Photo courtesy Matt Zambonin / Freestyle Photography / Ottawa Fury FC
OTTAWA – Ottawa Fury FC claimed its first point of the season as a late goal earned a 1-1 draw against North Carolina FC before a crowd of 6,137 fans at TD Place in Fury FC’s home opener. Ottawa’s Kevin Oliveira went close in the fifth minute with a free kick that rapped the outside of the left post, but while the hosts had the better of the early play it was North Carolina that took the lead in the 35th minute as Daniel Rios finished off a clever passing move with a finish to the top-right corner of the net. Chances were limited in the second half, but Ottawa almost pulled level with nine minutes to go as NCFC goalkeeper Alex Tambakis tipped a free kick by Oliveira onto the left post and behind. From the ensuing corner kick, however, Cristian Portilla’s near-post delivery was mishandled by Tambakis, resulting in an own goal with four minutes to go. The hosts pushed on in search of a winner late, but honors ended even as North Carolina played to its second consecutive draw.
35’ – NC – Daniel Rios (Marios Lomis)
86’ – OTT – Alex Tambakis (own goal)
Three Things That Matter:
1. Ottawa’s attacking struggles appeared set to continue Saturday as struggled for much of the game to find a telling final pass to unlock the North Carolina defense. Fury FC was tied for the fewest shots on goal in the league this season going into the game with four in three games, and when Kevin Oliveira hit the post for a second time from a free kick in the 85th minute it looked as though the home opener would end in disappointment. Cristian Portilla’s delivery from the corner kick that followed caused confusion in what had been a rock-solid NCFC defense to that point as goalkeeper Alex Tambakis couldn’t cleanly claim possession to hand Ottawa an equalizer.
2. North Carolina hadn’t created anything of note in the attacking third for most of the first half – Kyle Bekker’s long-range free kick that came back off the wall had been the only official shot for the side – but with a clever passing move the visitors picked apart the Fury FC defense to open the scoring. Daniel Rios’ first-time finish came thanks to the work of Marios Lomis and Marcel Kandsiora on the right side, giving the Chivas Guadalajara loanee his team-leading third goal of the season in impressive fashion.
3. The standings will say North Carolina FC is on a three-game undefeated streak after its trip to Canada, but the visitors will be disappointed not to have emerged with all three points after doing enough to take victory in Canada’s capital. By contrast, Fury FC has still yet to win its first game of the season, but the slice of good fortune the side received to claim its first point of 2018 should provide a mental boost after the letdowns the club endured the past two weekends. There’s much for Ottawa to work on with FC Cincinnati coming to visit next weekend, but progress has to start somewhere and that’s what this will feel like tonight.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Kevin Oliveira, Ottawa Fury FC – Oliveira hit the post twice, was tight in possession in midfield completing 45 of 51 passes, and also won 12 of 21 duels overall.
Ottawa Fury FC vs. FC Cincinnati – April 28, 2 p.m. ET, TD Place
North Carolina FC vs. Penn FC – April 28, 7 p.m. ET, Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park