2020 CPL regular season (The Island Games) — Match #18 Valour FC vs. FC Edmonton August 29, 2020 at noon ET/1:00 p.m. AT
UPEI Artificial Turf Field in Charlottetown, PEI Watch Live: OneSoccer.ca
Two sides clinging to their chances of advancing at The Island Games will open up this third weekend of CPL games in PEI, as Valour FC and FC Edmonton square off in a match with massive implications for both sides.
Valour, who lost 2-0 to Pacific FC on Tuesday, sit seventh in the league table, although they’re just one point back of fourth place. They’ve won just once, but it was in emphatic fashion — a rampaging 4-0 win over Atlético Ottawa — and as such they’ll be desperate to rekindle that magic against the Eddies. They’ll be looking for the goalscoring acumen it showed in that game, rather than the stunted attack that’s kept them scoreless in their other three.
Meanwhile, Jeff Paulus’ FC Edmonton side is hoping to get out of the basement. They’ve shown well in their Island Games campaign at times, but they’re still without a win, having lost three and drawn once. Their best result, again, came against Ottawa, when they battled back from 2-0 down to steal a 2-2 draw at the death.
A win here would help both teams get back into the conversation (in fact, it would put Valour back into the top four), and a loss would be very dangerous. A draw might help Rob Gale’s Winnipeg-based club, but FC Edmonton would still be in a very tough spot with one point.
Following this one, the sides will look ahead to the midweek slate for their penultimate fixtures. Edmonton will play Tuesday against York9 FC (8:00 p.m. ET/9:00 p.m. AT), while Valour takes on HFX Wanderers FC on Wednesday (1:00 p.m. ET/2:00 p.m. AT).
Who’s playing left-back? Three games out of four, Valour FC have seen their left fullback forced to leave the match with injury. First it was veteran Arnold Bouka Moutou, then it was Brett Levis, and finally it was Federico Peña this past Tuesday. It’s unclear if any of the three will be fit to play on Saturday, but having somebody reliable in the spot will be crucial for Valour — especially with Keven Alemán bearing down on that side.
Get Ongaro into it: FC Edmonton hasn’t yet seen the merciless Easton Ongaro of 2019 at The Island Games. He’s had impressive moments, and he certainly looks as quick and athletic as ever, but his only goal wasn’t exactly a vintage strike.If he starts, he needs more touches in the box and more opportunities to run at the Valour backline.
Play with desperation: The first round is drawing quickly to a close, and it’ll be on both teams to show that they don’t want to go home yet. We saw it from the Eddies at the end of their game with Atlético Ottawa, but both sides will need to play like their season depends on it for 90 minutes — because, well, it might. There’s sure to be an edge to this one for that reason, so this will also be an exercise in balancing intensity with discipline.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
“We’ll tidy up some of the little errors today. It was maybe a game too many with some with heavy legs in maybe their decision making with the ball. But the longer the game went on we overtook the game and I felt we were unfortunate not to get on the scoresheet and level.” – Valour coach Rob Gale, after the Pacific game.
“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.” – Edmonton coach Jeff Paulus, after the HFX game.