Sports

Slow start for Ottawa Fury FC out of the gate

By Phil Cottrell, Daily Observer

Generic soccer photo

Generic soccer photo

It was a tough start to the season for Ottawa Fury FC against Carolina with six regular players out due to injury or card accumulation.

The Fury's opening game away from home saw a timid first half with a goal against in the 12th minute. There was some truly awful refereeing, but in some respects it did go both ways. Fury FC had a good second half, but there was a missed penalty and de Guzman was fouled which was not called, and which resulted in a goal against. De Guzman was then red carded presumably for colourfully (I would imagine) telling the ref what he thought of the officiating. The final score was 3-1 for Carolina.

In its second match, Ottawa Fury FC picked up its first point of the NASL season in Atlanta as goalkeeper Romuald Peiser kept Fury FC in the game with a 1-1 draw against the Atlanta Silverbacks. The game saw Nicki Paterson net his first of the season for Ottawa with an excellent free kick.

The Fury open at home this Saturday, April 18, at TD Place. This will be against Minnesota, last season's league champions. This is a club that is strengthening its squad significantly as it has been accepted up into the MLS for 2018. It promises to be a great match. Captain Canada, Julian de Guzman is back for the Fury as is team captain Ritchie Ryan. Additionally Lansdowne Park is not a construction site anymore. There is a park for the children to play, there are some great restaurants with some great beer (check out the Local Public Eatery for example), and then enjoy the game. Be sure to listen to the drums and chants from section W where the supporter groups sit, or in reality, stand for the whole game.

The next Christine St.Clair?

So who is Jessie Fleming? Well, she certainly made her presence known at the recent Cyprus Cup. Fleming was born in London, Ont., and is likely to take part in the upcoming 2015 Women's World Cup in Canada. Fleming turned 17 during the Cyprus Women's Cup. Fleming was part of two World Cup teams -- U17 and U20 -- that both reached the quarter-finals in 2014. She was also voted Canada's top female soccer player under the age of 17 in 2014 by national team coaches, along with Canadian clubs and coaches.

Should the teenage sensation play in the FIFA Women's World Cup this summer as expected, she will have competed in three World Cups in less than 16 months, in addition to her player-of-the-year award. There is no doubt Fleming has star potential. But is she the next Christine Sinclair, a woman who ranks third all-time in goals?

CBC Sports soccer analyst Nigel Reed stresses caution when projecting Fleming at the national level, but expects her to be a major leader of Canada's team once Sinclair decides to call it a career.

There are some very deranged people out there

Ottawa Fury FC of the North American Soccer League expressed thanks to the passengers and crew on the Air Canada flight which took them to Atlanta. One of their players, Oliver Minatel, was involved in an incident where the passenger behind him tried to choke Oliver with a headphone cable. The incident is now under investigation by law enforcement agencies in the U.S. Can you imagine what our media would have done if this happened to a Senators' player?

Not very smart

Spanish police have charged a 17-year-old male after he made social media posts threatening to carry out bomb attacks during the Copa del Rey final between Athletic Bilbao and Barcelona. This is a huge club cup competition in Spain. The decision to press charges was made after several posts from the minor in which he said he was preparing a bomb to 'let loose' on the day of the match.

On the subject of the NBA

Why did LeBron James give Ronaldinho, the famous Brazilian midfielder, a watch? Well, it happens to be the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore LeBron James, which is part of a limited edition of 600 designed by James. It first went on sale in 2013 for $51,500, but now sells for about $60,000. And he probably gave one to Ronaldinho so people would talk about the fancy watch he's hawking. This is how advertising works in the social media age. Which is nice for Ronaldinho.

Maradona's at it again

Leave it to perennial lightning rod Diego Maradona to do an act of petty violence at a charity match meant to spread the notion of peace. After the game that was dubbed the "Match for Peace" at the Estadio Metropolitano de Techo in Colombia, the Argentinian loonie was filmed both apparently kicking a steward then shoving away a cameraman.

Is Zlatan coming to North America?

Now this is the sort of rumour to get MLS fans excited. Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet reported (in Swedish!) that Paris Saint-Germain striker and Swedish Captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic, one of the world's top players, has applied for a US visa that "allows for an indefinite stay in the US, not just as a tourist." Both MLSsoccer.com and Sky Sports of the UK have reported details in English from the Swedish report.

MLS Canadian teams roundup

Toronto FC

TFC's record is currently 1-3. It is a tough start to the season with a bunch of away matches while BMO Field in Toronto is being enlarged. Again, this does look to be a good squad, but sometimes they seem confused. Kingpin and Captain Michael Bradley needs to be more of an attacking midfielder. This year the team must make the payoffs otherwise there could be serious fan issues.

Vancouver Whitecaps

The team sits at the top of the western conference at 4-2-1 after a tremendous start to the season. The Whitecaps are playing great attacking football to regular sell-out crowds.

Montreal Impact

The story here is not the league performance of the Impact, which so far is very poor, but rather the CONCACAF tournament. This is the tournament for the top clubs in the North, Central and Caribbean division of FIFA. The winner of this tournament goes on to play the winners of FIFA's other five conferences. Amazingly the Impact are through to the final. They survived a brutal game against Costa Rican club Alajuelense, where they tied on total goals but won on the strength of a superior number of goals away from home. But what an absolute nail biter of a game. Now the Impact are filing charges against the Costa Rican side because of racist chants agents their black players. Never mind the debris thrown on the field, shoes and goodness knows what else. This is what our teams have to face when playing down in Central America.

So now the Impact face Club America, the top Mexican team in the final. The first leg will be played in one of the soccer's most iconic stadiums, the Azteca, the home of Club America. The stadium has a reputation for being one of the hardest places in the world for opposing teams to play. It has an official seating capacity of more than 105,000 and is elevated more than 7,000 feet above sea level.

The second leg is in Montreal. You read how the Ottawa Senators sold out of playoff tickets in record time, but you weren't told that the Montreal Impact sold 35,000 tickets in 24 hours for this final match. The Big O can seat 60,000 for soccer and I would not be surprised to see it full on April 29.

Remember, whatever your sport, to win the game is great, to play the game is greater, but to love the game is the greatest of all. And the greatest game is played by over 250 million players in 200 countries. So, be part of the soccer fan base world wide, 3.5 billion and counting! Also, remember, support local soccer! If you have any comments on the beautiful game please contact me at cottrell@nrtco.net, or call 613-587-4856.


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