Two goals and assist from Brazilian forward Oliver Minatel paced the host Ottawa Fury FC a 4-0 victory over Carolina RailHawks at Carleton University’s Keith Harris Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The crowd of 2,158 witness the first-ever victory by the newest Canadian expansion club in the NASL as it also ended the RailHawks’ five-game unbeaten streak.
"Carolina is a team that we respect a lot, but today we came in very focused,” said Fury FC coach, Marc Dos Santos, after the game. “We knew exactly what we wanted from the game, and I thought that we responded very well. Our possession was excellent."
Ottawa had the first scoring opportunity of the match in the fifth minute, when right winger Philippe Davies fired a cannon of a shot towards the RailHawks net, only to have it parried away expertly by Carolina 'keeper Akira Fitzgerald.
In the 22nd minute, Ottawa won a free kick, and Brazilian left back Maykon floated it well onto the head of Mason Trafford, who nodded the ball a mere foot over the Carolina crossbar, nearly putting the hosts up one-nil.
A 30th minute goalmouth scramble in front of the Carolina net forced RailHawks defender Daniel Scott to make a key sliding block to deny Fury FC front man Carl Haworth a sure goal.
The hosts finally broke through after numerous opportunities in the 34th minute, when Philippe Davies' corner was dispatched into the back of the Carolina net by a crisp header from Brazilian winger Oliver, bringing the Ottawa crowd to its feet. The goal brought a few "firsts" for the Ottawa franchise; Fury FC captured their first lead in a competitive match, and scored their first-ever first half goal.
Carolina troubled Fury FC 'keeper Devala Gorrick for the first time on the afternoon in the 39th minute, with their first attempt in nearly twenty minutes, as winger Cesar Elizondo fired just wide of the Ottawa net from 20 yards out.
A 44th minute injury to Fury FC defender Maykon forced Ottawa manager Marc Dos Santos to make a substitution, lifting the injured Brazilian in favor of Spain native Ramon Soria, making his NASL debut.
Deep in additional time, Carolina squandered a good scoring opportunity off of a corner, as midfielder Toni Stahl skied a volleyed effort high and wide.
Carolina thought they had won a penalty early in the second half, as speedy winger Cesar Elizondo was taken down inside the Ottawa penalty area in the 47th minute. However, referee Rudolf immediately waved off the RailHawks' boisterous appeals, and signaled a goal kick. Bullet dodged for the hosts to say the least.
The hosts doubled their lead in the 56th minute, when Oliver's centering effort rolled all the way to the far side of the Carolina penalty area, where Fury FC winger Philippe Davies calmly slotted it past a diving Akira Fitzgerald and into the RailHawks net, sending the Fury FC faithful into a frenzy.
The 61st minute saw both clubs make changes, as Colin Clarke brought on Mike Grella and Aaron King for Aaron King and Enzo Martinez for Carolina, while Marc Dos Santos brought on big centerback Omar Jarun for Andres Fresenga.
On the very next play, Fury FC put the game to bed, when RailHawks' Zack Schilawski scored an own goal just inside the Carolina 18-yard box, giving the hosts a 3-0 lead.
Continuing to surge, Ottawa nearly opened up a four-goal lead three minutes later, with Carl Haworth and Drew Beckie both narrowly missing on glorious opportunities from close range.
At the 72nd minute, Ottawa opened up a four goal lead. A broken play at the far post resulted in Oliver heading home past a helpless Akira Fitzgerald, sending the Keith Harris Stadium faithful into an even-larger frenzy as they celebrated the team's soon-to-be first victory.
A 90th minute incident essentially summed up the evening for Carolina's forward corps, as Cesar Elizondo saw his shot easily stopped by Gorrick. Regardless, it didn't matter whether or not the shot beat the Fury FC 'keeper, as Elizondo was offside.
"Well, being one-nil down at halftime hurt, we weren't good in the first half,” said RailHawks coach Colin Clarke. “They came out, they were ready. We weren't good enough."
Photo by Steve Kingsman