Sports

The Beautiful Game: Ottawa Fury FC looked to tie the record

By Phil Cottrell, Daily Observer

(Chris Hofley/Postmedia Network)
Ottawa Fury FC midfielder Sinisa Ubiparipovic tries to get away from Minnesota United FC's Greg Jordan at TD Place on Saturday, Aug. 15.

(Chris Hofley/Postmedia Network) Ottawa Fury FC midfielder Sinisa Ubiparipovic tries to get away from Minnesota United FC's Greg Jordan at TD Place on Saturday, Aug. 15.

After a great away 4-1 win in Indianapolis, sitting on top of the fall season standings, and also with an unbeaten streak of 12 matches, Fury FC were looking to tie the league record set by the New York Cosmos for unbeaten games.

So, just under 7,000 fans were on hand to see the Fury take on Minnesota United at TD Place. Michelle Gendron gave great strong renditions of the national anthems and Canadian Tire contest winner, 10-year-old Ewan Andrews led the teams out, grinning from ear to ear and waving. He also carried out the game ball, as other kids were hanging over the walls of the tunnel as all the players followed him out. Several local area soccer coaches, who were part of the Fury Fanatics program were also present and acknowledged on the field. Fury FC were also wearing their new plaid shirts and so it all looked perfect for a perfect game. Unfortunately, Minnesota did not share that vision and came away with a 2-1 win. There was a lack of spark up front from the Fury.

Some of the Fury crosses into the box left a little to be desired and there were some uncharacteristic giveaways. The Fury would control the midfield and set up an attack only to find just about every Minnesota player had dropped back in defense. Even the Fury’s famous free kicks were defended against well by Minnesota. The score remained tied at one each until the end of the 90 minutes. Andrew Wiedeman's goal had tied it up for the Fury and immediately after that goal, for a moment, with the smoke bombs going off as well as the flares, we couldn’t even see the field!

The refereeing was again inconsistent and in the third minute of the four minutes of extra time at the end, the ref inexplicably awarded a free kick just outside Fury’s penalty box to Minnesota who somehow found a gap and scored. The goal scorer for Minnesota then took his shirt off, for which he received a yellow card (that is a no no), and foolishly ran over to the Fury supporter’s section and together with other Minnesota players taunted the Fury Fan club supporters, who replied with a shower of water bottles. The scene was not good and for a minute it looked like it might get quite ugly, but the game resumed only for the final whistle to be blown a minute later. Romuald Peiser, the Fury goalkeeper, stormed off the pitch into the tunnel and the refs were escorted off the pitch by security staff to a chorus of load boos.

Well, passions do run really high in this game (like none other) and any of those new fans at this match, despite seeing the Fury lose 2-1 would have been treated to quite the display of emotions, they were part of a great atmosphere, watching a high calibre of play, not to mention the chanting and to say nothing of the pyrotechnics!

Well that was that, and the Fury did not tie the record for the most games for an unbeaten stretch, but now they have 10 days off before they face the New York Cosmos and then the Tampa Bay Rowdies.

Yes, that Donald Trump!

Donald Trump has been in the news this summer for some controversial comments about immigrants, particularly from Mexico and the rest of Latin America, as well as some inflammatory comments about women.

But a media report out of Colombia contends that the outspoken businessman and American presidential hopeful, who played a bit of soccer as a young man, is a prominent part of a group seeking to buy powerhouse Colombian soccer club Atlético Nacional.

A future FIFA president

South Korean Chung Mong-joon has announced he will run to succeed Sepp Blatter for the FIFA presidency, promising to be a “crisis manager and a reformer.” That’s Chung Moon-joon, son of Chung Ju-yung, convicted in 1992 for misappropriating $78 million; brother of Chung Mong-koo, convicted in 2007 for embezzling $70.5 million; and a man who once called his then FIFA rival Mohamed bin Hammam “mentally ill”. Holy Jeez.

