The action between the North American Soccer League’s two 2014 expansion clubs, Indy Eleven and Ottawa Fury FC, heated up quickly in a six-goal shootout that ended 4-2 in favor of the Canadian side in front of a sellout crowd of 10,285 at Michael A. Carroll Stadium.
In a furiously played first 45 minutes it was Ottawa Fury FC that lit up the scoreboard first on a 16th minute goal by midfielder Tony Donatelli. Forward Vini Dantas’ pass to Donatelli at the top of the box gave him the ability to turn and fire a shot from the top of the box toward the left side of the net and past Eleven goalkeeper Kristian Nicht for the opening tally.
Indy Eleven quickly responded in the 19th minute when newcomer midfielder Blake Smith, on-loan from MLS’ Montreal Impact, was taken down in the box by Fury FC’s Oliver. Referee Mark Kadlecik awarded Indy Eleven a penalty kick and forward Mike Ambersley netted the tying goal past Fury goalkeeper Devala Gorrick. The goal was Ambersley’s third on the season, giving him a share of the NASL lead in the category.
“Blake [Smith] has come in as a very energetic player, very crafty on the ball. He really unbalanced their defense and drew the penalty kick. He’s a very cleaver player that brought a spark to the team," said Indy Eleven Head Coach Juergen Sommer.
Ottawa gained the final push to go ahead in the closing minutes of the first half. In the 40th minute, a Fury FC corner kick by midfielder Richie Ryan landed at the feet of defender Omar Jarun, who was able to flick a header on a short angle past Nicht. Fury FC doubled the lead quickly in the 42nd minute on an unassisted goal by Donatelli from the same spot he scored his first of the match. The goal also pushed Donatelli into the tie for lead in the league for goals scored.
Indy was able to cut the lead back down to one goal going into half. In the 44th minute, forward Ben Spencer touched A.J. Corrado’s long through ball into space before charging toward the left side of the box. The 20-year-old was able to roll one across the face of goal and into the right side of the net to make the score 3-2 going into the locker room.
“This [Indy] team is better than what people think. Offensively, they are extremely dangerous. I think if they fix a little bit in the back, they could be a very good side in the NASL," said Ottawa Fury FC Head Coach Marc Dos Santos.
A less intense second half still had its moments, starting in the 56th minute when a free kick situation saw Indy Eleven get three bites of the apple without a payoff. Erick Norales was unable to make good contact on the doorstep on their second attempt in quick succession before Ottawa’s clearance fell to Eleven midfielder Brad Ring, who rifled a volley from the top of the box that sailed just over the head of Gorrick.
Fury FC pushed the lead to its eventual two-goal cushion in the 68th minute, as a cross from forward Carl Haworth hit a falling Oliver, whose forward momentum helped deflect the ball into the net and secured the 4-2 win for Ottawa.
“To be at home and to think that you have to score three or four goals to win the game is not really a mindset you should have," said Coach Sommer.
The defeat marked the first loss by more than one goal for Indy Eleven (0-4-2, 2 pts.), whose losing streak fell to four on the evening. Another streak for the club also moved to four, but this one was of the positive variety as the 10,285 in attendance marked the team’s fourth sellout at Carroll Stadium in as many games to begin its NASL tenure.
“[Carroll Stadium] is going to be one of the most difficult places to play eventually," added Ottawa Coach Dos Santos.
The search for the Eleven’s first three-point result will take the squad to Long Island next Saturday, May 24, when Indy will face the New York Cosmos (4-0-2, 12 pts.) at Hofstra University’s Shuart Stadium at 7:00 p.m. ET.