Photo courtesy Steve Kingsman / Freestyle Photography / Ottawa Fury FC
1. Ottawa Fury FC hit the woodwork four times in the first half but was unable to find a decisive finish as its USL Cup Playoffs hopes took a major hit in a 0-0 draw with Bethlehem Steel FC at TD Place on Sunday afternoon. The total matched that when the teams met at TD Place earlier this season, which had stood as the most in a single-game by a team in the 2018 USL regular season, as Cristian Portilla and Thomas Meilleur-Giguere both rattled the frame with powerful finishes, but there was no payoff on a frustrating afternoon for the hosts.
2. The most frustrated Fury FC player on the day was Steevan Dos Santos, who was handed a glorious chance to give the hosts the lead in the fifth minute after Azake Luboyera had been pushed down in the penalty area, but unlike in Ottawa’s midweek victory against Toronto FC II when he converted with aplomb on this occasion his shot rang the left post and came back out. Dos Santos also struck the woodwork midway through the first half as Steel FC goalkeeper Jake McGuire produced a tipped save to his shot, but the Cape Verde forward was unable to find his range properly on a tough day for the side overall.
3. By contrast, Bethlehem Steel FC will have been happy to emerge from a game it could easily have lost with a point, which keeps it right in the middle of the race for the playoffs in the Eastern Conference, still with work to do in its final two games of the regular season as it faces a pair of tough contests against Indy Eleven and the Tampa Bay Rowdies. For Fury FC there will be a nervous wait that may end in disappointment before its final game of the regular season at home to the Charleston Battery arrives on October 13 with the chance that the side might have been eliminated from playoff contention by the time the game kicks off.
OTTAWA – Ottawa Fury FC threatened repeatedly but was unable to find the net in a 0-0 draw with Bethlehem Steel FC at TD Place. Ottawa got the chance to take the lead in just the fifth minute after Azake Luboyera was brought down for a penalty kick early, but Steevan Dos Santos hit the left post with his shot allowing the Steel FC defense to clear. Dos Santos had another chance from a narrow angle on the right after stealing in behind the Bethlehem defense in the 23rd minute, but Steel FC goalkeeper Jake McGuire got a hand to his powerful finish to tip it wide off the outside of the right post. Steel FC’s first good chance arrived soon after as Santi Moar curled a low shot just wide of the right post from the top of the penalty area, while Ottawa rang the post again on a half-volleyed blast by Cristian Portilla in the 27th minute. Fury FC hit the crossbar in the 31st minute when Thomas Meilleur-Giguere’s header from a free kick went over after hitting the woodwork, while Jérémy Gagnon-Laparé fired just over for the hosts five minutes before halftime as the game remained scoreless. Dos Santos went close again for the hosts with a close-range header that went wide of the left post midway through the second half, while Steel FC’s James Chambers fired a free kick wide of the left post with 15 minutes to go for the visitors. But while Tony Taylor had a late chance from a narrow angle that flashed through the six-yard area and wide of the left post late on, and Steel FC’s Olivier Mbaizo forced a good low save by Ottawa’s Maxime Crepeau in the final minute, neither side was able to produce a decisive moment as each took a point from the game.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Carl Haworth, Ottawa Fury FC – Haworth was consistently good down the right side, connecting well with teammates and winning 14 of 20 duels overall while recording three key passes.