The Fury showed that they truly belong at the top of the NASL Fall standings as they defeated a struggling San Antonio Scorpions side in Texas on Saturday night. The intense Texas heat affected both teams but the Fury were better able to deal with the conditions and ended up on top. The Fury took control of the game early on earning the bulk of the possession and the first half saw San Antonio making some crucial defensive errors. In the later minutes of the first half, Scorpions Zourab Tsiskaridze, collected his second yellow card after an overly aggressive tackle on Fury midfielder Maruo Eustaquio, earning the San Antonio midfielder a red card and reducing his side to 10 men for the remainder of the game. The Fury were patient with their chances and were able to capitalize early in the second half. It was winger Oliver who made good on a pass from fellow Brazilian Paulo Jr to head home the winning goal in the 53rd minute.
Adding to their success, other results around the league couldn’t have been more helpful in keeping the Ottawa side in the top of the NASL standings. With their win over the weekend and with a little help from FC Edmonton, Ottawa was able to widen the gap between themselves and Minnesota United in the Fall standings, increasing their lead to 5 points. United picked up only 1 point on the weekend as FC Edmonton pulled out a dramatic last minute draw putting the Minnesota side 2 points behind Ottawa in the Combined table. And down in Florida, the Tampa Bay Rowdies celebrated their 40th anniversary in style by overpowering the traveling New York Cosmos by a score of 2-0. This marks new coach Stuart Campbell’s first win in charge and keeps the Cosmos from gaining points in the combined standings as they remain at first place with 39 points. It also keeps the Rowdies in contention for the post season as they sit at 4th in the league’s combined table.
Head coach Marc Dos Santos has said time and time again, that his team play for points but that their journey to the post season would not be an easy one. With his philosophy of taking one game at a time and aiming to take as many points as possible from each game, coupled with the Fury’s obvious on field chemistry, the team is poised to reach their goal of making the post season in only their second year in existence. In a recent interview, central defender Colin Flavey notes how quickly the team has progressed to this point. “It usually takes a lot longer than the process that we seem to find ourselves in.” But he’s also quick to point out that nothing is a sure bet and that the Fury cannot let their guard down if they want to be successful in the post season. “We can’t get carried away with that. We need to be humble and keep doing what we’re doing because everyone in this league can beat everybody.” With nine games remaining, the Ottawa side will need to remain diligent in their hunt for the playoffs.
This Saturday, September 12 will prove to be another battle for the Ottawa Fury as they host the Fort Lauderdale Strikers in one of their three remaining home games at TD Place. The Strikers sit just outside a playoff spot in both the Fall and Combined NASL Standings. They are at 5th place in both just two points behind the Atlanta Silverbacks in the fall table and three points behind the Tampa Bay Rowdies in the combined standings. They will no doubt put the Fury to the test as they try to secure their own place in the post season.