Fury FC announced their 2015 pre-season schedule yesterday, and, at first glance, the list of announced opponents seemed to be one of the best lineup Fury FC fans could possibly hope for.
With both Toronto FC and Montreal Impact firmly engrained in the footy culture of Ottawa-Gatineau, a match-up against either team has been seen as a golden opportunity for Fury FC fans in any competition, both to assert themselves against the big boys from the major cities, and/or to reconcile the love that people often felt for two, or sometimes even three, of these clubs.
Ottawa Fury FC 2015 Pre-season Schedule
Friday, March 6 – Toronto FC II (Unconfirmed) vs Ottawa Fury FC (Kia Training Centre at Downsview) *Closed Doors*
Friday, March 13 – Ottawa Fury FC vs Rochester Rhinos (Complexe Branchaud-Briere – Gatineau, QC; 10:45AM)
Friday, March 20 – FC Montreal vs Ottawa Fury FC (Olympic Stadium) *Closed Doors*
Saturday, March 28 – Syracuse University vs Ottawa Fury FC (Syracuse University, NY)
Tuesday, March 31 – Wake Forest University vs Ottawa Fury FC (Wake Forest University, NC)
When the schedule was announced yesterday, there were plenty of excitement from Fury FC fans to see the names of not one but both of the two MLS clubs, as well as a home date at Complexe Branchaud-Briere, which hosted a couple of pre-season games in 2014.
However, the initial announcement was followed up with a couple of caveats. The Gatineau game at the Complexe against USL Pro side Rochester Rhinos has been announced as 10:45AM on a Friday morning, which unfortunately will dissuade all but the most hardcore fans from being able to attend.
In addition, the TFC and the IMFC games were declared closed-doors friendlies closed to all fans, irrespective of if they were planning to make the trip to Toronto and/or Montreal.
Finally, the Red Patch Boys forum, dedicated to TFC, pointed out that the senior side had its MLS regular season opener on Saturday, March 7th, away at Vancouver, and were certainly not going to be in Toronto on Friday the 6th, much less play a friendly the day before their opener.
I looked at the IMFC schedule and noticed that their senior side will be away at New England on Saturday, March 21st, and therefore would not be playing against the Fury on the 20th either.
Finally, IMFC confirmed on Twitter that it in fact would be FC Montreal, their new reserve side in USL Pro, that would be facing the Fury in FCM’s final friendly of 2015 before their regular season kicked off on March 28th.
We can safely assume that the other likely opponent for the Fury will be Toronto FC II, the new reserve side in USL Pro for TFC.
This being said, the lineup of opponents for the Fury is still quite exciting from a Canadian footy point of view, with TFC II and FC Montreal heralded as possibly one of the most important steps in Cdn footy developmental history, as it finally provides a meaningful bridge between the senior MLS sides and the youth academies that the MLS Reserve League could never hope to provide.
The fact that the Fury FC will be playing their friendlies against these two sides should be lauded for the significance it brings to the development of Canadian footy over the past two years, as the number of professional Canadian sides has jumped from 4 in 2013 to 8 in a matter of two years.
While the Fury FC media and communications team has had a history of slightly exaggerating some of their announcements, with cases such as the news on Bruce Grobbelaar, Rafael Alves and now the TFC/IMFC preseason matchups, they should perhaps realize that those who follow their announcements the closest are well aware of the significance of Bruce, Rafael Alves and the new USL Pro sides, and perhaps should feel more than comfortable in being forthright in their announcements and lead the way in acknowledging to the fans just how significant these developments are for what they are.
After all, Rafael Alves has just been voted on this site as the most exciting signing yet of the 2015 off-season.