Sports

Ottawa Fury FC are the NASL fall season champions

By Phil Cottrell, Daily Observer

Ottawa Fury FC striker Tommy Heinemann battles against the San Antonio Scorpions as the clubs met at TD Place on Sunday, Oct. 18, 2015.

Ottawa Fury FC striker Tommy Heinemann battles against the San Antonio Scorpions as the clubs met at TD Place on Sunday, Oct. 18, 2015.

Ottawa extended its impressive North American Soccer League (NASL) record road unbeaten streak to 11 matches (7W-0L-4D) erasing a first-half deficit in Jacksonville, Florida to claim the League's Fall Season title. Rafael Alves, Sinisa Ubiparipovic and Andrew Wiedeman for Ottawa scored in the win ensuring postseason soccer comes to the Nation's Capital in November. Fury FC will host one of the championship semifinals, Nov. 8 at TD Place.

"This group has been absolutely fantastic," a jubilant coach Marc Dos Santos said following the match. "We were in first place for three months and totally deserve this title.

"I would like to thank the players, staff and OSEG for this incredible effort."

Fury FC's impressive form has seen them lose just once in the team's last 24 matches for a (14W-1L-9D). 

Ottawa Fury FC's final regular season game is today, Oct. 31, away in Atlanta. 

Ottawa needs a win to clinch the overall title and earn the top seed heading into the postseason.

Honoured by the city

Ottawa Fury FC was honoured by the the City of Ottawa after the club won the North American Soccer League's Fall Championship.

Two days after the team's 3-1 win over Jacksonville - which ended with the team showering head coach Marc Dos Santos with Gatorade before hoisting him into the air - the Fury flag was raised at city hall. Oddly only the Ottawa Sun covered the event.

Fury FC will host a still-to-be-determined opponent in the NASL Championship Semifinal at TD Place on Nov. 8. It's also very possible  that the final could also be in Ottawa as well.  

As always, it continues to be one-game-at-a-time for Fury FC, who want to close out the regular season with a win in Atlanta. They also want to see big crowds show up for the first-ever professional playoff soccer game to be played in Ottawa.

A friend suggested that I am giving the Fury too much attention in these columns. He meant it in a positive way. I get it though. Well, Fury FC is our local professional soccer  club and all soccer folk, especially coaches, should get behind the team, and here in the Valley, make the trip to TD Place to support the club, particularly now as Fury FC is in the playoffs. This is something that the local soccer clubs should think about, as well as the 'so called' fans of the game. Sure, it's not Manchester United, Real Madrid or Bayern Munich, but it is great football, and if we want it to flourish then we need to get behind the team, and buy tickets. 

Fury FC's last regular league home game

Ottawa Fury played its last regular season home game of the season against the San Antonio Scorpions and it was certainly not a temperature that the Texas team was used to. It was defiantly  chilly, no cold actually, and the concourse at TD Place seemed to be even colder with the wind blowing through it.

The temperature was a balmy 2C but it felt considerably cooler. One of the food managers I  spoke to admitted to me that beer sales could be a little slow, but he added that he had brought in 500 litres of hot chocolate! It was fan appreciation day with prizes and other hoopla as well as up to 40 per cent off Fury merchandise which my better half availed herself of.

And on another note, where did all those seagulls come from in TD Place? Aren't they supposed to be in Florida or somewhere this time of year?!

Nevertheless we were entertained in our section by a dreadlocked beer seller who had some quite interesting rhyming sales pitches. Yes, it was cold, the ball kids looked liked blimps.

Fury seemed a little out of synch in the first half. Sometimes it appeared that they were a half step too slow. Forward Paulo Junior  weaved  his magic for the Fury but again often carried the ball too far, eventually loosing it to a defender. The passing was not as crisp as I have seen and there were also a few inaccurate passes. So it was a little tepid in the first half, with the Fury wanting, it appeared again, to be setting up the perfect situation before shooting on goal. However, finally in the 68th minute, it was Mauro Eustaquio's second half screamer which gave Ottawa the 1-0 lead and the win. And that is what happens folks when you pull the trigger. Unfortunately,  the game suffered from inconsistent referring, resulting in the officials being booed off the field at the half.  

Animosity ensured in the final stages of the game when Scorpions forward Eric Hassli made a dangerous challenge on Fury fullback Colin Falvey in the 90th minute. Hassli was shown a red card for the challenge and the crowd chanted, "na na na na hey hey goodbye" as he left the field. 

Well, the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group (OSEG ), that is the owners, can be happy. The Redblacks as well as the Fury have made their respective playoffs. 

MLS playoffs

Major League Soccer (MLS) is Division 1 soccer in North America. The three Canadian clubs have all qualified for the playoffs.  In the Western Conference of 10 teams, the Vancouver Whitecaps finished second, and in the Eastern Conference the Montreal Impact finished third and Toronto FC finished sixth, again, out of 10 teams.

Seattle Sounders

The Seattle Sounders of MLS have averaged over 44,000 fans per game this season.  So to those naysayers who say that soccer has not arrived - you may want to look closely at this number.

Sebastian Giovinco wins the Golden Boot Award

Major League Soccer (MLS) has announced that Toronto FC forward Sebastian Giovinco has claimed the 2015 Audi Golden Boot as the league's top goal scorer. During this past regular season, Giovinco made 33 appearances scoring 22 goals and adding 16 assists for Toronto FC.  He broke a 15-year-old MLS single-season record for shots in a season (181).

Careful what you say

Think dissing your manager is cool? Think again, especially if your name is Abdullah Qassem and you live in the United Arab Emirates. The 29 year old has been sentenced to three months in prison after insulting his national team manager Mahdi Ali in a video.

Women's World Player and Coach of the Year

Canadian Women's National Team centreback Kadeisha Buchanan and head coach John Herdman have been announced as shortlist nominees for the 2015 FIFA Women's World Player of the Year and FIFA World Coach of the Year for Women's Football awards.

Buchanan, 19, has risen quickly to become a backline staple on Canada's Women's National Team squad. She was awarded the Best Young Player of the FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015, hosted across Canada this summer.

Craig Forest

The great Craig Forrest has been honoured yet again, this time with his Class of 2015 induction to Canada's Sports Hall of Fame. The former Canada Soccer International footballer, and current TSN soccer colour commentator, was one of 12 athletes and builders to be honoured .

Forrest played soccer at the international level for 14 years. He was a two-time Canadian Player of the Year and winner of the 2000 CONCACAF  (Central and North American and Caribbean conference)  Gold Cup Most Valuable Player award.

Well at least it was not a total blow out (sort of) 

And Italian youth teams Ponte Ronca and Persiceto 85, have replayed a match which ended 31-0 in favour of the latter after the result was annulled because the referee blew for full time several minutes early to save the losers further embarrassment.  "My lads played with their hearts," glowed Ponte Ronca coach Arturo Ginosa after the resulting 9-1 defeat in the replay.  "I didn't expect them to do this well, and I didn't think we would score a goal.  We knew the 31-0 scoreline did not do us justice but we had to prove it."

And finally"¦keep Nov. 8 open

Again, try and get to TD Place on Nov. 8 when our Ottawa Fury FC  play their first ever playoff game.

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 to support local soccer. If you have any comments on the beautiful game please contact me at cottrell@nrtco.net, or call 613-587-4856.