For 45 minutes on Saturday the Ottawa Fury looked like a team that was, as promised, finally grasping coach Nikola Popovic’s thoughts on how he wants them to play the 4-3-3.
Then the roof caved in. After holding their own and perhaps even slightly edging the play in the opening half the Fury came out in the opening five minutes of the second like a different team and not in a good way and lived the nightmare that has fathered the cliche, “It’s a game of two halves.”
Popovic, for one, was not impressed.
“I think we played two games today. For me, it’s incomprehensible how the first-half was perhaps the best of the season and then the second-half you don’t have it. This was the problem today. We had good movement which we [had been working on] and then in the second-half the team simply didn’t.”
“This is not to be forgotten. We will remember this very closely in our memories. This is unacceptable. We have to play 90 minutes, not just 45.” added Popovic perhaps showing frustration for the first time in what is becoming a trying season.
When asked if it was a mental issue Popovic answered, “I think it is. Absolutely. There is no reason. There is no reason to come in like this.”
In the opening few moments of the second FC Cincinnati good have scored three times within a five second spell of craziness if not for bad luck, bad finishing and excellent play by Fury goalkeeper Maxime Crépeau.
Crépeau was certainly the difference as the onslaught continued but then was fooled completely when Cincinnati then broke the deadlock in the 68th minute as Kenney Walker caught everyone on the wrong when he scored a 50-yard volley. Seconds later it was 2-0 when Corben Bone headed in a cross and for the Fury a team still struggling to create chances from the run of play there was no way back when seven minutes later Emmanuel Ledesma lifted another shot over Crepeau and the rout was on.
The Fury managed 10 shots on the day but only three on target and with 8 coming from outside the penalty area they are still a side very much struggling to turn a possession oriented system of play into real scoring opportunities.
Strictly on opportunities squandered Cincinnati could have walked away from this with six or seven as they managed 14 shots in total with eight on target.
“The game just turned on its head on us,” said Eddie Edward. “You see it, and within five to 10 minutes it completely changed.
“I don’t think anyone enjoys losing and our fans have a right to be angry.
“We get paid to perform and we have got to come together as a team. Nikola tells us it’s not about one, two or three captains leading, it’s about everyone getting together. And we must to do it fast.”
Ottawa Fury FC (4-3-3): Crépeau; Edward, Falvey, Mannella, Manesio; Bruna (75′ Sito), Portilla (60′ Dixon), Oliveira; Taylor (63′ Dos Santos), Reid, Haworth
FC Cincinnati (4-2-3-1): Richey; Hoyte, Keinan ©, Lasso, Smith; Ryan, Walker; Bone, Albadawi (72′ McLaughlin), Ledesma (83′ Haber); Konig (90+1′ Welshman)
68′ – Walker
69′ – Bone
77′ – Ledesma
50′ – Lasso
56′ – Ledesma
57′ – Smith
63′ – Reid
Next Match: Wednesday, May 2 v New York Red Bulls II – 10:30 a.m. – TD Place
Ottawa Fury FC will end their three-game homestand on Wednesday, May 2 against New York Red Bulls II in the school day game. Kickoff is at 10:30 a.m. at TD Place Stadium. The Fury will be looking to redeem themselves against Red Bulls II, who currently sit in a playoff position in the USL Eastern Conference. Ottawa will then hit the road on Monday, May 6 as they visit Penn FC (KO 6:30 p.m.).