Fury FC Beat Blainville, Advance to Semis in Canadian Championship
OTTAWA - Ottawa Fury FC advanced to the semi-final of the Canadian Championship with a 1-0 win over AS Blainville Wednesday evening at TD Place. Carl Haworth got the game's only goal, as Fury FC won the tie 2-0 on aggregate, earning them the right to face Toronto FC in the next round.
Fury FC held a 1-0 lead in the home-and-away tie thanks to a goal from Tony Taylor in the first leg in Blainville last week. The competition is clearly a Canadian one - each team had eight Canucks in their respective starting elevens.
The distinctly Canadian competition is renowned for its great atmosphere, and Wednesday's game was no exception. Chants and cheering from the Fury FC supporters and the travelling Blainville supporters drowned out all chatter from the field.
The first chance of the match was for the Quebec-based club. A one-touch layoff found Maxime Leconte at the edge of the 18-yard box. The midfielder's right footed strike was along the ground and easy pickings for Maxime Crépeau.
Ottawa opened the scoring in the 21st minute. Adonijah Reid dribbled the ball to the byline and his low cross to Tony Taylor created havoc in the Blainville penalty area. The visitors failed to clear, and Carl Haworth smashed the loose ball into the bottom of the net. The captain's goal firmly established Fury FC in the driver's seat of the tie.
After Fury FC took the lead, the visitors were still very much in the game. Immediately following the goal, no Ottawa players were able to claim a bouncing ball at the top of their own box. It was Leconte who once again tried his luck with a volley, only to watch it sail into the Fury FC supporters section behind the goal.
Tony Taylor had a prime scoring opportunity a few moments thereafter. Taylor ran at the AS Blainville goal, but was put off balance by Nafi Dicko-Reynauld and his shot was deflected wide by goalkeeper Erwann Ofouya. That would be the last real action of the first half, as it ended 1-0 for Fury FC.
The second-half could best be described as cagy. Neither side was able to carve out many chances through the first half hour. Both teams had their share of possession, but no point-blank opportunities emerged.
Jimmy Shammar Sanon was subbed on in the 76th minute and made an immediate impact. The Haitian-Canadian danced around an opposing defender and cut the ball back for Kevin Oliveira. However, Oliveira's low shot was blocked by a defender.
Fury FC goalkeeper Maxime Crépeau had a quiet night. With the game winding down, he leapt to intercept a cross from Blainville's Kevin Lenours. Crépeau and backline would ultimately prove impenetrable on the evening, and Ottawa won 1-0 (2-0 on aggregate).
Fury FC will now advance to the semi-final of the Canadian Championship to take on Toronto FC in a two-leg, home-and-away matchup. The first leg will take place at TD Place on Wednesday, July 18, and the return leg is scheduled for Wednesday, July 25. Fury FC's next game in the USL is Saturday, June 30 versus FC Cincinnati in Ohio.
Head Coach Nikola Popovic
"We are very, very happy. This is the most important competition for us. The Canadian Championship was always our goal and one of the targets for this season was to reach the semi-final. Mission accomplished and now Toronto is coming. We will be prepared for that."
On the Canadian Championship... "I think it would be interesting if everyone could play in the Canadian Championship and the best one wins. It would be interesting if Canadian soccer gave the opportunity to everybody."
Midfielder Jamar Dixon
"You have to look at every game the same way - it doesn't matter if it's Blainville, Toronto FC or Montreal. You have to come with the right game plan and mentality and stay focused."
Ottawa Fury FC (4-3-3): Crépeau; Edward, Attakora, Meilleur-Giguère, Obasi; Dixon, Mannella, Oliveira; Reid (68' Tissot - 76' Sanon), Taylor (86' Luboyera), Haworth ©
AS Blainville (4-4-2): Ofouya; Beausejour (86' Lachouri), Dicko-Raynauld ©, Redjradj, Lenours; Moulinas (67' Hyacinthe), Leconte, Noor-Ali, Belguendouz; Mayard, Syla (60' Abzi)
21' - Haworth
62' - Obasi
85' - Mayard
Next Match in USL: Saturday, June 30 v FC Cincinnati - 7:30 p.m. - Nippert Stadium
Next Home Match: Sunday, July 8 v Pittsburgh Riverhounds FC - 1:00 p.m. - TD Place
Next Match in Canadian Championship: Wednesday, July 18 v Toronto FC - TD Place
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