The Ottawa Fury took all three points in their game this Saturday against fellow 2014 expansion team Indy Eleven. The Fury were coming off of their bye week so the hope was that the squad would be at full strength after two full weeks of training and rest. There was some good news with both Richie Ryan and Mike Randolph returning to full practices, and Tommy Heinemann would be available on the bench. But the team is still not firing on all cylinders. Striker Andrew Wiedeman suffered a concussion in practice that rendered him unavailable and Brazilian winger Oliver has been ruled out of the line up indefinitely. The league table was the other piece of bad news looming over the squad’s heads. The Fury went into the game in last place. In order to compete in the league, they would need to start scoring and start winning. This match was do or die.
There weren’t too many surprises in coach Dos Santos’ starting line up. Romuald Peiser would take his usual position in goal behind a defensive line made up of Mason Trafford, Colin Falvey, Rafael Alves, and Ryan Richter. Perhaps the one interesting change was defender Drew Beckie starting as a defensive midfielder along with Sinisa Ubiparipovic and Julian de Guzman. The attacking line was made up of Brandon Poltronieri, and Paulo Junior, with Carl Haworth starting as the team’s striker.
The first half was uneventful from both sides with the Fury unable to capitalize on any of their attacking plays. Indy didn’t fare much better as Peiser only faced 2 shots all game from the opposing side. Both teams looked equally non-threatening through the first half and fans wondered at half time, if the game would end in a goalless stalemate.
In effort to spark some energy and attacking force, coach Dos Santos put Tommy Heinemann in at the start of the second half for Brandon Poltronieri. This seemed to help a bit, and what helped even more was Scottish midfielder Nicki Paterson who was subbed on for Drew Beckie in the 61st. But it wasn’t until late in the game at the 80th minute that things really started to go the Fury’s way. This was the moment when captain Richie Ryan would return from injury in the midfield and really link up with the Fury attack. The squad really did wait until the last minute to reward fans with the game-winning goal. In the 88th minute, midfielder Ubiparipovic deflected a poor Indy Eleven clearance attempt right to Paterson. The Scotsman would make no mistake with the one touch needed to put the ball away.
It may not have been the Ottawa Fury’s most inspiring effort to date, but it got the job done. Captian Richie Ryan stated, “it wasn’t the prettiest game of football we’ve played this season but the most important thing today is the three points. It takes us off the bottom of the table where we don’t want to be and we want to push up that table as quickly as possible” Head coach Marc Dos Santos agreed, “We’ve played better than this… it was just one of those types of games that if it would finish 0-0 nobody would be shocked with it.” Overall the team is very happy to get back to winning and scoring. Nicki Paterson seemed to know he would net the winner today saying, “sometimes you just have to put your foot through it and have a go. And I made my mind up before I even came in it, if one came my way I was hitting it.” Ryan said the attitude in the dressing room was “a feeling of relief I think! We’ve had a lot of chances in the games that we’ve had and we haven’t taken them so and I think in a lot of games, more so last year, we felt the pain of last minute going against us so it was nice to finally get one on our side this year.”
The strong work ethic and passion of the Fury players cannot be denied and coach Dos Santos wanted to dedicate the team’s win today to the ones who were going through tough injuries. “We said in the locker room that we wanted to win for the guys that were having a tough time. Phil Davies is going through a tough time. We want to give that win to him. And Oliver, who had quite the setback. So the game was played and was won for those guys that are not with us at the moment and want to be so much with us.”
The Fury’s next game will be at home next Friday night, May 29 at 7:00pm against Canadian rivals FC Edmonton.
Image courtesy of Ottawa Fury.