have to focus more on ourselves and how we want to play and come out and execute our game.”
FC Edmonton will no doubt have their hands full on Wednesday, but one thing is certain, they’ve shown throughout the early stages of the season that they’ve embraced that underdog role.
“They’re undefeated. They’re the best team in the country, and they have some real special players, but if we can bring the fight to them, I know we can beat them,” said Fayia.
“We weren’t happy with our performance (on Saturday), but we can’t dwell on that last game. All that matters now is the three points that are up for grabs now. “We like being the underdogs. Nobody expects anything from us, but we embrace that. We want to surprise people and show that if we come together and work as hard as we do, we can achieve anything.”