Yes, Yes, Diego, whatever…

The once great Argentinian Diego Maradona claims he has been drug-free for nearly 12 years. “I have chosen to live life for my daughters, grandchildren and those still to come. And be careful, I still haven’t closed the factory,” he said, nudge nudge, wink wink.

Come on Man U

After a gripping Women’s World Cup and a thrilling effort from England’s Women’s team known as the Lionesses, football fans in England really bought into the women’s game this summer. But Manchester United don’t seem intent on tapping into this latest boom in the sport and have duly received some staunch criticism.

The campaign group “Women In Sport” has had its say on the matter, with Man U one of just two of the current 20 Premier League sides that does not have a women’s side. In the current climate, it is quite amazing that one of the world's most recognizable sports teams still refuses to properly engage with women's football.

Time and again, the country's elite female footballers have demonstrated their abilities on the domestic and world stage, and the progress made on and off the field in women's football has been a real success story for the UK, as it has certainly been in Canada.

These successes run the risk of being dangerously undermined when institutions such as Manchester United fail to show their support. Hopefully the club and its directors will urgently reconsider their position on women's football and seize the opportunity to become part of women's football's development, rather than a barrier in its path.

Meanwhile in the United States, the NFL is working to broaden its fan base and many believe that’s one of the reasons that game is changing, evolving as it tries to maintain its hold on the hearts and minds of Americans. Efforts at marketing to women have brought 16-page women’s magazine spreads breaking down the game, girly NFL T-shirts, aprons and oven mitts. How condescending, for goodness sake don’t let soccer go that way please.

The Women’s World Cup all-star team

And speaking of women’s soccer following the World cup here in Canada, FIFA has announced its All-Star Squad, made up of 23 players who succeeded in getting fans out of their seats and truly impressing the FIFA experts.

The Women’s World Cup all-star team comprises three goalkeepers and 20 outfield players, in this case seven defenders and 13 midfielders and forwards. It goes without saying that any of the world’s top coaches would be delighted to have these talented women at their disposal. The only Canadian to make the team, and also the youngest member, is our own Kadeisha Buchanan. This young woman has a great future ahead of her and is a great asset to women’s soccer here in Canada.

Now that’s sportsmanship!

One of the better shows of sportsmanship you’ll ever see in world football took place recently, when English League One club Doncaster Rovers allowed Bury to score after mistakenly taking the lead in the dying moments of their eventual 1-1 draw on Saturday.

Doncaster took a 1-0 lead while attempting to return the ball to Bury after the visitors had played the ball out of bounds following a 90th minute injury stoppage. Harry Forrester of Doncaster took a throw-in and hit a ball back towards the Bury goalkeeper as a courtesy throw, but he gave his 40-yard effort a bit too much juice, sailing it over the ‘keeper’s head and into the back of the net.

The goal didn’t sit well with Forrester or Doncaster manager Paul Dickov, who attempted to convince the referee to call a foul throw and disallow the strike. After that failed, Dickov instructed his players to let Bury score off the kickoff, with the Doncaster defence allowing forward Leon Clarke to waltz through their half and dribble home an equalizer.

An excellent verdict

“I thought about what would be really painful to them, and doing something like this really bothers this type of people” – after two Bayern Munich fans were found guilty of assaulting an 1860 Munich supporter by ripping his jacket, shirt and hat, Judge Karin Jung offers the pair the choice between 15 months in jail or buying their victim a sackful of the club’s merchandise. The pair went for the latter option. Good move!

Justice at last

Four Chelsea fans accused of refusing to allow a black man on to the Paris Metro have been banned from attending football matches for up to five years.

Richard Barklie, from Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland, Joshua Parsons and William Simpson, both from Surrey, were banned for five years at Stratford Magistrates' Court.

Jordan Munday, from Sidcup in Kent, was banned for three years.

They were told they could not attend games at home or abroad.

District Judge Gareth Branston said: "Racist hatred was displayed by Chelsea fans on the Paris Metro that evening.” You got that right Judge.

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 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.