• 2019 CPL Record (W-D-L): 8-8-12 (4th overall)
  • Goals scored: 27
  • Goals against: 33
  • Goal Difference: -6
  • Top scorer: Easton Ongaro (10)
Tweaks and small adjustments were the order of the day from FC Edmonton coach Jeff Paulus this off-season. A strong core of 15 players have returned from 2019, which saw FCE finish fourth in the table. Amer Didic was a welcomed sight for sore eyes as he returned to Edmonton after his trial with Vancouver Whitecaps ended. Canadian newcomers Hanson Boakai and Keven Alemán will help strengthen Edmonton’s inconsistent attack, and will be a welcome complement to the young and hungry Easton Ongaro up top. Let’s review how the Eddies could lineup on Matchday 1. RELATED READING: 2020 CPL regular season: The Island Games

Connor James FCE’s goalkeeping stable has remained for CPL’s sophomore season, as Dylon Powley is set to back up goalkeeper of the year nominee Connor James. It’s James’ starting job to lose this year, and for many years to come, as the young Edmonton-born shot-stopper settles into the professional game. James, 23, led the CPL with a staggering 12 sweeper clearances in 2019 and seven clean sheets (second-most in the league).

Terique Mohammed, Mélé Temguia, Amer Didic, Jeannot Esua Toronto FC II loanee Terique Mohammed will provide much-needed width on the left-hand side. The 20-year-old likes to get forward, using his pace to work on the overlap – something FCE will need in this theoretical XI (more on that later). He will compete with former HFX Wanderers defender Duran Lee, who offers a greater physical presence up the touchline. Amer Didic returns from his Vancouver Whitecaps trial and rejoins Mélé Temguia at centre back; it’s a calming combo building on chemistry, both physically-impressive, and they have yet to hit their peak years. Finally, Jeannot Esua was a massive bright spot for the Eddies on the right last season – his spot is guaranteed. With his pace and attacking nuance unlocking defences constantly, Esua is set to flourish in this 4-3-3.

Erik Zetterberg, Ramón Soria, Chance Carter Assuming Paulus uses a 4-3-3 again, expect to see international flair in midfield. Swedish box-to-box option Erik Zetterberg comes highly-touted, though he is largely unknown, as a potential saviour in midfield. Ramón Soria could be the most underrated possession-recycling midfielder in the CPL. Watch for Soria, 31, to drop back between the centre backs on occasion, letting younger players push on and make space up the pitch. The final midfield spot is taken by Chance Carter. Paulus is big on the former Vancouver Whitecaps left-footer, who could start as a left-sided, driving midfield option. He replaces Edem Mortotsi, who is unable to take part in The Island Games due to injury.

Keven Alemán, Easton Ongaro, Hanson Boakai Why is the 4-3-3 perfect for FCE? They can get three attackers on the field. Easton Ongaro leads the line after potting an incredible 10 goals last season. If he’s healthy, you better believe Ongaro will be starting, using his massive six-foot-six frame to link everything together in attack. Service to the big man promises to be much improved this season, thanks to two new wingers. Hanson Boakai’s fairy tale return to Edmonton sees him as a starter, specifically as an inside forward, as he looks to offer midfield support and combine with Ongaro on the inside. Another potential league-breaker, the 23-year-old will be a smart veteran to slot ahead of the still-green Prince Amanda on the right. Finally, Keven Alemán serves as a second inside forward, allowing Terique Mohammed to provide width when necessary. Talented on the ball and with good technical ability, the 26-year-old left-footer should be a tough nut to crack for CPL defences on P.E.I.

Dylon Powley, Sam Gardner, Duran Lee, Allan Zebie, Anthony Caceres, Son Yong-chan, David Doe, Tomi Ameobi, Prince Amanda, Marcus Velado-Tsegaye It’s a young group of periphery players, but Paulus trusts them. Amanda, Velado-Tsegaye, and Doe will get loads of opportunity replacing Boakai and Alemán. Young-chan will replace any fullback or midfielder, same with Allan Zebie. Watch for Duran Lee to play a big part of FCE’s P.E.I. plans. The towering defender will be playing as a left fullback.

Jeff Paulus Jeff Paulus is taking lessons learned from Year 1 for this special shortened season. For one, he’s sticking with some form of a 4-3-3, departing from his more rough-and-tumble 4-4-2 from the 2019 campaign. One of the league’s most intriguing and promising managers, Paulus could turn his Edmonton-heavy squad into Alberta darlings with the right results.

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