Fury FC's Run in the Canadian Championship Ends at BMO Field
OTTAWA - Despite a disappointing 0-2 defeat in the first leg of the semi-final, Ottawa was travelling to BMO Field for the Wednesday evening matchup against Toronto FC full of confidence and belief, looking to shake the table and earn a spot in this year's Canadian Championship final. All that belief and a strong start were unfortunately not enough for Fury FC who saw Toronto FC collect three goals on the night to end the semi-final series 5-0 on aggregate.
Ottawa started the game on the front foot, only to see Toronto FC score on their first shot on target in the 14th minute. After two solid saves by Fury FC keeper Irving, TFC added two more in the span of two minutes to make it 3-0 for the home side at halftime. Ottawa would hold on strong in the second, not conceding, but could not muster a comeback.
Fury FC Head Coach Nikola Popovic opted for a starting formation featuring five Canadians: Callum Irving, Maxim Tissot, Thomas Meilleur-Giguère, Carl Haworth and Jérémy Gagnon-Laparé.
Together, the five Canadians have over 45 games played in the Canadian Championship (before Wednesday's match).
This marked the first start of the season for Maxim Tissot, his 8th game played in 2019 after being sidelined because of injury.
Midfielder Chris Mannella replaced Dakota Barnathan at halftime, making him the 6th Canadian to enter the field on the night for Ottawa.
Young forward Protais Mutambala was Fury FC's final substitution in the 68th minute, totalling 7 Canadians in the match for Ottawa. It was Mutambala 2nd ever appearance in a Canadian Championship match.
Of note, with a start on Wednesday, Fury FC captain Carl Haworth played in his 150th match for Ottawa.
He is the longest-standing member of the club, having joined as the first Canadian signing when Fury FC turned professional ahead of the 2014 NASL season.
To date, in Fury FC colours and across all competitions, Haworth has played 11,215 minutes, scored 22 times and set up his teammates with 23 assists.
Head Coach Nikola Popovic
"I think we have to be proud of our players. We knew coming into this match that we had to score goals, so we took some risks. We were controlling the game the first fifteen minutes until one bad pass in the middle led to the goal and the control of the match. However, coming here, against a top 5 possession team in MLS, and be able to go 50/50 with them (in ball possession) at the end of 90 minutes, and managing 11 shots, I think for the difference of the levels that exist between the two clubs, Fury FC had a good performance."
"There's a lot of positives to take away from these two games. The lost of one of our forwards (Mour Samb, foot) hurt us a lot but the team is performing in a very good way. We have to continue to fight. The team responded very well after going down 3-0 on a difficult pitch against very difficult players, so they showed their character once more. I think we are playing well, we have to keep going, and I think the goals and the wins will come."
Goalkeeper Callum Irving
"We all see it as a challenge (facing Toronto FC for the third year in a row). A challenge that we relish. Every time you get the chance to play against a team like Toronto, it's a chance to show what you're made of and prove yourself. Obviously, losing is not something we enjoy, ever, but it's a game that we always look forward to."
"(the second goal in the first leg) didn't help. It's tough because those two goals we were not very happy with (the way they happened), a set piece we didn't defend well enough and the deflection in the 90+ minute was a real killer. Because if we come here down 1-nothing, maybe there's a little bit more edge for them and maybe a little bit more to build on for us. We knew we were up against it coming in down 2-nil, it was tough but we had the mentality coming into it that we could overcome it. And that's the mentality you always have to have. It didn't go as planned, but I'm proud of the guys for fighting through the whole 90-minutes."
Ottawa Fury FC (4-3-3): Irving; Tissot, Meilleur-Giguère, Barnathan (46' Mannella), Haworth ©; Gagnon-Laparé, Ward, Fall (46' Thiago); Barry (68' Mutambala), Oliveira, François
Toronto FC (4-1-4-1): Bono; Morrow (46' Morgan), Moor ©, Zavaleta, Laryea; Fraser; Endoh, DeLeon, Osorio (46' Okello), Gallardo; Mullins (71' Akinola)
14' - TOR DeLeon (Laryea)
37' - TOR Mullins (DeLeon)
39' - TOR DeLeon
57' - TOR DeLeon
Next match: Saturday, August 17 @ Loudoun United FC
Next home match: Saturday, August 24 v Saint Louis FC (Pride Game)
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