Playoff push continues for Ottawa Fury after 0-0 draw with Indy Eleven

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

The turn-around was quick after Ottawa Fury’s win against Richmond Kickers last Wednesday. Fury FC hosted Indy Eleven in another important match on Saturday in front of a crowd of 5,393.

There were chances at either end but neither team could find the breakthrough ending the game 0-0.

Popovic makes changes to combat busy schedule

Matches continue to pile up for Nikola Popovic and his team as Fury FC continue to push for a playoff spot. Against Indy Eleven on Saturday, Popovic made three changes to the starting lineup as well as a formation change.

Fury FC lined up for the first time this season in a 3-5-2 with David Edgar, a Canadian men’s national team member and former English Premier League player, making his first appearance for Ottawa Fury at the centre of defence. The changes allowed Popovic to rest Eddie Edward, Nana Attakora and Kévin Olivera, players who have played a lot of minutes this season.

Both teams created chances on the day. Indy keeper Owain Fôn Williams made a point-blank save on Tony Taylor at the 35th minute, after good work from Daniel Kinumbe and Steevan Dos Santos to create the opening.

Indy Eleven hit the bat twice, first in the 52nd minute when Maxime Crépeau got a piece of Soony Saad’s shot to touch it onto the crossbar, and second, in the 76th minute when Saad again caressed the ball with the inside of his foot onto the post.

Fury FC’s best chance came when Dos Santos won a generous penalty award from referee Yusri Rudolf when he was taken down just inside the penalty area by Carlyle Mitchell. The subsequent penalty, taken by Dos Santos, went off the left post and out for a goal-kick. Dos Santos fell to his knees knowing he had missed a golden opportunity.

One point earned, or two points lost?

Ottawa Fury has only three home games remaining out of nine and considering Fury FC’s poor away form (3W-6L-2D), Fury needs to make the most out of these home game.

Still, Fury FC came away from the match on Saturday pleased with the result and ready for the challenge ahead.

“Today, I think it was an even game. Of course, we had the penalty that we missed, but at the end of the [day], I think we have to say it was a fair result,” said Popovic after the match.

Popovic was also pleased with how his team responded to the many changes he made to the starting lineup.

“I think not only Carl [Haworth], but the kid Kinumbe played on the left side, Edgar coming in for the first time trying to find the chemistry with Obasi and with Thomas [Meilleur-Giguère].

“I think we have to be very, very proud of [the players], how they were able to recover, understand what was asked of them by the staff and put it in place on the field.”

Edgar proud to be a part of Fury FC’s Canadian project

Edgar was one of Canada’s bright young stars when Canada hosted the U-20 World Cup in 2007. In that tournament, Canada’s squad also featured current Fury FC players David Monsalve and Nana Attakora. Since then, Edgar has featured in the English Premier League for Newcastle United, Burnley and Swansea City.

In 2016, Edgar returned to North America and signed with the Vancouver Whitecaps. Edgar would be setback ahead of the 2017 MLS season when he was involved in a car accident that injured his right knee and had him out for an extended period of time.

General Manager Julian De Guzman knows Edgar from their time together with the men’s national team and was happy to snap him up to add to Fury FC’s Canadian contingent.

Edgar is equally happy to start his Ottawa Fury career and be a part of Fury FC’s Canadian project.

“On a personal note, very happy, very pleased to make my debut and get 90 minutes under the belt,” said Edgar after the match.

“The team as a whole, I think we dug deep. Rode our luck a little bit but could have easily come out with three points.”

Edgar commented on Fury FC’s Canadian project.

“What they are trying to build here is something that is going to leave a lasting impression on Canadian soccer. It gives an outlet for players.

“I didn’t have that when I was 14 years old, there was no [Toronto FC,] no Ottawa Fury for us to aspire to be players [for].

“I think it is fantastic to have young Canadians around me and I’m a passionate Canadian supporter and a passionate Canadian player and I want to see these players grow into future Canadian internationals.”

His experience and quality will give Fury FC an added boost as the team goes for a playoff spot. After Week 23 of the USL, Fury FC sits seventh with 35 points and nine games remaining. The table remains extremely tight with only one point separating fifth and ninth.

Next, Ottawa Fury hit the road to face fifth-place Bethlehem Steel FC on Wednesday, August 22 at 5:00 PM. After that Fury FC return to TD Place to play Penn FC in one of their three home remaining home games.