For anyone who has been following Ottawa Fury throughout the course of their 2015 season, they will likely have experienced, or at least witnessed the highs and lows that come with following a football club. The wild ride that fans have experienced this year will end on Sunday evening in New York where they face the Cosmos in the 2015 NASL Championship Final.
The road to the Final contains several important results that helped guide Fury to their 2015 Fall Season Championship and a spot in the Soccer Bowl Final. Here I count down 5 of Fury’s most important results from the 2015 Season, some good, some bad, but all pushed the club forward.
#5 – April 22th 2015 – Ottawa Fury 1-3 FC Edmonton (Voyageurs Cup)
For Ottawa, this was the lowest point of the season. Just a handful of matches into the NASL season, Fury faced Canadian rivals FC Edmonton in Canada’s domestic cup tournament, the Voyageurs Cup. The winner of the two legged match up would go on to face the Vancouver Whitecaps in the next round, and Dos Santos had ensured that he would put out a strong squad to face Edmonton in order to secure the win. Despite going ahead 1-0 just two minutes into the first leg at home, Ottawa would surrender three away goals in the final twenty minutes of the match. At their lowest, this is where Ottawa Fury would start to turn things around, and although having results go their way was some time away, the focus, dedication and form improved following this embarrassing result.
#4 – July 19th 2015 – Ottawa Fury 4-2 Indy Eleven
Throughout the Spring Season Ottawa found themselves being called boring, saying Dos Santos preferred to park the bus as the team was grinding out several nil nil results. Ottawa’s 4-2 thumping of Indy Eleven early on in the Fall Season marked a big turn for the club, as they finally started to embrace and succeed with the winning mentality that Marc Dos Santos preached. Club captain Richie Ryan led the way with two fantastic free kicks as Ottawa dominated their expansion brothers. From this match on, Ottawa would go on a winning streak that would thrust them to the top of the Fall Season standings and in contention for the combined table.
#3 – July 26th 2015 – Ottawa Fury 2-1 Carolina Railhawks
This was a match that Ottawa really needed to win if they wanted to prove themselves as contenders for the Fall Season, facing a strong Carolina team at home. This was Ottawa’s third match in eight days, and the win would secure them a full nine points during their home stand. Despite being up 1-0 with Carolina having a man sent off, Ottawa found themselves on the backfoot as Nacho Novo was able to score an 81st minute equalizer. Fury would spend the final nine minutes, plus an addition six minutes injury time, attacking Carolina with everything they had. With the last knock of the ball, Carl Haworth would put Fury again 2-1 infront of a rowdy home crowd to secure the win.
#2- August 22nd 2015 – New York Cosmos 1-4 Ottawa Fury
Ottawa was finally starting to be taken seriously as they made their second trip to New York in 2015. The defense was shattering records, while everyone in the forward line was contributing goals, and the time came for Ottawa to face the Spring Season champions New York Cosmos. Ottawa would go up 1-0 in the 31st minute, with the Cosmos drawing level just after the break. Ottawa would open up in the final half hour scoring three big goals and trying the clubs largest win margin against the league’s top team away from home. Things really couldn’t get much better.
#1- November 8th 2015 – Ottawa Fury 2-1 Minnesota United
Obviously the road to the Soccer Bowl must go through the NASL Championship Semi-Final, a match were Fury had to face the only team they had lost to in the previous 25 matches, Minnesota United. Christian Ramirez would put the visitors up 1-0 early on when he converted a penalty kick, and despite several scoring opportunities for Ottawa, the home side would enter the half down a goal. Tom Heinemann would waste no time making up for missed chances as he was able to draw Fury level in the 47th minute. Despite tons of pressure from the home side, the 90th minute would come with the match still at 1-1, meaning extra time was required. Tom Heinemann would double his tally following a stunning pass from the half way circle via Ubiparipovic, sending a home crowd of nearly 9500 into frenzy. Fury would hold onto the lead, sending the club to their first ever NASL Championship Final