Edmonton Draws First Blood in Battle of Alberta
The Edmonton Drillers rallied from 5-3 and 6-4 deficits late in the game against Calgary United, to come away with a dramatic 7-6 overtime victory in PASL-Pro action on Saturday night in Calgary.
The crowd at the Calgary Soccer Center was treated to an entertaining back and forth affair that saw Edmonton jump to an early 2-0 lead, before United leveled things just before the half.
Despite it being their first competitive match of the indoor season the visitors surprised the hosts when they tucked a loose ball in at the back post just a minute and twenty seconds after kickoff. And although Calgary countered immediately with sustained pressure and an organized half court style offence, they couldn't solve Tristan Ilko in the Edmonton goal. The best chance coming when Allen Jovica rang one off the crossbar with three minutes to go in the opening frame.
Chris Lemire scored Edmonton 's second goal against the run of play early in the second quarter, and Ilko's dominant performance continued until Kyle Yamada broke the shutout with 2:35 left in the first half. Andre Duberry tied the score 35 seconds later, but Lemire put Edmonton back in front 25 seconds into the 3rd quarter on a sloppy turnover by keeper Bryan Klaus deep in the Calgary end.
Despite being out shot 20 to 4 to that point, Edmonton had a 3-2 lead and began to assert themselves on the attacking end of the floor. The action was end to end, both teams hit the crossbar, and Ilko and Klaus traded saves until United's Felix Napuri bundled one in from close range to tie the score 3-3.
Shortly after Napuri set up Chris Kooy, and Kooy eventually set up Mark Slade to give Calgary a 5-3 lead, but Edmonton's Freddy Halek pulled one back with only minutes left in the quarter.
Klaus stopped an Edmonton penalty kick late in that same quarter, and Calgary killed off a Matt Deeprose penalty that carried over into the fourth, before taking a 6-4 lead on a pretty passing play between Yamada, Milan Timotijevic, and Napuri. But Edmonton refused to go away, and got goals from Halek and Eric Pinell to send the match to overtime.
There were times in the game when Edmonton looked out of sync, but the veteran squad never panicked, and were rewarded when Pinell chipped a little ball over a sliding Klaus two and a half minutes into the overtime frame to give Edmonton a 7-6 victory.
The Drillers got two goal efforts from Pinell, Halek, and Lemire, but Ilko came away man of the match on the strength of a 24 save evening.
Calgary coach Dave Randall was disappointed with his clubs effort on the defensive side of the ball.
"It was our own fault we lost the game. The defending in our own third was horrendous. All credit to Edmonton , and their goalie was brilliant, but it was the worst performance in the back from some of my guys that I've seen in a long time."
Kyle Yamada's strong effort in the midfield earned him man of the match for United.
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Professional Arena Soccer League Stories from November 23, 2008
- Edmonton Draws First Blood in Battle of Alberta - Calgary United
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