I was out on Saturday night, but I followed the game through FotMob and catched the last 15-20 minutes live and rewatched it entirely this morning. Here are my thoughts from my notebook:
- Fury FC won their first game, away in against expansion side Birmingham Legion FC. Fury brings 4 points from its two first games, the best start in history of the franchise.
- A similar starting XI, except in defense, where we saw Dakota Barnathan in a central role, and Jérémy Gagnon-Laparé as full back with Dixon.
- This week again, only one loanee on the starting XI (Meilleur-Giguère), with two more on the bench. Boskovic came in injury time in a time-spending substitution.
- For the second week in a row, Fury started the game strong. It maintained a small lead in possession and in passing in the first half. This changed to Birmingham’s advantage in the second half. At the end of the game, Legion FC dominated both possession and passing.
- Fury’s possession critically went down in the second half, as they appeared to switch to a more defensive and counter-attacking style of play. This likely shows some flexibility in Popovic’s system, so far.
- Some are starting to question Wal Fall’s performance. He was clearly frustrated when Popovic subbed him in the 55th minute, and he does not yet live to high expectations. This said, he was good on the press, had a good number of duels won (7), surpassed only by Oliveira (who also lost more duels than he won them). As such, Fall had a good rate of duels won vs duels lost and had a nice assist on Haworth’s goal. He wins back possession, and wins aerial duels. He is third overall in the team for duels won, behind Oliveira and Haworth. This said, his passing accuracy was low (45% overall, and 36.4% in the opponent’s half) which is a bit concerning. Let’s be patient.
- At the half, Fury had a slight lead in expected goals (xG) with 0.32 compared to 0.20 for Birmingham. The latter opened the machine in the second half, with an xG of 1.30. Fury FC was not fully outplayed however, with an xG of 0.58 (remember they had a full game xG of 0.48 in their first game). Birmingham finished the game with an xG of 1.50, while Fury stood at 0.90.
- Although Fury had a small disadvantage in Total Shot Ratio (TSR) (0.45 to 0.55 for Birmingham), this indicator was higher than last game. Fury improved both their TSR and xG compared to last game. However, their xG still hasn’t surpassed 1, which is a critical indicator. This still needs improvement, but it is on the right trend.
- Everything for Fury FC goes through the midfield. You can see this in the team’s heatmap below, but you can also note that the club still does not attack the box much. They go in when the opportunity is there (Haworth goal’s being the prime example).
- Popovic only used two subs, with one being a time spending sub deep into injury time. This may show lack of bench depth (although Fury does not travel with many subs). It will be something to watch over a number of games.
- Man of the Match: Carl Haworth. Special mention to Thomas Meilleur-Giguère.
- Fury Stat of the Game: 38 clearances for Ottawa, compared to 18 for Birmingham. Individually, 11 clearances and 3 interceptions for Thomas Meilleur-Giguère. That goal line clearance is also probably worth 3 clearances. This high clearance number is not necessarily a good stat for Fury FC, and is indicative of the second half. Note that TMG is 3rd in the League so far for the number of clearances with 16 total.
In the East this week:
- Team of the Week: St.Louis FC. Outpossessed and outpassed against Nashville, but coming out with the win.
- Expected Goals: Charleston Battery with an xG of 1.97 against Hartford.
- Best Total Shot Ratio (TSR): North Carolina FC – 0.70 in their win against Bethlehem Steel.
- The Shooters: Not a big week here. North Carolina FC. 14 shots, including 9 on target.
- The Passers: Memphis 901 with 555 passes. This said, their accuracy was low (76,1%). Again, Nashville FC was a the top with 542 passes and 85.3% accuracy (but they lost against St.Louis!)
- The Possessors: Nashville FC – 63.7%
A final note… Nashville FC is Fury’s next opponent, at home at TD Place. This promises to be an exciting game, with Nashville FC, despite their defeat this week, being a formidable opponent, seeking total control of the game through possession and passing.