Minnesota United Falls 2-1 in Extra Time; Ottawa Fury Advance to Championship Match
Minnesota Finishes its Season with a 14-11-6 (W-T-L) Record OTTAWA, Ont. (Sunday, November 8th, 2015) -- Minnesota United's season came to an end Sunday evening after an overtime thriller with the Ottawa Fury. The Loons got on the board first with an early penalty kick, but the Fury equalized in the second half before scoring in the final half of overtime.
The teams were anything from friendly in the first half, with several physical tackles that set the tone for the match. Players were forced to fight through tough defense to create chances, which Ottawa was able to do early and often. The Fury nearly got on the board in the first five minutes as a well placed cross found forward Tom Heinemann in front of goal. He headed it on target but United's goalkeeper was able to make a miraculous save to keep the match scoreless.
A harsh tackle in the Ottawa penalty area gave United its first chance of the match with a penalty kick. After Daniel Mendes was tripped by two Fury defenders, forward Christian Ramirez stepped up for the Loons and slotted home the penalty to give Minnesota the early lead.
The Fury dominated the play for the remainder of the half, giving United very little time on the ball. Heinemann was a dangerous target for the Fury all half, taking several shots right on the doorstep but unable to hit the target.
Sammy Ndjock was called on to make another big save after a quick free kick by the Fury caught the defense off guard. Ndjock was able to parry the long range shot away from the top corner to preserve the lead for Minnesota.
Minnesota spent very little time in the Ottawa end, but made its chances count when it had them. The Loons nearly doubled their lead before halftime as defender Justin Davis broke in behind the Fury and ripped a shot from short range. League-leading goalkeeper Romuald Peiser managed to get a hand on the ball and barely keep the ball out of his net.
Second half looked favorable for United, but the Fury quickly turned the tide. Heinemann received a ball on the top of United penalty area, and with his first touch created a shooting lane. Ndjock was able to get a hand on the low blast from the Fury striker, but was not able to keep the ball out of his net as the Fury got on the board.
Minnesota opened up its attacking play after the goal and put pressure on the Fury goal. Shots from distance were able to test Peiser, beating him on several occasions but unable to get on frame.
The teams battled and traded chances, both nearly pulling in front late in the half, but could not be separated after 90 minutes. A pair of overtime halves awaited with the chance of a penalty shootout looming over the match.
Both sides were conservative with their substitutions as they prepared for the overtime, allowing for fresh legs to be brought in late.
The game opened up as overtime began, with United starting the half with a potent chance followed by the Fury on the other end. United dominated chance creation and attacking possession, forcing the Fury to play tight defense.
The first extra time half ended scoreless, but both teams were once again attacking in the second extra time half.
Quick counterattacks were the main weapons of the Fury throughout the match and it paid off in overtime. A ball over the top found Heinemann, who beat United's offside trap, behind the defensive line. Heinemann took a shot on his first touch to beat Ndjock and give the Fury a lead late in extra time.
United sent every man possible up in attack after the goal, including Ndjock who took the role of a sweeping defender. After short bout of Fury possession, Minnesota took the ball and put on heavy offensive pressure.
Second half sub J.C. Banks led the way for the Loons in the final minutes with his excellent play up top. Banks was able to get on the end of crosses just in front of the goal, turning two shots on target from close range, but was somehow stopped by Peiser on the goal line.
The Fury tried to kill time as the match wound down, trying to keep United from getting back in the game. Midfielder Greg Jordan nearly did that on a late corner kick that he directed on goal from the back post, but a Fury defender managed to block the shot and clear the ball away.
Minnesota fought until the final whistle blew, signaling the Fury's advance to The Championship Final in New York.
Minnesota United would like to thank all of its fans for another season of tremendous support both at home and on the road. Be there when the team resumes play next year by getting your 2016 season tickets today. With your season tickets you will also receive MLS ticket priority. Support your Loons when they begin the hunt for glory once again by calling 763.4SOCCER or visiting MNUnitedFC.com/tickets.
Images from this story
Christian Ramirez of Minnesota United Scores against the Ottawa Fury
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North American Soccer League Stories from November 8, 2015
- Fury Punch Ticket to Championship Final with Thrilling Extra Time Victory - Ottawa Fury FC
- Minnesota United Falls 2-1 in Extra Time; Ottawa Fury Advance to Championship Match - Minnesota United FC
- New York Cosmos to Host Ottawa Fury FC in Championship Final on Sunday - NASL
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