Photo: Steve Kingsman/Freestyle Photography/Ottawa Fury FC
Part one of today’s Ottawa versus Pittsburgh doubleheader saw Fury FC host the Pittsburgh Riverhounds. Despite a solid overall display by Fury FC – who dominated in almost every statistical category – Paul Dalglish’s side saw its unbeaten run halted at six games as the Riverhounds defeated Ottawa 1-0, Saturday afternoon at TD Place.
Ottawa controlled most of possession and produced much of the scoring chances in front of a loud Fury faithful crowd at TD Place, but Ottawa ended up on the losing end of a hard-fought battle. Despite continuing to support their goalkeeper by blocking another four shots this afternoon, an unfortunate defensive lapse by Ottawa’s defence saw Corey Hertzog add to his impressive goal-scoring record in the 52nd minute handing Fury FC their first lost at home this season.
Fury FC started the match looking like a group full of confidence after finishing off FC Edmonton on Wednesday night, confirming their semi-final showdown with Toronto FC in the Canadian Championship. Their fluid early play lead to several quality crosses in the box inside the first 20 minutes of the match. It was evident that Fury FC were looking to supply towering newcomer Nick DePuy. Fresh off of his arrival in Ottawa on Friday, the six-foot-five Montreal Impact loanee displayed dominance in the box early on and kept the Riverhound defence busy.
The first half saw Fury FC hold 55% of the possession owning virtually all of the scoring opportunities. The quest for Callum Irving’s league-leading fourth shutout was put in jeopardy in the 41st minute from an unlikely source as Fury FC defender Del Campo misjudged a back pass, leading to Irving scampering back to his goal to make a clearance.
Fury FC continued the pressure in the second half as Nick DePuy displayed his dominance in the air, connecting with an early corner kick, forcing the Pittsburgh defence to make a goal-line clearance.
The Riverhounds were able to make the most of their few offensive chances as a Pittsburgh free-kick was partially cleared and fell to the feet of Ritchie Duffie whose cross back into the box met an unmarked Corey Hertzog who then calmly guided his header into the bottom-left corner of Irving’s net. The tally was Hertzog’s 5th of the season, provisionally catapulting him to the top 5 in league scoring, in the same breath, ending the chances of Irving adding to his league-leading clean-sheet total on this day. Hertzog’s goal was also the first goal Fury FC have conceded at home this season.
A pair of valiant clean slide tackles by Lance Rozeboom in the 77th minute seemed to inspire his teammates. Captain Rozeboom’s labour earned his team a run of throw-in’s near the Riverhounds’ goal, eventually leading to a thunderous strike by defender Onua Obasi which beat a diving Troy Mitchell, just barely grazing the outside of the goal frame.
Ottawa Fury FC continued to pile on the offensive pressure towards the closing stages of the game. A very late Fury FC corner saw keeper Callum Irving join his teammates in the Riverhounds’ box where the final whistle would be blown after a connecting header sailed over the top of the Pittsburgh goal.
Fury FC will travel to the Big Apple next weekend to face New York Red Bulls II, before returning to TD Place to host Toronto FC in the first leg of the Canadian Championship Semifinals on May 23rd.
Tickets for that game and all Fury FC matches are available at OttawaFuryFC.com, by calling 613.232.6767 X1 or in person at The Box Office at TD Place.
Fury FC GM and Head Coach, Paul Dalglish:
“I’ve got to be fair to the players, they gave everything. They created enough chances to win the game. There’s no doubt we were the better team today despite all the events we’ve had this week… but in the end, Pittsburgh took their only chance that they got and we never took ours. That's football, you can't win if you don't score."
Fury FC forward, Nick DePuy:
“I think they were organized defensively. We created a lot of opportunities and I think that the only thing we were missing obviously was a goal. That happens in soccer and all you can do is keep your head up and try to get the next one.”
Ottawa Fury FC (3-4-3): Irving; Obasi, Del Campo, Venter; Barden, Manesio, Rozeboom, Edward (Hume 72'); Sito (Sanon 58'), DePuy, Salazar
Pittsburgh Riverhounds (4-4-2): Mitchell; Duffie (Parkes 62'), Jack, Greenspan, Washingon; Thompson, Okai (Green 67'), Souto, Hollingsworth; Hertzog (Banjo 90+1'), Kerr
Ottawa Fury FC:
1W-3D-3L, 6 Points, 14th place (Eastern Conference)
4W-2D-3L, 14 pts, 3rd place (Eastern Conference)
52' PGH - Hertzog (Duffie)
39' PGH - Washington
88' OTT - Rozeboom
May 20 @ New York Red Bulls II - 4 p.m. - Msu Soccer Park at Pittser Field
Next Home Match:
May 23 vs Toronto FC - 7 p.m. - TD Place