FC Edmonton ended their 2022 Canadian Premier League season with a victory on Saturday afternoon, beating Valour FC 3-1 in a memorable performance at Clarke Stadium.
The first quarter of an hour was uneventful for the most part, other than a shot from Shamit Shome at the edge of the penalty area that momentarily had the home fans on their feet before it ended up going wide of the target.
It would be the visitors who opened the scoring together, doing so in the 18th minute from a set piece. After Sean Rea delivered one of his trademark good crosses from a corner kick, the ball bounced around in the penalty area as Eddies defenders scrambled to try and clear it. It fell to Walter Ponce, however, who struck it well, past Andreas Vaikla into the roof of the goal.
Valour kept piling on the pressure in the minutes that followed, but weren’t able to double their advantage.
The Eddies started to gain some momentum, and just after the half-hour mark would tie things up at 1-1. After drawing the penalty, knocked over by Valour defender Brett Levis, Tobias Warschewski stepped up to take the spot kick himself. As he has done several times this season, FC Edmonton’s leading scorer smashed his shot past Jonathan Sirois to equalize for the home side.
FC Edmonton weren’t done there, and they took the lead a few minutes later on a fantastic free kick from Wesley Timoteo.
Another one of the team’s standout players this season, Timoteo curled his shot to the top right corner of Jonathan Sirois’ net. The Valour goalkeeper got a touch on it, but not a strong enough one, and the ball crossed the line for one of the best goals of the 2022 season.
It was something of a full circle moment for The Eddies, as it was Warschewski who scored another Goal of the Year candidate against Valour FC at this very stadium in the first game of the season — his now-famous bicycle kick to earn his side a point in that game back in April.
Edmonton would take a deserved 2-1 lead into halftime, thanks to Timoteo’s stunner.
The second half was a chippy one, with neither side able to really assert their dominance. It got a little feisty, with several bookings handed out after the break, as both sides looked for an important goal — Valour to tie the match, and Edmonton to extend their lead.
With about ten minutes left in the match Andreas Vaikla, as he’s done on a number of occasions this season, bailed out his teammates with a fantastic stop. Terique Mohammed tried to pass the ball back to his goalkeeper, but didn’t put enough power behind it, and Matteo de Brienne pounced on it.
As the talented Valour youngster closed in on goal, Vaikla came out of his net and made a fantastic sliding tackle to both stop de Brienne in his tracks and clear the ball out of the penalty area in one motion.
Valour went down to ten men in the 82nd minute, as Daryl Fordyce was given his marching orders for losing his cool. After Gaby Bitar was fouled at the edge of the penalty area, Fordyce kicked the ball at him, which Eddies defender Terique Mohammed took exception to. As he approached the Valour captain, Fordyce swung his forearm at Mohammed, knocking him to the ground, and was shown a straight red card.
It was Bitar and the Eddies who got the last laugh, as the Ottawa-born midfielder, making his first substitute appearance after a spell on the sidelines with an injury, stepped up and fired a free kick into the back of the net — the icing on the cake of a memorable victory for the hometown side.
In stoppage time, Alan Koch brought a pair of young players — York United loanee Felix N’sa and long-time academy prospect Joe Holliday — off the bench for deserved professional debuts as well.
The final few moments of the match came and went, and with Mathieu Souaré’s final whistle, FC Edmonton had their fourth and final win of the season. After the long and challenging season they had, ending it with a victory was a meaningful result, as demonstrated by the reaction from the players and fans alike at the final whistle.
18′ — Walter Ponce (Valour FC)
31′ — Tobias Warschewski (FC Edmonton) — penalty
36′ — Wesley Timoteo (FC Edmonton)
84′ — Gabriel Bitar (FC Edmonton)
24′ — Yellow: Mamadi Camara (FC Edmonton)
30′ — Yellow: Andrew Jean-Baptiste (Valour FC)
40′ — Yellow: Bicou Bissainthe (FC Edmonton)
55′ — Yellow: Kévin Rendón (Valour FC)
67′ — Yellow: Terique Mohammed (FC Edmonton)
68′ — Yellow: Rocco Romeo (Valour FC)
80′ — Yellow: Andy Baquero (Valour FC)
82′ — Red: Daryl Fordyce (Valour FC)