Ottawa Fury lose 1-0 to second place Pittsburgh Riverhounds

Photo credit: Steve Kingsman / Freestyle Photography / Ottawa Fury FC

Ottawa Fury FC return home with a loss after a stretch of road matches. The Pittsburgh Riverhounds proved too good on Sunday afternoon and was able to come away from TD Place with the 1-0 win. 

It was always going to be difficult for Fury FC against a strong Riverhhounds squad—second in the Eastern Conference—but Fury FC showed improvement since the teams last meeting.

First of four matches at TD Place

The match on Sunday afternoon versus the Pittsburgh Riverhounds was Fury FC's first of four matches at home. Previous to the match Fury FC enjoyed a positive 4-2-2 record at home at TD Place.

Pittsburgh Riverhounds beat Fury FC for a second time this season on Sunday 1-0. The Riverhounds have proven themselves to be one of the best teams in the league this season with the most clean sheets in the USL (12) and the fewest goals allowed (7).

On Sunday it was no different as Fury FC saw little opportunity to put one by opposing goalkeeper Dan Lynd. Fury FC ended the match with 2 shots and 1 shot on target.

Riverhounds' breakthrough came in the 22nd minute just after Maxime Crépeau made an impressive save from a header from a corner-kick. On the second phase of the play, Christiano Francois crossed the ball in from the left side towards the back-post. Onua Obasi let his man win the header and the ball was put back into a dangerous area where Hugh Roberts was able to sweep the ball past Crépeau.

It was an example of poor defending from Fury FC, something the team has irradicated from the team's play as of recently.

Fury FC went into the game looking to press high and win the ball in Pittsburgh's end and it showed in the possession stats. Usually, Nikola Popovic and his team allow the other team to have possession and hit on the counter-attack, but that tactic was not going to work against a well-organized Riverhounds team, especially after the first goal went in.

Popovic commented after the match saying, "We tried to do it our way. But Pittsburgh is a very good team. Once they scored, they closed the lines they wanted to use to attack."

Some lineup news: Steevan Dos Santos made a substitute appearance after several matches out of the squad and Canadian defender Kyle Porter has recently been released by Fury FC.

Fury FC sign Canadian striker Daniel Haber

In keeping with the Canadian-first philosophy, Fury FC has signed Daniel Haber on a free transfer from FC Cincinnati.

At 26-years-old, the Canadian striker has spent time in Israel and Cyprus playing top-level soccer. In 2016 he made the move to North America enjoying stints with Vancouver Whitecaps 2, Real Monarchs and most recently FC Cincinnati.

He has also racked up 5 caps for the Canadian men"s national team.

General Manager Julian de Guzman commented on the singing saying, "Daniel is someone we hope can help us create more opportunities for our club.

"From my interactions with him in the past, I know he is a great professional and we look forward to having him join the team and add another threat to our attacking arsenal."

Fury FC has not been consistent at creating chances this season, so Haber will hopefully add to the team's attacking options going forward for the rest of the season.

What's next?

Ottawa Fury faces Penn FC next at home at TD Place on Saturday, July 14 at 2:00 PM. Ottawa Fury lost to Penn FC earlier this season 1-0.

After that, Toronto FC will visit TD Place for the Canadain Championship semi-final first leg against Fury FC and Fury FC will surely be ready to face the reigning MLS champions.

Last season the two teams met at the same stage of the competition and Fury FC was able to get the win in the first leg but not close out the series in the second.

But, this season Toronto FC look vulnerable as they haven't won a game since June 9 with 3 losses and 2 draws since then.

It would be a historic result if Popovic and his men could get the victory over the two legs.