History was made Saturday afternoon in front of a sold out crowd of 3,457 at Keith Harris Stadium at Carleton University as professional soccer kicked off in the Fury FC home opener against Minnesota United FC. Miguel Ibarra opened the scoring to give the visitors the lead at halftime, but Vini Dantas made history scoring the first-ever Fury FC goal five minutes into the second half.
Ottawa threatened with chances late, but Christian Ramirez sent Minnesota United to their second straight victory netting a last gasp winner in the 97th minute.
"We were prepared for a tough game" said Minnesota coach Manny Lagos. "We knew we were going to be the villains, so to speak, but we were also excited to be a part of history. It's pretty cool to be part of a franchise's first game in the league. We were certainly challenged today on the soccer side.
Fury coach Marc Dos Santos said of his side conceding a cruel late goal: "We reacted well in the second half and we created chances and we scored, but we deserved better. We knew what we wanted from the game and tied it with merit but it breaks your heart to lose the game like this. It is little things that we have to fix and work on."
The opening ten minutes were rather similar to last Saturday’s season opener in Fort Lauderdale with a chess match to start, but Minnesota United, also known as the Loons, owned a majority of the pressure. Fury FC were without the services of forward Tom Heinemann for the second straight match (out 4-6 weeks with a high ankle sprain) and joining Heinemann on the injury list is Nicki Paterson and Sinisa Ubiparipovic both out day-to-day.
Oliver would bring the fans to their feet in the 11th minute with a great run between the defence, but was unable to get a final touch as Minnesota United keeper Matt VanOekel was quick off his line. The Loons looked to counter, but the defensive pairing of Omar Jarun and Mason Trafford against proved in sync with Jarun making another well timed challenge to thwart a scoring opportunity.
Christian Ramirez produced Minnesota’s first quality scoring opportunity in the 21st minute finding space in behind the Fury backline, but blasted a shot high and wide. Saturday’s game wasn’t without its fair share physical play was both side proved hungry for possession.
The Loons broke the scoreless deadlock in 36th minute as Christian Ramirez redirected the ball into the path of Miguel Ibarra who netted the first goal at Carleton University completing several passes from the home side.
Minnesota would threaten for a second goal, on a trio of set pieces, but were unable to pad their lead. Fury FC would earn a few set piece opportunities of their own, but goalkeeper Matt VanOekel took care of everything inside the 18-yard box. Minnesota United would carry the one-goal lead into the second half.
It took only five minutes into the second half for another piece of Fury Fc history to be made. Following some pressure Tony Donatelli floated a perfectly weighted cross into the box and Vini Dantas rose above the Minnesota defence to head home the first goal in Fury FC history to the boisterous cheers of the capacity crowd at Carleton University.
Following the goal the two sides went back to the way it started with neither siding giving away too much, especially in the midfield. Minnesota would continue to threaten on some set pieces, but Devala Gorrick owned everything in the air. Minnesota almost regained the lead following an Ottawa giveaway inside their own box, but to their fortune the header was glanced wide of the goal.
Some moments of concern for Omar Jarun who was forceded out of the game after taking a high boot to the head from Cristian Diaz amidst a scramble for a loose ball. Head Coach Marc Dos Santos would go to his bench in the final 10 minutes with Fresenga coming on for Jarun to make his Fury FC debut follow by the introduction Carl Haworth. Hamza Elias enterer the game in the 89th minute – the first minutes for the Ghanaian.
Officials awarded six minutes of injury time with several injuries in the second half, including Jarun’s, which resulted in some frantic chance at both ends. Ottawa came close with Carl Haworth threatening, but Minnesota had the last shot of the match and won it on that. Christian Ramirez got his head to a loose ball off a free kick to send the Loons to their second straight victory with the goal coming in the 97th minute.