For a team playing as much soccer as they have, Ottawa Fury FC have been looking good. On top of tying USL powerhouse Tampa Bay Rowdies on a rainy Saturday last week, Ottawa defeated FC Edmonton twice in one week, winning their first round Canadian Championship series against the Eddies 4-2 on aggregate (a 1-0 win on May 3rd, and a 3-2 win on May 10th). Ottawa is now undefeated in their last six games. The win on Wednesday, in Edmonton, has earned Fury FC a berth in the semifinals against Toronto FC of MLS.
Anybody else still reeling about last night's match?
— Ottawa Fury FC (@OttawaFuryFC) May 11, 2017
“This is massive for us,” said Ottawa coach Paul Dalglish after the game in Edmonton. “We wanted to make this a priority at the beginning of the season and make sure we get through this first round to bring an MLS team to TD Place and I couldn’t be more proud of the players after what they achieved tonight. We’ve got wonderful fans and they deserve to see MLS football in our fantastic stadium. That was our mission and we’ve done that.”
Before Ottawa takes on Toronto, they’ll have to refocus on their USL season, and the immediate tasks at hand. Fury FC will first set their sights on the Pittsburgh Riverhounds, who visit TD Place on Saturday, May 13th. The ‘Hounds have won two straight, and currently sit 4th in the Eastern Conference. Ottawa is currently 13th in the conference, but only five points back of Pittsburgh. The game will be Ottawa’s 4th in 11 days, and their first game ever against the Riverhounds.
So far in 2017, Ottawa has had far more success offensively on the road. In three games at home this year, Ottawa has scored just one goal. Their defence, and keeper Callum Irving, have allowed none. In five games on the road, they’ve scored eight goals, while also allowing eight. Ottawa will be looking to bring more of that scoring touch home to TD Place, while making sure not to mess with the success they’ve enjoyed at home on defence.
KEY TO THE GAME: FIRST GOAL WINS
With only one goal scored at TD Place in three games this season, there’s a good chance the team that scores the first goal (if there is one) will win. Fury have been very strong defensively at home so far, and Pittsburgh is coming off two shutout wins. With a forecast that calls for plenty of rain, quality scoring chances might be few and far between. It’ll be essential that the Fury capitalize on any Pittsburgh mistakes.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Sito Seoane (Ottawa): The Miami-born Spaniard has looked fast and dangerous most of the season, and opened the scoring on Wednesday with the fastest goal in Fury FC history (40 seconds in). High probability he’ll start Saturday.
Corey Hertzog (Pittsburgh): Hertzog is the Riverhounds’ main scoring threat. Having spent time in MLS, USL and NASL, he is Pittsburgh’s leading scorer with 4 goals in 8 games this year. He has fantastic touch around the net with his feet and his head (see below)
Ottawa Fury FC kickoff against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds this Saturday at 2pm. Tickets cost $10–30 and are available online or at the TD Place Box Office.