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  1. 1st Half Ottawa lined up in its customary 4-3-3 formation, with no less than 6 newcomers sprinkled throughout the starting XI, including three new signings in the back four. TFC II also lined up in what looked like a 4-3-3 formation from my vantage view in the corner, with the lack of much knowledge on my part on the roster of TFC II and the Academy and the scant media information at the closed-doors friendly allowing me to take only an educated guess at the positioning of a couple players below (Martin Davis and Marcos Nunes in particular). Ottawa Fury FC – 20150306 – 1st Half The attacking play from Fury FC in the 1st half was bright and encouraging, with the ball zipped around the front 3 in a fluid manner. Andrew Wiedeman often played facing the keeper rather than having his back to the keeper, and was able to move the ball around left and right to find the wingers. The first goal came from a dribble and a short pass by Carl Haworth on the right flank to the middle, with Wiedeman then finding Paulo Jr. with another short pass into the left side of the penalty area, and the winger curling a delicious effort into the far top corner in the 7th minute. Toronto FC II – 20150306 – 1st Half In the backline, Rafael Alves in particular touched the ball often and was entrusted with bringing it up from the backline. However, the pace of Hamilton gave Alves and Colin Falvey some trouble, and a killer through ball from Mark-Anthony Kaye from the left flank found Hamilton streaking in diagonally to meet the ball and outpacing Falvey before sliding it past Romuald Peiser to tie it up at 1-1 after 15 minutes. Peiser was kept busy with further dangerous threats from TFC II, with Kaye the focal point of the USL side’s attack from his LW position, always eager to go 1v1 against Ryan Richter and get into the box, as TFC II tried to play balls over the top to find Kaye or Hamilton. However, Ottawa continued to control possession and had two further chances to extend their lead, with Haworth (or Wiedeman) nearly lobbing Alex Bono from the right flank after the keeper came out to meet a through ball, and then Wiedeman and Paulo Jr. both finding themselves around the six-yard box trying to deke out Bono and look for the perfect finish but being denied by Emeka Ononye on the line. TFC II unexpectedly took the lead in the 25th minute when a quick free kick taken from near the center circle founds its way over the heads of the two CBs and found Hamilton all alone to apply a confident left-footed finish off the right post past a frustrated Peiser. The 1st half was incredibly action-packed, and saw Ottawa tie it up at 2-2 when Wiedeman found a streaking Patryk Misik and laid it off to him on the right side of the penalty area for the midfielder to finish it from a tight angle past Bono. I have been told this description by the Fury FC Director of Communications, as I missed the play (lolz) while I had my head down for 15 seconds to live-tweet a disallowed goal just a minute prior for Ottawa from a free kick, due to a phantom foul on Bono. 2nd Half The 2nd half saw the introduction of a fresh set of 11 players for the Fury FC, with 8 familiar faces returning from last season in the lineup, while Brandon Poltronieri made his preseason debut at LB, academy product Mohamed Dagnogo came in at RW, non-roster Australian Matthew Foschini practicing with the team for match fitness playing at RB, and Phil Davies coming in at RCM, in a position that I always thought he could play with his good technique. Ottawa Fury FC – 20150306 – 2nd Half The 2nd half was much calmer than the 1st half, as the familiarity between Mason Trafford and Drew Beckie helped quell the attacks, while Tom Heinemann used his strength to muscle off the TFC II defenders with ease and hold the ball up. Heinemann’s playing style of having his back to the goal meant that he was often laying off the ball to the midfielders running through the middle, particularly Nicki Paterson, rather than finding the wingers more, which I thought was the main difference between him and Wiedeman. Heinemann’s style also meant that the team was winning more corners from cleared crosses, and there were a number of opportunities from these corners, with Foschini tucking in the rebound off one such set piece in the 65th minute to give Ottawa the 3-2 lead, which turned out to be the final score. Poltronieri made a number of overlapping runs on the left flank and created some dangerous opportunities, while his counterpart Mike Randolph had often made some crucial last-man tackles in the 1st half, which I thought was another interesting difference between 2 players in the same position in the two halves. Heinemann also had two other opportunities during the half, with his brute strength and fitness creating the first one as he shrugged off a defender to find himself alone in the penalty area but denied by a great save from Bono, while a through ball found the striker with space near the end of the match but his left-footed strike whizzing inches above the bar. TFC II did not create many chances in the 2nd half but had one final effort by Anthony Osorio from the left side of the area that bounced off the far post to conclude the match. Ottawa next faces another USL side in Rochester Rhinos on Friday at 10:45am in Gatineau for the 2nd of their 5-game preseason action, while TFC II continues its preparations for its first ever match in USL away at Charleston Battery on the 21st. --- Toronto FC II vs. Ottawa Fury FC Review – 2-3 When: Friday, March 6, 2015 @ 2:45pm EST Ottawa Injuries and Absences: CB Omar Jarun (absent) Ottawa (4-3-3) – Peiser; Randolph, Falvey, Rafael Alves, Richter; Ubiparipovic, Ryan, Misik; Paulo Jr., Wiedeman, Haworth Toronto II (4-3-3) – Bono; Charpie, Ononye, Simonin, Robertson; Nunes, Mannella, Davis; Babouli, Hamilton, Kaye Ottawa Subs – DeBellis; Poltronieri, Trafford, Beckie, Foschini; Paterson, Eustaquio, Davies; Oliver, Heinemann, Dagnogo (45′) Toronto II Subs – Roberts, Edwards, Bouchard, Osorio, Stakic, Godinho (45′) Ottawa Goals/Assists: Paulo Jr. (Wiedeman) (7′), Misik (Wiedeman) (39′), Foschini (Davies) (65′) Toronto II Goals: Hamilton (Kaye) (15′), Hamilton (Mannella) (24′) You can follow Namu Yoon on Twitter at @BBSC_SeoulBro, and his Canadian Soccer News articles on Ottawa Fury FC at http://www.canadiansoccernews.com/index.php?/page/articles.html/_/ottcityfootie.
  2. 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. Other Notes 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.
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