Ottawa Fury FC too strong and too good in 3-0 win over Ontario rivals Toronto FC II
Steve Kingsman/Freestyle Photography/Ottawa Fury FC
Ottawa Fury FC continues its run of good form with a second straight win and fourth win in five matches. Fury FC’s latest win comes against Ontario rivals Toronto FC II in a 3-0 scoreline at TD Place on Wednesday night.
Another fast start leads to Fury FC’s sixth consecutive clean sheet
Last week Fury FC got its fastest goal in club history when Kévin Oliveira poked home the ball in the 1st minute of the game against Bethlehem Steel FC. This week, it was Oliveira again pushing the impetus when he was fouled by Toronto FC II goalkeeper Drew Shepherd in the 6th minute leading to a penalty-kick. Both players clashed heads leaving both in need of treatment. Shepherd looked to have taken the worst from the collision as he needed to be stretchered off and delayed the game for ten minutes as trainers tended to his injury on the field. Steevan Dos Santos took the subsequent penalty and placed it nicely in the top left corner in the 16th minute.
Oliveira’s status following the collision was unclear as he was being worked on in the Fury FC locker room and left Fury FC down to ten men for nearly eleven minutes. Head Coach Nikola Popovic had to make the change eventually which saw Gabriel Wiethaeuper-Balbinotti come on for Oliveira in the 28th minute.
Former Toronto FC player, Nana Attakora, made his second straight start for Fury FC after being named to the USL Team of the Week and scored Fury FC’s second goal of the night. Attakora headed in from a Carl Haworth corner-kick in the 48th minute.
Dos Santos scored his second goal of the game and third of the season later in the 79th minute when substitute Azake Luboyera sent a long ball behind TFC II’s defence that was cleared insufficiently by defender Rocco Romeo. Dos Santos was able to latch onto the loose ball and took two touches before dispatching the ball into the bottom left corner past the substitute goalkeeper Gianluca Catalano.
Maxime Crépeau wasn’t too busy but still commanded his penalty-area well. He collected dangerous crosses and closed down space with confidence and conviction when his number was called. He has proven over the six-match clean sheet run that it will take a great effort to beat him like Kenney Walker’s goal over a month ago.
Crépeau’s recent good form may lead to a Canadian National Team selection for the Fury FC goalkeeper. With two international caps already, Crépeau is looking towards Canada’s 2019-20 CONCACAF Nations League qualifying starting in September for his next opportunity to play for the red and white.
“My goal is to get called-up to the national team. It’s a great honour and privilege.
“You want to represent your country that’s for sure.”
Popovic continues to praise players and Canadian project
Last week, Popovic made it clear that he believed he, General Manager Julian de Guzman and the roster of players are building an important Canadian project that people should take note of. He continued this week after the victory stating the pride he has in his team and for the project taking place.
“I think we should be proud of our players, how they fought today. I think we cannot forget, in the starting eleven [there are] eight Canadian players.
“I think it should make Ottawa and Canadian [soccer] proud. We are six games without conceding a goal with a Canadian product. I think this is very important for us and this project.”
Popovic also has been cautious to overstate his team’s progress. He still believes Fury FC have room to improve and cannot be considered one of the best teams in the USL Eastern Conference yet.
“We are far from [being one of the best clubs in the conference]. There are five or six clubs that are very strong that have a different [level of] investment.
“When we were losing, and we didn’t start very well, everybody was criticizing us.
“It is not because we [have] some good results that we are one of the best teams.
“We said at the beginning of the season that we will fight for the playoffs. We cannot expect this team to be shoulder to shoulder with teams like [FC Cincinnati].”
Still, he believes that his team can beat anybody on their day because of their belief in the project.
“Whoever comes, wherever we go, you will see this team fighting with pride. This team has a strong identity and they know why they are fighting.”
Fury FC, now 10th in the USL Eastern Conference, will face 5th place Charlotte Independence this upcoming Saturday, June 2, 2018, at 7:00 PM at TD Place. The match will be Fury FC’s third consecutive home game and third game in nine days. It will be quite the feat if Fury FC can pull off a full nine points from the three games in a short period of time.