Fury 3, Independence 1
Prior to Saturday’s game against the Charlotte Independence, Ottawa Fury FC coach Paul Dalglish was saying that every team in the United Soccer League was tough to play against and that no team was that much better than anyone else.
Then his 10th-placed team went out and proved him right with a 3-1 victory against the team that topped the Eastern Conference standings.
Eddie Edward, Gerardo Bruna and Adonijah Reid scored one goal each for Fury FC (7-6-7), while David Spies had the lone goal for the Independence (11-7-4), which had been undefeated in its previous 12 contests, including eight wins.
Fury FC, on the other hand, had just two wins in the previous seven games. Last Saturday, it lost 2-1 to Bethlehem Steel FC.
“We certainly don’t want to get carried away. We’re really pleased, but it’s a long season and it was important to get that win and we earned every one of those three points,” Dalglish said.
“They’re a good team, but that’s this league. Everybody beats everybody, and I keep saying it comes down to taking your chances in key moments. There’s no dominant team in this league. Everybody can beat everybody. We’ve just got to keep going.”
Fury FC played without defender Shane McEleney, who was serving the first part of a three-game suspension for a red-card foul in the loss to Bethlehem Steel seven nights earlier.
Despite being well behind in possession time for the first half, Fury FC had the only good scoring chances and the only goal of the opening 45 minutes.
Azake Luboyera fired a shot just wide of the Independence goal in the 13th minute and Carl Haworth had his attempt turned aside by a diving Cody Mizell in the 24th minute.
Mizell wasn’t as fortunate in the 37th minute, when Edward bounced a header off the turf and past the keeper into the corner of the net. The play started with a free kick from Bruna after Andrrae Campbell had been taken down just outside the box by Independence defender Joel Johnson, who was issued a yellow card.
That was the second yellow card of the first half from referee Carol-Anne Chenard, who also carded Fury FC captain Lance Rozeboom for an aggressive tackle in the fifth minute. She issued another yellow card to Charlotte forward Jaime Staj in the 61st minute.
Edward said his goal came off a set piece.
“Bruna was unbelievable, and, when I saw it coming to me, I just reacted quicker than my defender and got in front of him. The rest was history,” Edward said.
“We hold ourselves to pretty high standards, so beating Charlotte shouldn’t be a massive achievement for us. At the end of the day, we’re not where we want to be in the standings, so we have to keep battling. “
Bruna gave the Fury a 2-0 lead in the 52nd minute, when he fought through three Charlotte defenders and placed the ball into the corner of the net behind a diving Mizell.
“I don’t remember exactly how it was, but I think the defender hesitated a little bit and I managed to get the ball and finish,” Bruna said. “I’m really happy with the performance of the team. I’m happy for my goal, but the important thing is to get the three points and get closer to eighth place.”
With 27 points, Fury FC is just on behind eighth-place New York Red Bulls II, with Bethlehem Steel FC just two points further ahead in seventh. However, Orlando City B also has 28, and the Pittsburgh Riverhounds have 27.
Spies cut Charlotte’s deficit to 2-1 when he scored in the 75th minute, ending Callum Irving’s bid for his eighth shutout of the season.
If there was any doubt as to the outcome, Reid erased it by giving Fury FC a 3-1 lead in the 87th minute. His first goal came after he took a pass and beat Mizell with a shot to the right side of the net.
Long road ahead
Fury FC hasn’t played a road game in more than five weeks, but that will change in a big way.
The last away contest for Fury FC was a 1-0 loss to Toronto FC II on July 8. Now, though, it faces three road games in eight days, starting Wednesday against Orlando City B.
The team will stay in Florida after that and then play the Tampa Bay Rowdies next Saturday, before ending the trip with a match against FC Cincinnati on Aug. 23.
The next home game for Fury FC will be Aug. 27 against New York Redbulls II at TD Place stadium.