Ottawa Fury FC March 2015 Lineup – Returning Players (mostly)
Fierce Competition in Defense
The competition for the CB positions will be the most closely watched during the preseason, with 2014 ironman Mason Trafford expected to battle for minutes with notable newcomers in Rafael Alves, fresh from his run to the NASL finals with Ft. Lauderdale Strikers, and Colin Falvey, who was recognized for his outstanding play in the USL and in the Indian first division. Omar Jarun also played a strong role in the backline last season and re-signed with the club during the off-season but has been an absentee from preseason camp and will not be in Toronto for the friendly.
The addition of Mike Randolph and Brandon Poltronieri, both from Atlanta, will strengthen the LB position, which was oft-contested last season, while Ryan Richter has been signed after a successful loan stint with the Fury FC, and will compete most likely with Drew Beckie in the RB spot.
Romuald Peiser has staked a heavy claim at the starting GK spot with his excellent half-season in 2014, but Marcel DeBellis is continuing to develop after spending a number of formative years in Italy and will continue to push for a starting spot. Waleed Cassis, an Ottawa native, is currently on trial with the club.
Ottawa Fury FC March 2015 Lineup – New Signings (mostly)
Exciting Signings in the Attacking Corps
The front 3 spots in MDS’s 4-3-3 will be up for fierce competition as well, with the CF position contested by incumbent Tom Heinemann and newcomer Andrew Wiedeman, who joins after an eventful few years at Toronto FC.
Fellow signing Paulo Junior comes in after stints in MLS and the Brazilian Serie B, and is expected to add some speed and jazz into the 4-man winger corps alongside 2014 leading points-getter Oliver, and Canadians Carl Haworth and Phil Davies.
Finally, forward Mohamed Dagnogo has joined the squad for the trip to Toronto, after impressing in the Senior Fury FC Academy side, which will be playing in the PLSQ 1st Division for the first time this season, and will look to stake his claim in the first team.
Toronto FC II March 2015 Lineup – Courtesy of Waking the Red (http://www.wakingthered.com/2015/2/24/8077339/projecetd-tfc-ii-lineup)
Settled Veteran Midfield
The midfield is more settled, with most of the 2014 starters returning, in playmaker Sinisa Ubiparipovic, energetic Nicki Paterson, and captain and midfield lynchpin Richie Ryan, while Mauro Eustaquio returns to continue his rapid development.
The loss of Tony Donatelli is somewhat tempered by the signing of former CanM20 international Patryk Misik, while Poltronieri may also be expected to play in midfield.
With this being the first preseason friendly of the Fury FC season, the players will be expected to be rotated at halftime and feature for a maximum of 45 minutes, as gaining match fitness and easing back into the rigours of the season will be priority at this point. However, the number of new exciting signings certainly add a degree of competition among the players and anticipation among the fans, and the storylines will become clearer as the preseason progresses.
The game also highlights the significant development of club footy in Canada in recent years, after the demise of the original CSL, with Toronto FC II representing a significant developmental milestone for Canadian footy, with a proper reserve side playing in the North American football pyramid.
The side consists mostly of standouts from the TFC Academy side that dominated the League1 Ontario in 2014, as well as other players that stood out in the league and is trialling with the USL side this preseason. As someone who has been eagerly watching the advances in the Canadian football pyramid and someone who purchased both Fury FC tickets and TFC II season tickets 5 minutes after it was officially launched, I will be one very happy observer in the stands tomorrow afternoon.
You can follow Namu Yoon on Twitter at @BBSC_SeoulBro, and his blog on Ottawa Fury FC at OFFCReview.wordpress.com, and at @OFFCReview.