It was a frustrating night for Paulus, who saw his above-average defensive structure wilt away with those mistakes and clinical finishing from the Wanderers.
Paulus addressed a particular moment of passion caught by OneSoccer cameras and covered by analyst Terry Dunfield: Keven Aleman was seen “shushing” a teammate who wanted a pass after he fired a shot over the crossbar.
“It’s our fourth game, you see the minutes Keven has played, his transition to defending, willingness to get back, getting on the ball, his desire. He trains the same way,” Paulus said of Aleman’s work rate. “This has been talked about a player who’s been influential for us, and plays the game how it should be played, then I think we should be talking about a different Keven, one that’s committed to training and be a top performer for us.
“That’s the Keven I want to talk about.”
FC Edmonton’s lone bright spot came in the 87th minute when Marcus Velado-Tsegaye fired off a laser beam straight into the top-left corner from 25 yards out. The 19-year-old recorded a team-high three shots in just 30 minutes of action, impressing Paulus.
“He had a difficult pre-season, took a couple of injuries, so he never got in a rhythm,” Paulus said of Velado-Tsegaye’s first start of the 2020 season.
“I told him he has my complete confidence, I knew he would impress and he went out there flying. He came on, made an impact, and got that confidence boost. That’s what you like to see from young players.”
The Eddies sit five points out of the fourth and final second-round berth after this loss – a daunting hole that sets up must-win scenarios in their remaining three matches.
Paulus doesn’t deny the hill to climb, with their single point coming from a two-goal comeback against Atlético Ottawa last weekend.
“It’s a difficult loss, and it has made it very difficult for us moving forward, but hopefully these young players can be bright spots for years to come,” Paulus said.