The Ottawa Fury FC are back playing at TD Place on Sunday afternoon versus the Jacksonville Armada after a 3 week long break in between the Spring and Fall NASL seasons.
While the Fury had been strong defensively in the Spring Season, they were lacking offensively, something that head coach Marc Dos Santos promised to address in the mid season break. Three weeks is not a lot of time to make drastic changes, and this is not the time to be overhauling the team, but there are some notable news items that will affect the Fury’s Fall campaign.
- Midfielder Patryk Misik released: In preseason Misik showed promise and the hope was that the club would continue to develop his obvious talent. However with so many options in the midfield the young Canadian saw precious few minutes in the Spring Season and decided that he could improve more quickly in a league where he would see some playing time. The club and player mutually decided to terminate his contract and he is now signed with Polish club Raków Częstochowa.
- Julian de Guzman named to Canada’s Gold Cup squad: In June it was announced the Ottawa Fury midfielder would lead the Canadian Men’s National Team in their Gold Cup campaign. While this was no surprise to anyone (he mentioned his duties in an interview in May) it means that the Fury will be without their most experienced midfielder for the month of July.
- Aly Hassan added to the attack: The Fury announced the signing of Fort Lauderdale Strikers forward Aly Hassan in June. True to his word Marc Dos Santos is taking steps to bolster Ottawa’s attacking presence. Hassan has been with the Strikers since 2012 and has tallied 12 goals with the team. He also has experience playing in Bolivia as the team loaned him out for the 2013 season. Hassan should fit in well with the team as he joins former teammates Rafael Alves and Paulo Jr. He will be available to play for the Fury starting July 8.
- Colin Falvey extends for 2016: The month of June also saw defender Colin Falvey extending his contract with the club for the 2016 season. Since joining the squad, the Irish defender has been one of the keys to the Fury’s solid defensive line. Pairing well with Rafael Alves in the central defense, Falvey is one of the reasons the Fury have not been scored on in over 500 minutes.
- Health: The break between the NASL Spring and Fall seasons meant the squad could return to full health. While Tommy Heinemann, Richie Ryan, Philippe Davies and Oliver seem to be game ready, midfielder Nicki Paterson tore his ACL over the break and will miss the entire Fall season.
- Defender Mike Randolph released: It was announced earlier today, Friday July 3, that defender Mike Randolph had been released from his contract with the club. After joining the club for the 2015 season, Randolph did not see many playing minutes due to injury and the strength of the current defending line. There has been some speculation that this was done in order to find a replacement for the injured Paterson or acquire another forward.
The Fall Season
The Ottawa Fury are currently sitting in ninth place in the NASL table. And while they are only three points out of a playoff spot, there are four other teams in a similar situation. The table is crowded and if the Fury are to secure one of those post season spots they need to start scoring goals. It is not good enough to rely on the defenders to keep balls out of the net for a draw or a low scoring win. As we have seen in this league, goal differential can be the deciding factor on whether a team makes the post season or not.
The squad also needs to stay healthy. With de Guzman unavailable for July and Paterson out for the season, coach Dos Santos will need the rest of his team to be firing on all cylinders to be a cohesive unit with consistent line-ups.
The question on everyone’s mind is will the Ottawa Fury FC make the play-offs? If they can deliver on the goal front in order to tally some wins, they have a good chance. The good news is the defensive line is solid and the goalkeeping from Romuald Peiser has been outstanding. This is one piece of the puzzle that the squad do not have to worry about. This should allow them to really focus on the attack and getting some chemistry going between the forwards. The Ottawa Fury have shown that they are a team who can fight for what they want and going forward promise an exciting Fall Season.
Photo courtesy of Ottawa Fury.