Reigning Soccer Bowl winners New York Cosmos made the first of two trips to Edmonton on Saturday, and took all the points with them. The match was played before a sold out crowd at Clarke Stadium.
The Rabbits may have been awed by their cosmopolitan opponents, generating few chances in the first half, and finding themselves trailing after a 37th minute goal by Sebastián Guenzatti.
The Uruguayan found the back of the net with some cheeky footwork, beating Edmonton's Joh Smits, who continues to start in place of the injured Lance Parker.
Edmonton did have a reasonable chance in the 15th minute, as Horace James headed the ball just over the crossbar.
"We are still very much in it," said Edmonton manager Colin Miller at halftime. "There's not much to change, but we have to be better in the final third."
Edmonton was put on the back heel in the second half, as the New Yorkers came out with all guns blazing, hoping to double their lead. The Rabbits withstood the onslaught, notably in the 57th minute when Captain Albert Watson blocked and deflected a shot just wide of the goal mouth.
By the 65th minute, Edmonton had begun to assert their authority in their own home, creating quality chances, and forcing Cosmos goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer into some impressive saves. In the 78th minute, they had another ball sail just over the crossbar.
But Guenzatti's first half strike proved to be the match's only goal, and leaving the Rabbits with a 0-1-1 record from two matches. Ordinarily, this would not be cause for alarm, but as the Spring season is a mere nine matches, the Rabbits have lost valuable ground in the fight for a spot in the Soccer Bowl Semi-Finals.
FC Edmonton next heads to the nation's capital to meet Ottawa Fury FC in the CSA Cup preliminary round. It is the first of two legs, with the winner facing the Montreal Impact in the Semi-Final. Click here to open our fullscreen slideshow.