PREVIEW | Fury FC vs. United

Ottawa Fury FC hosts Minnesota United on Saturday at TD Place
Minnesota United Staff | Apr 16, 2015

After spending last weekend on the road in Florida, Minnesota United is once again on, this time heading to Canada for Ottawa Fury FC’s home opener.

“Their style of play is pretty direct – they like to get the ball into their strikers early and play often,” United assistant coach Carl Craig said. “They’ve got quality of who they can play off. We know they’ll press us, we know they’ll be direct. We need to find ways to exploit what they give us down the sides of their central defense.”

Not content with earning one point on the road against the Tampa Bay Rowdies in Week 2, United is eager to find the back of the net early against an Ottawa team that has conceded four goals in two matches this season.


Ottawa Fury FC varies its attacking shape – pushing the ball wide and running up the field, playing the ball in and out with short passes and occasionally knocking the ball over the top to running strikers. Fury FC midfielders Siniša Ubiparipović and Richie Ryan are not afraid to strike from distance, and are accurate from 25-30 yards out. Expect Ottawa to line up in a 4-2-3-1 with striker Tom Heinemann holding his position at the top of the line playing as a target forward.

Defensively Ottawa struggles to keep its balance. As the ball moves back and forth on top of the box, players begin to shift out of position and gaps open up. Ottawa relies on missed passes and players sitting on the ball to force turnovers and move forward.

Ottawa looked especially susceptible to the counter against the Atlanta Silverbacks in Week 2, pushing at times four or five players forward who didn’t recover quickly after a missed pass or turnover.


Christian Ramirez – NASL 2014 Golden Boot winner and United striker Christian Ramirez was unable to notch his first goal of the season last week, rarely getting an opportunity near the net against the Tampa Bay Rowdies. Expect Ramirez to look for the ball early and take his chances against Fury FC’s defense.

Sammy Ndjock – Ndjock got the starting nod last week and will likely see his second start of the season in Week 3 against Ottawa Fury FC. Playing like a sweeper-keeper, Ndjock could find himself caught out against an Ottawa team that likes to pull the trigger from distance this Saturday.  He will need to find a balance between cutting-out long through passes and keeping his position in the box to avoid getting chipped and to keep United in the match.

Julian de Guzman – The Ottawa midfielder missed last week’s match against the Atlanta Silverbacks after earning a red card in extra time against Indy Eleven to start the season. Dee Guzman is an experienced player and one of the most decorated Canadian international players of all time. He comes into the match well rested and eager to make up for his red card in Week 1.

Oliver – A young Brazilian midfielder, Oliver plays on the right wing and tends to push the ball quickly up the pitch and cut inside for a shot. Oliver was the top goalscorer for Ottawa in 2014 with seven goals and three assists, and is an always-dangerous presence going forward.

Romuald Peiser – Peiser was named to the NASL Team of the Week last weekend for his effort against the Atlanta Silverbacks. The goalkeeper had several key saves, and held his position against an onslaught of Silverbacks’ scoring opportunities. With United held scoreless in its first match, Peiser will undoubtedly be tested on Saturday against a Loons’ front line that is itching for goals.


Last weekend, Minnesota United drew on the road in a sold-out stadium against a reinvigorated Tampa Bay Rowdies squad that looks like a contender for the title in 2015. United is again on the road this Saturday, this time traveling to Ottawa for the Fury FC home opener.

“It’s nice, we like to play in front of a big crowd – we love to play at NSC when it’s a full house,” Craig said. “I think if you’re a footballer and you’re on this stage it doesn’t matter if they’re here for you or against you, it helps one crank up one’s own motivation.”

Matches against Ottawa Fury FC, especially on the road, have been extremely tight in the past. United squeaked by in the 2014 Spring Season thanks to a late goal in added time by Christian Ramirez. In the hopes of getting the match started with a quicker tempo this time around and to avoid travel fatigue, the Loons are making the trip to Ottawa two days early for the match.

“Travel up there is not great; we have to take extra flights and sit around in airports – which to me are valid excuses – thus we are going up a little earlier this time for this trip,” Craig said. “No excuses like that this time.”

Despite struggling early against Ottawa, United has managed to capture all possible points and neither team has held a clean sheet in any of the previous three matches between the two clubs. In total, 11 goals have been scored with United notching seven and Ottawa tallying four. United forward Christian Ramirez has stood out in past performances, scoring in every match with four goals against Ottawa in 2014.

“I know with the guys around me, if I get into a good space, they are going to be able to find me,” said Ramirez.

Ramirez was held goalless last weekend, with the Rowdies focusing heavily early in the match on shutting him down. United again enters a harsh environment this weekend, playing Ottawa at their home opener in the recently renovated 24,000-seat TD Place. A raucous crowd in combination with an Ottawa Fury FC team still looking for its first win of the season will make this Saturday’s match an electric fixture.

“We want to get the crowd out of the game early,” Ramirez said. “We know they are going to be on their feet ready to support their team and we want to take control of the game and put our stamp and our style of play into the game, and if we do that I think we’ll be successful.”

Ottawa has scored both of its goals this season from balls played in from the wing. Nicki Paterson scored a set-piece goal last Saturday, playing the ball into the box through traffic and in on the far side. Center backs Tiago Calvano and Cristiano Dias are both veterans with plenty of experience taking the ball out of the air, but will need to be on their game to prevent Ottawa from knocking the ball into the back of the net.

Expect goals this weekend, with United pushing players forward to make a mark in the scoresheet and Ottawa looking to impress the home supporters. The Spring Season is just ten matches long, and both teams will need three points on Saturday to stay in contention for the Spring title. Kickoff is scheduled for April 15th at 3 p.m. ET.

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