Fury FC Updates – Signing of CB Rafael Alves, ST Wiedeman, RB Richter, Decline on RB Woodbine

Ottawa Fury FC fans have witnessed some fascinating signings by the club over the past fortnight, and are rightfully excited, even exhilarated, about the upcoming season.

The senior roster is now up to 18 players, and only 4-5 players short of what is Dos Santos’s ideal roster size. With the addition of a further international signing, there are currently 6 international spots filled out of 7 allocations. You can track the Fury FC roster right here, at https://offcreview.wordpress.com/roster/ (last time, I promise šŸ™‚ )

Photo courtesy of NASL.
Photo courtesy of NASL.

The signing of CB Rafael Alves from Ft. Lauderdale Strikers answered the question of the “big international” signing that the Fury FC media team had hyped for a week or two. While your correspondent looked at the team’s need for a RB at the time and MDS’s Portuguese connections, he had the image of Miguel Monteiro, formerly of Valencia CF, somehow joining the ranks of Fury FC, but that was not to be.

Rafael Alves does bring significant height to the middle of the back four, and composure on the ball from the backline, and was a significant catalyst in the Strikers’ late surge that carried them all the way to the finals of the 2014 post-season, also known delightfully as the Soccer Bowl. His signing, along with that of Mike Randolph, brings leadership and know-how of the league, and cannot be understated as an extremely solid signing for the club. He has been communicating regularly with Paulo Jr. on social media, as they share Brazilian and Floridan roots together. A fun fact about Rafael Alves is that he was in fact the very first scorer against Fury FC in its NASL history, in our 1st match away at Ft. Lauderdale.

Tactically, he is expected to slot in as the starting RCB next to Mason Trafford. However, I would actually envision him having even greater success as a LCB that can go toe-to-toe with the opposing CF in the air. I would instead advocate for a more agile defender at the RCB position, to provide support and back-up to the RB, who usually has the role of facing the opponent’s best dribbler.

These players, when they are right-footed, usually line up as a LW/CAM/SS (an inverted winger, such as CR7, Hazard, Messi, Robben, Ribery, etc., with Walter Restrepo, Hanson Boakai and our own Oliver Minatel the most notable NASL examples). I believe Drew Beckie is, at the moment, our most agile defender and our best candidate for the RCB position. I will delve into a further tactical discussion of the team when the team has completed its signings for the preseason.

Photo courtesy of MLS.
Photo courtesy of MLS.

The signing of CF Andrew Wiedeman was a pleasant surprise to Fury FC fans, as the player is immensely popular in Ontario (http://vocalminority.ca/wet-wiedeman-is-no-more-andrew-wiedeman-signs-with-ottawa-fury-fc/), especially among Toronto FC fans, of which there are many in Ottawa. Wiedeman has not featured much on the pitch in 2014, but is considered to have immense potential, having laced up for the USA U18 side earlier in his career. He has a penchant for scoring in wet rainy conditions (#WetWiedeman), and has been a key player in TFC’s off-field activities, while also displaying a mean Twitter/Instagram game.

Tactically, Wiedeman is expected to go head-to-head with Tom Heinemann for the starting CF position. Wiedeman has shown good volleys during his time with TFC, able to get on the end of crosses into the 6-yard box, with Fury FC fans crying for predatory finishers. With his familiarity of the provincial climate, and with his good friend Ryan Richter also on the team, there is a great opportunity for Wiedeman to fire off his career right here in Ottawa.

Photo courtesy of Ottawa Citizen.
Photo courtesy of Ottawa Citizen.

The re-signing of Ryan Richter, this time on a permanent basis, was warmly welcomed by Fury fans, with Richter given the opportunity to continue to dominate on the right flank for Ottawa. With an incredibly disappointing start to his Fury FC career after signing on loan from TFC in summer 2014, twice giving away the ball and earning a yellow card while playing in an unfamiliar CB role, Richter seemed as his OFFC career would not be given another opportunity. Yet, he seized the opportunity back in his familiar RB spot, wresting the starting position away from Beckie and Andres Fresenga, and has not looked back since.

Tactically, Richter has made the RB spot his own, with his tall frame allowing him to cover a lot of ground significantly both offensively and defensively. His running style reminds me of Maicon, of AS Roma, and he has been great in his overlaps on the right flank, combining well with Haworth, Oliver and Davies.

Photo courtesy of Express Ottawa.
Photo courtesy of Express Ottawa.

Finally, OFFC announced that they will not be bringing back LB/RB O’Brian Woodbine. The player was a favourite of mine, as he showcased blazing speed and fierce determination in his defending in the 5 matches that he played. I believe that in those 5 matches alone, he showed that he was at the highest class of NASL defenders, our own Stephen DeRoux, and I believe that he will find a home shortly, and that it would be a loss for the club if he were to sign for a league rival.

His status as an international player was the most likely factor counting against him, but his strong play at LB in what was not his natural RB role, indicates to me that he should be an automatic starter at another NASL club were he to sign in the league. Good luck, O’Brian!

Currently, I would project an opening day starting lineup of Peiser; Richter, Rafael Alves, Trafford, Randolph; Paterson, Ryan, Ubiparipovic; Oliver, Heinemann and Paulo Jr., in a 4-3-3.

OFFC Expected Lineup 20150202

I, however, would not mind seeing an opening day starting lineup of Peiser; Richter, Beckie, Rafael Alves, Randolph; Paterson, Ryan, Ubiparipovic; Oliver, Heinemann and Paulo Jr., in a 4-3-3.

OFFC Desired Lineup 20150202

The team is currently most in need of additional fullbacks on both sides and two more CMs, as well as a keeper. Ottawa currently has 2 keepers, 1 RB, 4 CBs, 1 LB, 4 CM’s, 4 wingers, and 2 CFs in their senior side, as of February 2nd.

A player that has been strongly rumoured to join Fury FC is Brandon Poltronieri, a LB/LM who played with Randolph in Atlanta in 2014, and is currently training at the OFFC facilities. Chris Hofley and Stuart Mac have reported that MDS is looking at one more CB, possibly an international, and would push Beckie out to RB.

As mentioned in my previous post, the players are expected to report to training camp in Ottawa and take medicals by no later than February 16th, according to Graeme Ivory of Fury FC. The pre-season schedule for the 2015 spring will be coming out later today.

Ottawa Sun: http://www.ottawasun.com/2015/01/22/fury-fc-signs-brazilian-defender; http://www.ottawasun.com/2015/01/26/ottawa-fury-signs-toronto-player; http://www.ottawasun.com/2015/01/28/ottawa-fury-eager-to-get-going

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