This Saturday will mark the end of a short, but epic era in Ottawa soccer, when Fury FC takes on arguably its greatest rival in Minnesota United FC, for the last time.
Minnesota will be moving on to Major League Soccer (MLS) next year and fans on Saturday should expect one final gem of a game. The two teams have met nine times, with every match being decided by one goal or less – including Ottawa’s incredible semi-final win last year, which sent Fury FC to the NASL finals.
Saturday will be the second in a home-and-away series. Fury came out on top last week, 3–2. The win extended Ottawa’s unbeaten streak to six games. It hasn’t always been sexy soccer, that is, until last Saturday’s game in Blaine, Minnesota. Ahead of the match, Fury coach Paul Dalglish said, “I believe that if we play well [in Minnesota] then we can beat anyone in this league.”
Ottawa proved their coach right, outplaying Minnesota in nearly every facet of the game, earning some absolutely beautiful goals from Giuseppe Gentile, Ryan Williams and Danny Mwanga, each their first tallies in a Fury shirt. I highly recommend you watch the highlights below:
Following the game, Dalglish spoke on TSN 1200, saying even though Ottawa went into halftime down 2–1, he knew they were creating scoring chances, and had all the confidence they could come back to win.
“I said, ‘this is as good a performance offensively as we’ve had in a long time, and positionally you’ve been fantastic, and if we tighten up a few of the defensive errors we made, especially with the first goal, this game is ours. We can score two, three, four goals in this second half if you play like we did in the first half and tighten up defensively, we can win this game.’ Hopefully [the win] settles them, they really wanted to get that win, to get a multi-goal game as well, and then hopefully they kick on from this, be calm and relaxed, and show everyone how good they are at the home game on Saturday.”
With seven games left in the Fall Season, sitting 10 points out of a playoff spot, Fury FC are in a tight spot. But after a plague of injuries, Dalglish is slowly beginning to field a team closer to the one he envisioned. One returning player whose impact should not be underestimated is Onua Obasi, used as a defensive midfielder last weekend.
“We decided to start him in the game, we weren’t sure how long he would last, with his injury and with his fitness level,” Dalglish said. “Him and Carl Haworth really surprised us with how long they lasted and the level of performance that they put in.”
Also with seven games remaining in their season, Minnesota is currently in the fourth and final NASL playoff spot, with several teams breathing down their necks. And while a playoff spot seems improbable for Ottawa in 2016, it’s still not completely out of the question. Either way, Fury FC would love to help ensure Minnesota’s last season in the NASL is one they hope to forget.
- FURY FUN FACT: Fury FC have a lifetime record of 7W-5D-1L in the month of September.
Kickoff is Saturday, September 24 at 7pm. Tickets are available online at www.ottawafuryfc.com, by phone at 613-232-6767 x1, or in person at the TD Place Box Office.
Fans attending the RedBlacks game on Friday, September 23, or the Fury game on Saturday (or both, you crazy sports nuts), are asked to bring nonperishable food items for donation in support of the Ottawa Food Bank. Cash donations will happily be accepted as well. Thanks to a corporate sponsor, every dollar donated will be topped up to five dollars of food for the Ottawa Food Bank.