Fury FC brought back one point against a strong playoff hopeful, Charleston Battery. This is the first time (ever) that Fury brings points from their season opener. It also did it against an opponent that only lost 4 games at home last season. Here are some points from my notebook:
Some surprises on the Starting XI, with Haworth moving forward to the left wing, and Jamar Dixon as full back. Kevin Oliveira played forward, as he played up during the training camp. Haworth eventually moved back when Dixon was subbed out.
From Twitterverse (@Bryan_Parker_): Fury FC only started one of their loanees (T. Meilleur-Giguère), and two on the bench. This means a lot when we talk about a team mostly relying on loans. We can expect the recent loanees to join the squad later, as some of them just joined the team.
Fury started the game strong, with Kevin Oliveira scoring early in the 6th minute. Fury controlled the game, and maintained the possession and passing advantage through the first half.
At the half, the Expected Goals (xG) was very similar, both teams being just under 0.30. Charleston had 5 shots, compared to 2 for Fury, which was indicative of the actual shot quality from Fury FC.
This key stat changed in the second half with Fury having a xG of 0.22, while Charleston Battery’s xG increased drastically to 0.94. And they picked up a goal.
Although Fury did good, and got that important point on the road, I have a key concern. Fury’s overall xG on this opening day (0.48) was the lowest of all the teams playing this weekend. Its total shot ratio (TSR) was also one of the lowest of the games played this weekend. These things often don’t lie as we progress, and these two stats are atrociously similar to last season’s. No panic for sure, but François (especially) and Oliveira need to be more adventurous in attacking that net.
Man of the Match: Charlie Ward, closely followed by David Monsalve. Monsalve made key saves for the squad. Can’t really be faulted for the goal against.
Fury Stat of the Game: 448 passes total, from a team that averaged 330 to 350 in the last two seasons. Charlie Ward executed 80 passes, 18% of Fury’s total (closest to him is TMG with 49 passes). Ward’s accuracy was 96%, and he hence had a quarter of Fury’s successful passes.
The East this Week in Stats
(a special for this week, will not always happen):
Team of the Week: North Carolina FC. Outshot, outpossessed, out-xG’ed, and coming out with a solid win against past USL Cup Champions.
Expected Goals: Atlanta FC II – xG of 2.90 (and 2 goals), followed by NY (2.89 and 3 goals)
Best Total Shot Ratio (TSR): New York Red Bulls 2 – 0.73
Luckiest Team (PDO Rating): Swope Park Rangers, with a mention to North Carolina FC and Nashville FC.
The Shooters: New York Red Bulls 2 – 23 shots, 15 on target.
The Passers: Nashville FC: 563 passes, 86.1% accuracy (484)
The Possessors: Indy Eleven – 64.9%
NY(3)-SPR(1)…NY outshot SPR (shots on target) 15 to 1…NY with an xG of 2.89 compared to a meagre 0.61 for SPR…NY will again be dangerous in the East…
STL(2)-IND(1)...Two playoff contenders…Domination by Indy in terms of possession, but generally even in terms of shots…xGs: St.Louis FC, 1.35; Indy Eleven: 1.61..
NC(4)-LOU(1)…USL Cup Champions against the Sarachan-led side…Not a one-way game, but a one-way scoreline…Louisville with 21 shots, but only 2 on target…NC comes out with a surgical and opportunistic win… xGs: NCFC, 1.88; LOU, 2.69…
MEM(0)-TBR(1)...A generally even game across most stats…Ambiance in Memphis looked like it was very fun… xGs: MEM, 0.86, TBR, 0.96…
ATL(2)-HAR(0)...ATL dominated HAR in the scoreline…but stats say another story…xGs: ATL, 2.90; HAR, 2.53… Total of 32 shots during that game, and quality ones at that…
NSH(2)-LDN(0)…Nashville’s passing numbers are out of this world…xGs: NSH, 1.62; LDN, 0.88…
BGH(0)-BST(2)...Two passing teams…Overall stats very similar for both teams in that game…xGs: BGH, 1.32; BST, 1.40
…Birmingham promises to be a challenge for Fury next week…Expect team similar to us in passing and possession and potentially more shots against than Charleston…in USL, do not take ‘expansion’ as sign of ‘weak opponent’….