Last Friday, Ottawa Fury FC welcomed the Rochester Rhinos for their second preseason game. Since there is still snow on the ground, the teams headed indoors to Complexe Branchaud-Briere in Gatineau. Both teams would have to adjust their style of play to the smaller indoor field. The Fury and the Rhinos have met once before in last year’s preseason and played to a very physical one all tie. History has a way of repeating itself as this years’ meeting saw Paterson needing stitches and keeper Marcel DeBellis being sent off after an aggressive tackle. But we’ll get to that.
In the first half, coach Marc Dos Santos elected to start goalkeeper DeBellis in order to give him more game experience. Mike Randolph, Mason Trafford, Drew Beckie and Ryan Richter made up the backline in the first half. With captain Richie Ryan sitting out the game with a minor injury, Philipe Davies took over his position and started in the midfield along with Nicki Paterson and Sinisa Ubiparipovic. Up front, Dos Santos played Oliver on the right, Paulo Jr. on the left with Tommy Heinemann in the middle. Heinemann gave a strong performance and seemed to improve at reading the play and staying onside. Paulo Jr and Oliver also performed well striping the ball off of Rochester players and moving quickly along the sides. The physical nature of the game started immediately in the 2nd minute when Nicki Paterson was involved in a head to head collision. He briefly left the game with a gash above his left eye, which required stitches after the game, but got all patched up and returned to the pitch a few minutes later to finish out the first half. The first goal of the game would come at the 20-minute mark when Rochester Rhino winger Laurent Lanteri capitalized on a loose rebound. The physical game continued and 5 minutes later Fury goalkeeper Marcel DeBellis was shown a straight red after a particularly aggressive tackle on Rhinos forward Christian Volesky as he came through the defensive line and was left one on one with the keeper. Romuald Peiser replaced him and both teams continued on with 11 men as per preseason rules. Despite great ball movement and a few chances from Tommy Heinemann, the Fury ended the first half down a goal.
The second half saw a completely different defensive line up with Colin Falvey and Rafael Alves playing in the middle with Matthew Foschini and Brandon Poltronieri playing on the sides. This combination looked the stronger of the two and was better able to deal with Rochester forwards charging down the middle. In the midfield, Patryk Misik came on for Paterson to play with Davies and Ubiparipovic. Up front, Carl Haworth replaced Oliver and Andrew Wiedeman came on for Heinemann, while Paulo Jr. stayed on the left wing. The Ottawa Fury were the stronger side in the second half but were unable to net a goal until the 75th minute when Carl Haworth converted a loose ball at the top of the Rochester box. The score-line remained despite some impressive footwork from Wiedeman and chances from Davies and Heinemann who re-entered the game for Ubiparipovic. Fury Senior Academy player Mohamed Dagnogo saw a few more playing minutes and showed a lot of effort but didn’t seem to be connecting with his teammates.
So through two preseason matches the Ottawa Fury remain undefeated. Their next preseason game will be away against FC Montreal at Olympic Stadium this Friday March 20.