For the second game in a row, HFX Wanderers FC saw a first-half lead erased late at Wanderers Grounds as FC Edmonton battled back on Saturday to draw 1-1.
The hosts’ marker came from the first real chance of the game, as they won a corner from their first attacking move. Juan Diego Gutierrez curled the dead-ball cross into the six-yard box, and his effort fell to the back of the net thanks to an aerial battle between the Wanderers’ Matthew Arnone and Edmonton’s Amer Didic — it was unclear which of the two took the final touch, but HFX took the lead nonetheless.
HFX threatened again several times in the early stages, with Gutierrez especially doing damage with his tight crosses. Neither side managed to find the net, though, as an end-to-end game produced little in the way of serious scoring opportunities.
The second half played out in similar, although the Eddies took the front foot. A pair of substitutions from Jeff Paulus saw Marcus Velado-Tsegaye and Bruno Zebie brought in around the 75th minute to try and spark FCE’s attack.
The visitors commanded around two-thirds of possession in the latter 45, trying to break through a high-pressing Wanderers side, and their breakthrough finally came with about 10 minutes left to play. FC Edmonton won a corner around the 80th minute, and the ensuing cross juggled around the area between attackers before finding captain Tomi Ameobi, standing on the goal line, for an easy finish.
Both sides had golden opportunities to steal the win in stoppage time, as Tomasz Skublak picked off a goal kick but failed to outpace his marker, and then the Eddies couldn’t find a way to push a loose ball over the line as it bounced around the six-yard box.
The draw stretched HFX’s home unbeaten streak to six, although they’ve split points in the last five of that stretch. Bagging a point also just about keeps FC Edmonton in the Fall season race, as their maximum points total is now 27 (meaning they’d need Cavalry FC and Forge FC to drop significant points, while topping both teams on goal differential).
Both sides will be back at it midweek, as they take part in a Wednesday CPL tripleheader. FC Edmonton will return home to greet Forge FC (9:00 p.m. ET, 7:00 p.m. MT, on OneSoccer), while HFX Wanderers head to the opposite coast to take on Pacific FC on Vancouver Island (10:00 p.m. ET, 7:00 p.m. PT on OneSoccer).
Most of the Wanderers’ most dangerous attacks came through the right winger, who was a serious threat with a cross all afternoon. He played two sublime corners into the box within the first 15 minutes of the game, and he led his side with 19 duels. FC Edmonton struggled to contain HFX on the flanks, which was largely due to the bright play of Gutierrez and his left-sided counterparts.
Mélé Temguia (FC Edmonton)
The Eddies’ centre-back was powerful in defence, doing well to shut down HFX attacks before they became too dangerous. He made four tackles, two clearances, and two interceptions, bravely winning the ball on nine occasions while staying disciplined (he conceded just one foul). Temguia didn’t get forward very often, but he was very steady at the back while his side controlled the lion’s share of possession.
Mohamed Kourouma (HFX Wanderers FC)
Kourouma led his team in shots (four), passes (38), and touches (63), sending in five crosses from open play while also cutting inside from the wing to cause problems for the Eddies’ defence. He didn’t have a lot of grade-A opportunities (nor did the rest of his team), but Kourouma, like Gutierrez, was a threat from out wide on an afternoon where both sides struggled to create.