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PREVIEW | Eddies visit San Francisco for first time, begin home-and-home with Deltas

A first visit to the Bay Area begins a crucial back-to-back set with the Deltas to gain ground in the Spring Season.
Jamie Umbach (@JamieUmbach) | Jun 16, 2017

EDMONTON, A.B. — FC Edmonton begin an important home-and-home with the San Francisco Deltas when the club travels to the Bay Area and Kezar Stadium for the first time in North American Soccer League (NASL) play on Saturday, June 17. Kickoff is set for 8:00 PM MT.

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San Francisco and Edmonton have already met once this season back on May 14 at Clarke Stadium, ending in defeat for the Eddies in the last minutes from a Cristian Portilla free-kick that avoided everyone in the box and bounced into the net for the 1-0 victory.

Despite a one-goal loss last time out against league-leading Miami FC, the Eddies can take a number of positives from the loss and their previous midweek match in Brooklyn -- a 4-2 win over the New York Cosmos. The positive play comes ahead of a crucial two-game set against the Deltas, who sit ahead of the Eddies by seven points in third place in the NASL Spring Season standings.

“The lads at the moment are playing very well,” FC Edmonton head coach Colin Miller said.  “There’s an enthusiasm about the club at training that was maybe lacking earlier in the season. The way the guys are playing, in particular that performance away from home [against the Cosmos], that has to give us incentive to try and be more dangerous away from home.

“We’re only five points out of that fourth playoff spot and [San Francisco] are one of those teams ahead of us that we’re chasing, and we play them twice in a row. They’re a good side that are well-coached and well-prepared, and they’ve done very well so far for a new franchise.”

Canadian and Deltas’ midfielder Kyle Bekker was named NASL Player of the Week this past Monday with two goals in a 3-1 win for the Deltas over Puerto Rico FC before the club were defeated midweek in the U.S. Open Cup 2-0 by local rivals the San Jose Earthquakes. Loaded with Canadian content, the Deltas include centre-backs Mason Trafford and Nana Attakora, with Maxim Tissot poised to slot in at left-back with Kenny Teijsse suspended due to yellow card accumulation.

The Eddies have benefitted from a change in formation to the 4-2-3-1 in the past two matches. Goalkeeper Nathan Ingham has been strong in between the pipes in his first two NASL appearances, bolstered by the recent naming to the NASL team of the Week on Wednesday. Striker Tomi Ameobi is up to three goals this season after a brace against the Cosmos, and winger Sainey Nyassi has been lively as of late, adding his first goal of the season in Brooklyn.

“We had to make a change to the system and looks like this one is working a bit better for us, so we’ll continue to go along these lines,” Miller added. “If it’s not broken, I certainly won’t fix it.”

Captain Nik Ledgerwood and left-back Netan Sansara did not travel to San Francisco due to injury, and midfielder Sabri Khattab also missed the trip due to illness.

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