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MATCH PREVIEW: Homegrown Talent Featured in Second Leg of Al Classico

FC Edmonton returns home to face Cavalry FC in the second leg of the Al Classico at Clarke Stadium. Kickoff is set for 1:30 pm on Saturday, October 20th.

The first leg took place in Calgary on September 29th as the two clubs battled to a 2-2 draw at Spruce Meadows. FC Edmonton Academy graduate Ajay Khabra opened the scoring in the first half, before Calgary’s Nico Pasquotti put Cavalry FC on the scoreboard. Current Academy player Ousman Maheshe gave the Eddies a brief lead in the second half, before an own goal by FC Edmonton levelled the match.

The away leg showcased what the Canadian Premier League (CPL) is all about – providing a platform for Canadian players to play at the next level. Both sides fielded a roster which consisted of athletes mainly from their respective cities. That trend will continue in the second leg.

“It’s outstanding to see players from both Edmonton and Calgary take to the pitch and represent their respective cities,” says FC Edmonton Head Coach Jeff Paulus. “It helps to fuel the rivalry and create a buzz across the province.”


LOCAL PLAYERS TO WATCH

D – Bruno Zebie

The younger Zebie brother considers himself a box-to-box midfielder, but played extremely well at fullback in the first leg of the Al Classico.  The Edmonton Juventus product was a member of the Calgary Foothills PDL Championship club earlier this summer, but is happy to be back up north, wearing the FC Edmonton crest.

M – Ajay Khabra

The former University of Alberta standout scored the first goal at Spruce Meadows with a beautiful strike from about 20 yards out. Another former Edmonton Juventus player, Khabra is vital to FC Edmonton’s three man midfield.

F – Marcus Velado-Tsegaye

The 17 year old Academy player has impressed many of his older teammates with his touch up front. The youngster, who played youth football with Xtreme FC, Victoria and Drillers, looks to use his pace and his smarts to create scoring opportunities for himself and others.


Saturday’s match will display two generations of elite Edmonton players, as former Academy members line up alongside current Academy athletes. Paulus has also added a few players from Edmonton Scottish, who represented Alberta at the National Championship earlier this month. In addition, prospects from across the country have been invited to play for the Eddies, including players from Quebec, Ontario and Saskatchewan.

“When you bring back the core group that was down in Calgary and you add the new players, it’s exciting to see how they do,” Paulus explains. “This match also provides us another opportunity to grow our scouting database and find the players that we believe can come in and fit our game model,”

The two clubs fielding mainly Alberta-based players will result in a stronger rivalry. It makes the Al Classico unique in comparison to other Battle of Alberta contests because many of these players grew up competing against each other at the youth and post-secondary levels. The Al Classico has all the ingredients to become CPL’s biggest rivalry, and Edmonton fans will get a sneak preview this Saturday.

“For us to go and get a result, we’ll have to be at our best,” Paulus emphasizes. “We’ll have to keep possession, and we’ll have to play the way we want to play football.”

Here is the full FC Edmonton Prospects roster for Saturday’s match:

Position/Player/Previous Club (League/Country)/Edmonton Club

GK Dylon Powley – FC Gute (Sweden)/Drillers
GK Will Sykes – Lincoln FC (Gibraltar)/Southwest United
D Jackson Farmer – Calgary Foothills FC (PDL)/Xtreme FC, Juventus & Inter
D Bruno Zebie – Calgary Foothills FC (PDL)/Juventus
D Carson Janzen – FC Edmonton Academy/Strikers & Sherwood Park Phoenix
D Zsombor Sarok – FC Edmonton Academy/Warriors
D Lukas MacNaughton – Alliance United (League1 Ontario)
D Jordan Farahani – Saskatoon Revolution (Saskatchewan)
D Reafe Anderson – Masters Futbol (League1 Ontario)
M Allan Zebie – FC Edmonton/Xtreme FC
M Ajay Khabra – University of Alberta/Green and Gold (USports/AMSL)/Juventus
M Edem Mortotsi – Green and Gold (AMSL)/KC Trojans
M Andreas Yurich – Unattached
M Luke Withers – FC Edmonton Academy/Juventus
M John Pegg – Edmonton Scottish (AMSL)/Southwest United
M Oscar Miranda – AC Milan (EDSA)/Strikers
F Amer Halilic – NK Vitez/Korona Kielce (Bosnia/Poland)/Inter
F Marcus Velado-Tsegaye – FC Edmonton Academy/Xtreme FC, Victoria & Drillers
F Prince Amanda – FC Edmonton Academy/Sherwood Park Phoenix
F Sebastian Cabrera – Edmonton Scottish (AMSL)/Juventus
F Hugo Chambon – AS Blainville (PLSQ)

Tickets for the Al Classico are available for $15 until midnight on Friday, October 19th, and will be $20 on match day. You can purchase tickets here – http://bit.ly/AlClassico


FC Edmonton is a proud member of the Canadian Premier League. Become a member today! Your $50 deposit ensures your spot in line for season tickets, and grants you access to member-exclusive events and information! Join today – https://login.canpl.ca/fcedmonton

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