Another clean sheet for Ottawa Fury FC and Crépeau in 0-0 draw against Charleston Battery

Photo credit: Charleston Battery / USL

Ottawa Fury FC gets a fourth clean sheet in a row in a 0-0 draw against Charleston Battery this past weekend. Charleston battery has won its past six matches in the USL and U.S. Open Cup only conceding one goal in the run going into Saturday’s match against Fury FC. Both teams showed their defensive qualities in a hard-fought scoreless draw.

Crépeau leads Fury FC to a fourth consecutive clean sheet

An away match against 2ndplace Charleston Battery was always going to be difficult for Fury FC. In one of Fury FC’s toughest tests of the season thus far, Fury FC showed resilience to come away from MUSC Heath Stadium with a valuable point.

After an early setback, Doneil Henry was ruled out after feeling unwell during warmups, Fury FC earned a fourth consecutive clean sheet, which is another sign of positive progression for Nikola Popovic’s team, especially considering the team’s early defensive woes—conceding ten goals in the first three games of the season.

Maxime Crépeau, on loan from Montreal Impact, has proven himself to be a pair of steady hands in goal. He is not shy to bark orders at his teammates and organizes his team, which, with his shot-stopping ability, has helped Fury FC become so defensively strong since his introduction to the starting lineup.

Fury FC required its goalkeeper to show his quality again this weekend, when, in the 50thminute, Battery was awarded a penalty-kick for a handball. Battery’s Ataulla Guerra stepped up to spot, but Crépeau made the save down low to his left and quickly got to his feet to make another save from close range.

Crépeau has conceded a measly five goals in seven games so far this season.

Consistency in personnel and performances

Aside from the one enforced change, Popovic went with an unchanged starting lineup. After early growing pains that came with a new regime and an abbreviated preseason, Fury FC is beginning to show consistency. At the beginning of the season, Popovic rotated through several different lineups as he searched for his best eleven.

In another positive performance, Steevan Dos Santos looks to have solidified his claim for the starting centre-forward role. Dos Santos did start the opening game but only began getting consistent starts after Popovic experimented with Gerardo Bruna, Adonijah Reid and Tony Taylor in the same position.

The midfield three of Christian Portilla, Jamar Dixon and Kévin Oliveira has started its third consecutive game together. The three players each bring different skills to the table that create a well-balanced midfield.

Injuries to Nana Attakora and Maxim Tissot has meant Popovic has had to be creative with his backline. Before Henry’s arrival, Chris Mannella was forced to deputize in a foreign position alongside Colin Falvey. It proved difficult for Mannella, usually a defensive-midfielder, to adapt to a new position in his first year in with Fury FC. If not for a forced changed pregame, Henry would have played with Falvey at the centre of defence for a fourth consecutive game.

Henry’s absence did mean Thomas Meilleur-Giguère was allowed to play in his best position at centre-back, while Onua Obasi came into the starting lineup as a left-back. The twenty-year-old Canadian defender was thrust into the lineup when he replaced an injured Obasi against New York Red Bulls II. Since then, Meilleur-Giguère has looked assured and confident in defence and continued his positive run in the team this weekend playing at centre-back.

What’s Next

Fury FC will return home for three games in nine days, the first of which is against Bethlehem Steel FC on Friday, May 25, 2018.

The upcoming schedule is “another big test,” according to Popovic but is also a big opportunity for Fury FC to make up some ground on teams above them in the standings.