Steve Kingsman | Freestyle Photography
Ottawa Fury FC hung right with one of the USL’s best squads, but ultimately fell to Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC 1-0 in front of 4,826 sun-drenched fans at TD Place on Sunday afternoon. The possession numbers were even throughout the closely-contested match. Pittsburgh’s Hugh Roberts got the game’s only goal.
Fury FC have become used to getting on the board early in recent matches. Ottawa saw a lot of the ball in the Riverhounds half of the field, with the visitors playing five defenders and maintaining a very high defensive line, but the first 15 minutes didn’t yield any scoring chances for either side.
The first opportunity came when Kevin Oliveira snatched the ball from an opponent and drew a foul. The Cape Verdian took the free kick and Nana Attakora headed the ball down at the back post, but the Pittsburgh defenders were able to clear.
The Hounds opened the scoring in the 22nd minute. Joseph Greenspan unleashed a header that Maxime Crépeau stopped, but seconds later, Hugh Roberts volleyed home a cross from close range that give Pittsburgh a 1-0 lead.
Ottawa matched Pittsburgh with an aggressive press, particularly from Adonijah Reid and Tony Taylor. The first-half ended with Pittsburgh up by one goal.
In the opening minutes of the second half, Taylor hustled to a ball that looked to be rolling out and knocked it to Reid, who got a shot toward goal. The ball deflected off a defender, danced along the goal line and then bounced wide.
Ten minutes from time, Christian Portilla sent a long ball up the field that was inches out of the reach of a flying Jimmy-Shammar Sanon.
Chance right at the end. Thomas Meilleur-Giguère won a header in the Pittsburgh penalty area. Steevan Dos Santos ran on to the ball, but his shot was from an acute angle and was charged down by Riverhounds goalkeeper Daniel Lynd.
Fury FC continued fighting right to the last second. Meilleur-Giguère laid his body on the line with a selfless sliding block to stop a shot from the Hounds that looked destined for the back of the net. Ottawa ran out of time and the matched ended 1-0.
This was the first game in a four-game homestand for Fury FC, who will take on Penn FC on Saturday, July 14 (KO 2:00 p.m.). Ottawa will also play Toronto FC in the semi-final of the Canadian Championship on Wednesday, July 18 (KO 7:30 p.m.).
Head Coach Nikola Popovic
“I think the game was very close and we expected that. There wasn’t a team that showed more than the other – we were very balanced. We knew that one set-piece or one counter attack could decide the game and that’s what happened.”
“Our players fought like heroes today, they are completely exhausted. They fought with all their heart until the last moment, and believe me, they are tired after many road trips and games.”
Striker Tony Taylor
“It’s been a good run of games for the team. We got a lot of good results and we were pushing to get a result here at home. I think we had a good game. I’m proud of the team, upset with the result, but we keep moving forward from here.”
On pressing the opponent’s defenders… “We had a game plan coming in and the whole team was focused on putting that together. Unfortunately we didn’t score, but we have to stay positive and build from this.”
Full stats report on USL Match Centre or download the Opta Stats Report
Watch Match Highlights | Watch Post-Game Comments
Ottawa Fury FC (4-3-3): Crépeau; Obasi, Meilleur-Giguère, Attakora, Edward; Oliveira (78' Portilla), Mannella, Dixon; Reid (72' Sanon), Taylor, Haworth © (62' Dos Santos)
Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC (5-4-1): Lynd; Dover, Pratzner, Greenspan, Roberts, Lubahn; Brett (73' Dabo), Vancaeyezeele, Forbes ©, François (73’ Lee); Parkes (85’ Chin)
22’ – Roberts (Pratzner)
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Next Match: Saturday, July 14 v Penn FC – 2:00 p.m. – TD Place - TICKETS