by Duane Rollins
With a club that features 14 Canadians for the spring season of NASL, FC Edmonton can truly lay claim to being the most Canadian of Canadian pro teams.
It is a claim that they have held since 2011, when they debuted and surprised everyone by making a playoff appearance in their first season. The 2012 season was a step back – both on the pitch where they struggled and in regards to the amount of Canucks that saw action – but the new season brings with it all the clichéd hope that all new seasons bring.
In 2012, many close to Edmonton criticized the club for taking a step away from their Canadian-first approach of 2011. The thinking of the club was that foreign talent could pace the Eddies to a better season, but that proved to be false.
Expect Edmonton, under Canadian head coach Colin Miller, to once again embrace the Maple Leaf in 2013.
Things got off to a cautiously promising start, with Edmonton drawing the Fort Lauderdale Strikers 1-1 on the road. Steven Sandor of the11.ca has a good review of the game.
Four Canadians -- Edson Edward, Adrian LeRoy, Shaun Saiko and Antonio Rago – played the full 90 for the Eddies. Four other Canucks -- Michael Cox (subbed out at 76 minutes) Massimo Mirabelli (subbed in at 64 minutes) and Edem Mortotsi (subbed in at 76 minute) also played.
Two other Canadians played minutes in NASL action last weekend. Former TFC midfielder Kevin Harmse went the full 90 for San Antonio and Paul Hamilton started and went 90 minutes before getting sent off for a second yellow card.