Ottawa Fury jump to seventh-place after second road win in a row

Photo courtesy of Richmond Kickers

Ottawa Fury FC moves into seventh-place after the team’s 2-0 win over Richmond Kickers on Saturday night at City Stadium. It was a prime opportunity to get three points and boost the team’s playoff hopes against a weak team and Fury FC capitalized with a solid performance and a clean sheet.

Back-to-back away wins for Fury FC

Fury FC has a reputation for being bad on the road (5-2-8). The team’s away record is deceiving, though, as three of those losses came in the early part of the season when TD Place wasn’t ready because of snow and the team wasn’t settled because of lack of practice time with a new head coach.

On Saturday, Ottawa Fury proved they can get points on the road. They travelled south to Virginia to face Richmond Kickers, who they beat a month ago at TD Place 2-0.

Nikola Popovic’s team was able to repeat the trick winning 2-0 again from a Mallan Roberts own-goal and a Carl Haworth goal from a corner-kick, which is the team’s second road victory in a row.

Haworth influential in a new position

Haworth was an integral part of Fury FC’s mid-season success on the right side of the attacking triumvirate. Haworth linked well with his fellow attackers and contributed with goals and assists and created chances with his lively energy.

After an ankle injury kept the team’s captain out of the lineup for six matches, Haworth has returned and is showing again why he is one of the first names on the teamsheet.

Haworth, in a new position on the right side of the defence, is still managing to influence the game on the attacking end. He first occupied the right-wingback position when Popovic experimented with a back-three for a couple matches against Indy Eleven and Bethlehem Steel, but now is playing at right-back in a back-four.

He first filled in at right-back for the suspended Eddie Edward against TFC II. In that match, Haworth assisted Fury FC’s fourth and winning goal and recorded the most touches on the team.

Against Kickers, Haworth routinely joined the attack and was influential on both goals. It was his cross in the tenth minute that forced Roberts to head the ball into his own net in a desperate attempt to intercept the ball.

Haworth got his goal from a classic Fury FC set-piece in the 38th minute. Last week, Cristian Portilla whipped the ball straight into the net from the corner flag. This week, Haworth drove in a corner-kick with Ottawa Fury players crowding the first post blocking Brandon Barnes’ path to the ball. Barnes flailed at the ball with his fists and directed the ball into his own net.

You could say Haworth was fortuitous, but it is clearly something Popovic has his team practicing.

Playoff picture

Many of the teams in-and-around Ottawa Fury (New York Red Bulls II, Bethlehem Steel and Nashville SC) were not in action this weekend. Fury FC rose to seventh-place as a result with 41 points.

Nashville (ninth-place with 39 points) still looks destined to nab one of the final playoff spots with three games fewer played than Fury FC. But, Fury FC still has a chance to finish better than Red Bulls II (eight-place with 41 points) and Bethlehem (sixth-place with 42 points).

Fury FC’s opponents in its remaining four matches are, in the main, quality teams. Ottawa Fury cannot drop points, even against tough opponents like Louisville City FC and Charleston Battery.

Popovic will have another full week of training to prepare his team for Louisville City next Saturday, Sept. 22 at 7:30 p.m. at Louisville Slugger Field.