It was a scorcher at TD Place on Sunday. The heat plus the humidity made the stadium feel like an oven baking at 40C. But still over 4,000 fans turned up to see if the Ottawa Fury could extend their unbeaten streak to 8 games. They would not be disappointed, rewarded with 4 Fury goals and a spectacular penalty kick save courtesy of veteran keeper Romuald Peiser.
With only Brandon Poltronieri sitting this game out due to the flu, and Julian de Guzman back from his stint with the Canadian National Team at the Gold Cup, Coach Dos Santos had a nearly full squad from which to select his starting eleven. Romuald Peiser would continue in his role as keeper with Ryan Richter, Rafael Alves, Colin Falvey, and Mason Trafford as the solid wall of defenders in front of him. The midfield saw captain Richie Ryan playing alongside Julian de Guzman and Sinisa Ubiparipovic with Andrew Wiedeman, Tommy Heinemann and Paulo Jr. up front.
The scoring started early in the first half with Rafael Alves using his height to head home a free kick from Ubiparipovic. The rest of the first half was a bit sloppy for the home side as Indy Eleven took control and had chances from Kyle Hyland and Charlie Rugg. Both teams looked to be struggling in the heat, but Don Smart was able to give the visitors the equalizer in the 33rd minute. Almost instantly, the Fury found an answer and pulled ahead after Indy’s Cory Miller was awarded a yellow card. Captain Richie Ryan took the free kick and found the back of the net with ease.
In the second half the Ottawa Fury were looking far more organized and energetic. Midfielder Julian de Guzman was taken off at the half as a precaution and replaced with Mauro Eustaquio. The Fury had a few chances before the ball landed at Tommy Heinemann’s feet. Despite not getting a great touch, the ball rolled past Indy keeper Kristian Nicht to put the Fury up 3-1. Despite some very good shots from Indy’s Dylan Mares, Charlie Rugg and Brian Brown, the visitors could not get past Peiser. The Ottawa side secured their lead again in the 65th minute after Tommy Heinemann was fouled just outside the box. Ryan would again step up to take the free kick and scored in similarly spectacular fashion. Near the end of the game Indy Eleven Cory Miller was awarded another yellow for a foul on Fury defender Mason Trafford and was shown a red card due to his previous yellow. Indy saw a few more chances in stoppage time when Brian Brown was fouled inside Peiser’s box resulting in a penalty kick. Peiser would be up to the challenge and solidly saved Victor Peneda’s attempt. He was unlucky on the next Indy chance off the corner kick and Judson McKinney headed one past the keeper to make the final score 4-2.
The fans were thrilled to see four Ottawa goals on the afternoon but the team and coach Dos Santos remained level headed, “I’m really not concerned with the amount of goals we score. I’m concerned about the points and the standings. And if we win 1-0 or 5-4 for me, it’s three points.” Tommy Heinemann agreed and added that it was important for the team to take the win with them into their midweek game against Atlanta on Wednesday. “I think it let’s us breathe a little bit. Now this midweek game is very crucial for us. This is our game in hand so we need to take advantage of it.” Captain Richie Ryan highlighted the improvements he’s seen in the team in the last year as they reacted to Indy’s goal in the first half. “If we’d conceded 1-1 goal in the first half last season our heads would have dropped.” And then there was the heat. “With the heat, when you have possession you have to be a bit more patient and make the opposition work because you can’t just go forward every time. You’ll blow yourself out.” Marc Dos Santos also admitted using the height of his squad to his advantage “We knew that we’re a little bit taller than Indy and that we could be very very dangerous in set plays. And that’s what we did, and we did well.”
The Fury have a busy schedule in the coming week with a game on Wednesday against the Atlanta Silverbacks and another the following Sunday against Carolina all at home at TD Place. In this situation Dos Santos says communication is key. “People need to be honest. Players always want to play and sometimes they are not 100% to play. At the same time you don’t want to rotate too much because if you rotate 5 or 6 guys it changes the face of the team.” On Wednesday the squad have the chance to move into first place in the NASL Fall season with a win. “We have to make sure that we have the right people and the fresh legs to do that.”
Full highlights: https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=217&v=B8eJ7WwNJU8