Ottawa Fury end goal drought in 4-3 win over TFC II
Photo courtesy of Toronto FC II
Ottawa Fury FC travelled south to its Ontario rival Toronto FC II to face-off in USL action Thursday night at Lamport Stadium. After a draw and three losses in its last three matches, Fury FC got the 4-3 win over TFC II to keep the team’s playoff hopes alive.
Goal, goal and more goals
After four matches without a goal, Fury FC took advantage of playing the league’s last-place team and scored four in one game. TFC II struggle to compete in the USL with an extremely young team but was able to field a selection of MLS-level players on Thursday, including Jordan Hamilton, Ashton Morgan and Nick Hagglund. The added talent gave Nikola Popovic and his team an unexpected challenge, but they were still able to come out on top 4-3.
The game on Thursday had a great ebb and flow. Ottawa Fury allowed TFC II to keep the majority of possession and looked to strike on the counter-attack as usual.
It didn’t take long for Fury FC to end its goal drought. Tony Taylor curled a left-footed shot from outside of the box into the bottom right corner in the fourth minute.
The second goal came from a corner-kick routine often used by Fury FC this season. The attacking Fury FC players crowd the near post to block the opposing keeper’s vision and cause confusion for the opposing defenders. This time, Cristian Portilla in the 37th minute whipped the ball straight into the net from the corner-kick—a difficult skill only attempted by few players and successfully executed by even fewer.
After the half, TFC II attacked with more impetus and scored twice in the 47th minute to tie the game.
Fury FC would take the lead on two more occasions. First, in the 69th minute from a Thomas Meilleur-Giguère header that deflected off a TFC II defender before crossing the goal line. After TFC II equalized again when David Monsalve conceded a penalty-kick, Adonijah Reid sneaked in at the back post to head in the winning goal in the 78th minute from Carl Haworth’s cross from the right-wing.
Ottawa Fury this season seldom concede and seldom score, but on Thursday it was a different story. Popovic told OttawaFuryFC.com that “it’s not good when you have to score four goals,” but in the end, all that matters for Popovic and his team is the three points that keep them in the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Fury FC claw to playoff spot
New York Red Bulls II in 7th-place with 40 points lost to Indy Eleven on Wednesday to aid in Fury FC’s playoff push. Currently, Fury FC sits in 8th-place on 38 points with Nashville SC and North Carolina FC chomping at its heels with 38 and 34 points respectively.
Still, Nashville and North Carolina have the advantage with three games in hand on Fury FC.
CapCity Cup “more than just a friendly”
Ottawa Fury host Montreal Impact from Major League Soccer in the inaugural CapCity Cup only a day after Thursday’s match on Sept. 7 at 7:00 p.m. The two clubs are in partnership as Fury FC is Impact’s official USL affiliate and the match is a demonstration of the strengthening relationship between the two clubs.
As MLS is on an international break as players go to their respective national teams, Impact has taken the opportunity to come to the Nation’s Capital to promote the sport and showcase Canadian talent.
To schedule the match immediately after a competitive USL match is a little odd, especially when Popovic has often complained about the rigorous USL schedule in the past.
Expect a rotated Fury FC squad and young Canadian players on both sides to feature in the match. A possible debut in Fury FC colours could be in store for Michael Petrasso who was recently signed on loan from Impact.
Fury FC’s next competitive match is on Sept. 15 at 7:00 p.m. when they will travel to Virginia to play Richmond Kickers.
Although the CapCity Cup is a friendly, professional soccer player find it difficult to give anything less than their best when they step onto the pitch. And, if the crowd shows up on Friday night, players will not want to disappoint.