My task is not to provide a written play-by-play of each Ottawa Fury FC match – rather, I am here to provide insight, analysis, and opinions. For a play-by-play written recap of what transpired on the pitch at TD Place on Sunday afternoon, please check out Chris Hofley’s piece in the Ottawa Sun.
Five Takeaways: OFFC 2, Jacksonville 0
It was at times ugly, but Fury FC got the job done in front of a season-high 6,150 fans on Sunday afternoon, blanking the Jacksonville Armada 2-nil on the strength of goals from defender Mason Trafford and striker Tom Heinemann. Here are five ‘takeaways’ from Sunday’s three points, which were a positive start to the NASL fall season for Marc Dos Santos’s Fury side;
- Offensive (relative) EXPLOSION: Fury managed a whopping six shots and two goals against Jacksonville, doubling their total from the final five matches of the spring campaign in the span of ninety minutes on Sunday. Mason Trafford smashed an unlikely goal home off an Andrew Wiedeman rebound in the first half, and Tom Heinemann rose like a beautiful, afro-sporting American eagle to seal the victory with a late headed marker. In all seriousness it wasn’t the prettiest of offensive performances, with Ottawa squandering multiple point-blank opportunities, but the Fury beat Armada ‘keeper Miguel Gallardo twice, which proved to be enough to claim a crucial three points.
- Andrew Wiedeman isn’t very good: The former TFC man’s account in Ottawa now reads ten matches, zero goals. Questions about his commitment, professionalism, and finishing popped up during his MLS days, and now just ten games into his NASL career, the outgoing American has yet to bulge opposition twine in Fury colours. The thing with Wiedeman is, he’s just not particularly good at anything; he doesn’t possess ‘break away’ speed, nor a cannon for a shot, and it’s hard to see him being first choice barring a string of improved performances in the matches ahead. Case in point: on Mason Trafford’s first half goal, Wiedeman somehow managed to not score on a free shot from six yards away, point-blank range.
- Pretty soccer doesn’t work in the NASL: Give Guillermo Hoyos and his staff credit. The Jacksonville boss has tried to install a beautiful, possession-based system in his Floridian expansion side. The problem is he simply doesn’t have the players to earn results in the NASL using the Tiki-Taka tactics he’s employing. Jacksonville controlled the game in the second half, with pass after pass after pass along the back and deep midfield, but failed to trouble Fury ‘keeper Romuald Peiser for the most part. The NASL is a physically rigorous league, one embodied by the core of Ottawa’s defence, which essentially shut down the Armada for ninety minutes. Whether it’s a case of Hoyos needing to employ more direct tactics, or Jacksonville needing better attacking options, something has to give if the Armada are to challenge for a playoff berth.
- If you build it, they will come: While some (including myself) questioned Fury’s attendance numbers in the cool April and May months, it’s undeniable that TD Place and the Lansdowne complex constructed by the Ottawa Sports & Entertainment Group (OSEG) is a fantastic place to spend a summer afternoon. Empirical evidence of that was the 6,000-plus in attendance on Sunday. With soccer in the city flying high after the FIFA Women’s World Cup, it’s good to see strong numbers coming through the turnstiles for Fury FC in the club’s sophomore season.
- Who wore it better: Thanks to this pure class tweet from club blogger Stuart MacTaggart, you can decide who wore it better; did Guillermo Hoyos do it for you with the skinny jeans/loafers look, or did Marc Dos Santos’s crisp suit get the job done on the sidelines?
- Important note: it’s good to see Marc revert to dress shoes on the sidelines. Though his sneakers/suit look was a one-of-a-kind approach to managerial fashion, it wasn’t one that, well, shone on the sideline.
Fury FC will hit the road for a date with a confusing Minnesota United FC. After being arguably the most exciting and talented club in the NASL in 2014, Minny has struggled mightily this season, with defensive woes and an anemic offence leading to dropped points for the MLS-bound Loons on a weekly basis. The sale of midfield catalyst Miguel Ibarra to Mexican side Club Léon could spell a sharp downturn on the field for the club in the fall season. Ottawa could, and should, be looking for all three points on the road at the NSC Soccer Complex next Saturday against Minnesota. Stay tuned for a match preview.
Photo courtesy of NASL.com