May 7, 2012
Eddies blow by Railhawks 3-0
By CRASH CAMERON, QMI AGENCY
EDMONTON - Queen’s Freddy Mercury sang the famous line: “Anyway the wind blows, doesn’t really matter … ”
That had nothing to do with FC Edmonton’s afternoon at Clarke Field: it was completely wind-aided as Shaun Saiko and FCE blew past the Carolina RailHawks with a 3-0 win on a windy afternoon.
There is only 160 pounds’ worth of Saiko, so maybe the gales filled his sails a little more than others.
“We didn’t really change anything,” Saiko said about the second half when their game started going north as it gusted south with FCE.
“We were pretty happy the way that we played in the first half because we didn’t concede any goals. We knew it was going to be difficult and we knew the second half we were going to have the wind, so we just stuck to our game plan and everything went well.”
FCE had the slight advantage of play in the first half but couldn’t make the connections from the flanks into the box.
But the change of direction just built their momentum.
Despite the ’Hawks midfield packing back, Matt Lam found a gap, threading it to Saiko in the middle, who sent a looping volley over Ray Burse in the 54th minute. The Carolina keeper appeared to get his hands on it and may have even edged it slightly downward to tuck under the crossbar.
It was Burse that needed help on Saiko’s next shot four minutes later.
This time, Saiko was coming on off the left flank when his fellow midfielder Ilja van Leerdam, who looked ready to burst through the middle, casually rolled it into Saiko’s wheelhouse.
“I said to the guys at the beginning of the game, ‘We’re due for a game where we score goals, so if we kept a clean sheet I think we have a chance to win.’
“Credit to the whole team, especially the back line.
“It was obviously difficult with the wind to play the kind of stuff we wanted to. The ball wasn’t really doing what we wanted it to. We knew coming into the second half it was going to be easier to play. Sure enough, after we scored that first goal we got a bit of confidence.”
Saiko completed the trifecta, burying a penalty in the 81st.
“Definitely, the first half it was a struggle,” said FCE fullback Paul Hamilton. “When you tried to clear those balls, they just came right back at you. We knew we had the advantage in the second half and we capitalized.”
Hamilton was in on a number of headers, but had less chasing to do after them in the last 45.
“It’s brilliant to be at home, get the shutout, the three points.
“We kept the ball out of our own net. You keep the ball out of your own net it gives you the great chance to win.”
And taking advantage of their chances was the key said manager Harry Sinkgraven.
“Both teams struggled against the wind,” he said. “We did in the first, they did in the second half. But we scored three goals.
als, a clean sheet, well it’s perfect,” said Sinkgraven, noting the importance of the win.
It put FCE even on points with Carolina and the Atlanta Silverbacks. The Eddies also have the edge in goal differential (even compared to the ’Backs at minus-2 and ’Hawks at minus-6) as well as the one win and three draws to both the others’ four.
“It was three points between us and Carolina … so you have the loss today the gap is enormous,” said Sinkgraven. “So it was important for the team, for the fans, I’m very happy.”
As were the 1,120 who were on hand.
As was Saiko.
“My first hat-trick as a professional. So it’s a day I won’t ever forget.
“Most important, the team played well and we got the three points.”