Photo courtesy Steve Kingsman / Freestyle Photography / Ottawa Fury FC
OTTAWA – Ottawa Fury FC and Saint Louis FC both held leads, but ended in a 2-2 draw on Sunday afternoon at TD Place that left both teams still with an uphill climb to reach the 2017 USL Cup Playoffs. Saint Louis went close in the sixth minute as a well-worked free kick found Sebastian Dalgaard on the left side of the penalty area, but Konrad Plewa headed his cross over the crossbar. Ottawa’s first chance came off a set piece as well, as Onua Obasi’s flicked header was saved by STLFC goalkeeper Devala Gorrick, and Andrae Campbell also went close for the hosts a few minutes later with a rasping shot that just missed the top-right corner. Gorrick made an outstanding save to keep Fury FC captain Carl Haworth from finding the net in the 31st minute, but seven minutes later Jonathan Barden wove in from the right past two defenders before sliding a finish home at the near post. Fury FC continued to carry the play in the second half, and Sergio Manesio forced a good save from Gorrick in the 56th minute. Saint Louis’ got its biggest chance as a defensive error allowed Christian Volesky a clear look on goal, but Fury FC goalkeeper Callum Irving made a big save to turn his effort wide. Moments later, though, a second corner in the sequence was cleared as far as Seth Rudolph, who sent back a fierce shot from 35 yards that caromed in off the underside of the crossbar in the 65th minute. Ottawa’s Tucker Hume went close to putting his side back in front, only to send a header over with 15 minutes to go, and three minutes later Saint Louis took the lead as a turnover in midfield saw Ryan Howe drive forward and set up Milan Petosevic for a first-time finish. Fury FC leveled again from the penalty spot in the 88th minute, however, as Sito Seoane was brought down in the area, allowing Steevan Dos Santos to convert for his third goal in the past four games. Ottawa had the last good chance to find a winner, but Hume headed over from eight yards after a cross by Barden, and honors ended even to keep the playoff positions in the distance.
38’ – OTT – Jonathan Barden (Steevan Dos Santos)
65’ – STL – Seth Rudolph
78’ – STL – Milan Petosevic (Ryan Howe)
88’ – OTT – Steevan Dos Santos (penalty)
Three Things That Matter:
1. A draw was the result that would leave both teams disappointed on Sunday, and so it ended up that a game that both Ottawa Fury FC and Saint Louis will feel they could have won ended all square and simultaneously dented their respective playoff hopes. Fury FC will likely be the more disappointed of the two teams, as on home turf they had enough chances to put the game away before Saint Louis’ second-half rally, but time is running out for both now after this weekend’s results.
2. Returning to TD Place for the first time since suiting up for Fury FC in 2014, Devala Gorrick put in a sterling shift in goal for Saint Louis FC as he finished the game with five saves, including some spectacular denials of Carl Haworth and Sergio Manesio. While Gorrick did concede the opening goal on a spectacular effort by Jonathan Barden on a finish where he might have been caught cheating at the near post, and conceded a late penalty to allow Ottawa to claim a point, his overall play allowed Saint Louis to stay in the game as they were put under consistent pressure for most of the opening hour.
3. Over the past month, when Saint Louis has needed a clutch goal, it has looked to Seth Rudolph. In Sunday’s contest, the midfielder came through again with a strike that changed the momentum of the game and might stand as both the best and the biggest of Saint Louis’ season. After missing Wednesday’s draw with Toronto FC II due to suspension, Rudolph’s fifth goal in his past five appearances made a massive difference in the game, even if it wasn’t able to send Saint Louis to the victory it will feel it should have held onto late.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Jonathan Barden, Ottawa Fury FC – Barden put in an excellent performance down the right for Fury FC, connecting passes well and creating three scoring chances in addition to an outstanding finish of his own.
Ottawa Fury FC at Rochester Rhinos – September 9, 6:05 p.m. ET, Capelli Sport Stadium
Saint Louis FC vs. Harrisburg City Islanders – September 9, 8:30 p.m. ET, Toyota Stadium – Saint Louis