Ottawa Fury FC at Atlanta Silverbacks FC – 2-1 L
Ottawa (4-3-3) – Gorrick 6; Soria 5, Trafford 5, Beckie 5, Fresenga 4; Ubiparipovic 7, Donatelli 5, Elias 5; Haworth 7, Dantas 8, Davies 7
Subs – Mayard (Haworth) 6, Jarun (Mayard) 7, Caceros (Elias) 6
Goal – Jarun; Assist – Ubiparipovic
Quick preview – After a whirlwind start to the season, the players will finally go back to the regular routine of the one match per week. It was difficult to even keep up as a supporter, so I don’t even know what the players must have gone through. Missing Oliver through fatigue (or injury) and Ryan through a warm-up injury meant we were missing our most steady attacking and midfield presence, and it clearly showed in Atlanta in the 2nd half. The injury bug struck again with Ryan, Haworth and Mayard all getting injured during the day.
Overall – I watched the game again, and went through the game tape as best as I could to draw some more specific observations on the game at Atlanta. Fatigue was a factor for the midfield, for sure, but I think that losing Ryan to injury in the warmups is what really sunk us this game. If there are two players that so far have shown themselves to be irreplacable, it has been Ubiparipovic and Ryan. Ubiparipovic was also not very visible at many stretches of the 2nd half, and that also contributed to our lack of offensive showing in the middle of the 2nd half.
GK and D – Not great performances from any of the D vs. Atlanta
Gorrick made some nice saves, but also showed some hesitancies on the crosses. Our fullbacks had a rough game; Soria was tormented by Sandoval all game long while he played LB, especially in the 1st half. Soria played better as a LW than as a LB. Fresenga had a game to forget on both ends of the field, hope he bounces back in his next showing. Him and Davies need to work together more often if they are to succeed together on the right flank. Fresenga did make himself available best he could though.
Trafford continues to lose out on too many aerial duels as a CB, and was not comfortable with the ball at all as a LB later on. On the first goal, his mark ghosted away from him for the goal, and on the second goal, passed the ball away that led to their counter. Almost gave away a rash penalty in the 2nd half. Made some nice tackles though. Beckie though was ultimately responsible for both goals, marking a player he should not be marking for the first goal, and losing out on the header for the second goal. Did make 2 brave blocks that saved us from further goals though.
Jarun was just okay in the 10 minutes he played as a CB but more effective as a wrecking ball as a CF. Caceros looked good in the 10 minutes he played, and he or Beckie should be considered a possible candidate to come in for Ryan at DM if he and Paterson are still missing for this Saturday.
M – Where we really lost the game
Donatelli tried, but was not an able fill-in for Ryan as a DM. Made 2 nice sliding tackles, but was slow and often over-run and not as tidy as Ryan in his control or distribution. Also, did not help in marking on the 1st goal, when he should have at least been in the penalty area to mark the player that Beckie was marking. He was fantastic vs. Carolina in the RCM role, which seems his more natural role.
Elias tried hard, and that’s very appreciated, and fashioned a great chance in the first 10 minutes. However, the number of misplaced passes was too high, and his control was not good enough for a RCM as he often got crowded out. He was also not strong enough to make the defensive plays in midfield. I liked his energy though, and I wonder how he would play as a LW or a RW.
Ubiparipovic was the offensive spark as usual, and always did something positive with the ball. However, he was invisible in the middle of the 2nd half, when we needed him the most. He was visible again at the end and helped contribute to the brief insurgency from the Fury. Also, needs to help out more in defensive work.
F – Looked bright and positive, but needs more aggression
Haworth looked positive at LW, getting away from his opponents easily to hold up the ball. Showed willingness to take on players too, which is always needed.
Dantas was the best player for Ottawa on Saturday, ran hard, held up the ball well, fashioned some chances. He needs to continue to get his teammates more involved though, and of course, take his chances.
Davies was the 2nd best player for Ottawa, very technical, always did something intelligent with his passing or his technique. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen him take on a fullback 1 on 1 and beat him, though, so I would like to see more aggression from him. If Ubiparipovic is ever injured again, having Davies as the LCM in the 4-3-3 instead of Oliver as an CAM in a 4-2-3-1 would be something I think might work. For future games in the season, seeing Davies next to Ubi in a RCM role I think would be intriguing as well.
Mayard seemed to take an injury to his hip, hope he recovers quickly. I liked his energy in the season opener, but I haven’t seen him beating many players from LW yet. I’d be curious to see him cut in from RW instead.
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