Minnesota maintains a tenuous hold on a playoff spot ahead by four points on the combined table over Miami, but the Floridians have a game in hand over the Loons. Ottawa sits near the bottom, six points below the next team, having also played one game more than their superiors.
Neither squad has managed to put a strong run together in recent weeks. With the playoff home stretch beginning, this is a good chance for Minnesota to start to build some steam into the postseason.
Minnesota holds a 4-2-2 record in the all-time series and a 1-1-0 record when facing Ottawa at home.
The two last met in the Spring Season, with the Loons drawing Fury 2-2 at TD Place. Minnesota took an early lead thanks to Christian Ramirez. In the second half, a Jeb Brovsky own goal brought Minnesota’s run of 394 minutes without conceding to a close. Kevin Venegas assisted on a Ben Speas goal 15 minutes later, but a Sammy Ndjock miscue led to an added-time goal from Marcel de Jong, stealing a point for Fury.
Ottawa will be without midfield Bryan Olivera, who is serving a suspension due to a red card last week.
For Minnesota, both Greg Jordan and Bernardo Añor are out injured. Kevin Venegas played earlier this month, but is also on the mend from an injury. Danny Cruz, on the other hand, is fully fit and is set to return to the lineup.
The Fury have struggled to find the net this season, scoring only 21 goals. Ottawa’s struggles come in creating chances in the final third of play. The Fury have completed more passes than Minnesota, but have fewer shots — both on and off target.
Whether the problem is tactical or poor execution, Ottawa will need to solve its offense. The Fury have two-thirds the goals of Minnesota, but fewer than one half the number of assists. In short: for all the successful passing, Ottawa cannot create shots.
Ottawa is coming off a 0-0 draw away to the Railhawks. This match was preceded by a 0-0 draw in Puerto Rico. The Fury have neither scored nor conceded since September 2, when they drew FC Edmonton 2-2 at TD Place.
Forward Thomas Stewart only has three goals on the season. Carl Haworth leads the team with seven goals.
Minnesota United played well in its 1-0 loss to New York and we’ll likely see a similar lineup this week featuring Lance Laing wide left with Jamie Watson or the returning Danny Cruz on the right wing. Ramirez will start up top, likely with Ben Speas or J.C. Banks behind him in the no. 10 role.
The big places to watch will be the wings. Laing and Cruz will try to get forward whenever possible. Edmonton will likely crowd the box and center midfield, ceding control of the ball to Minnesota and challenging the home team to break the Fury defense.
This means Minnesota will need to be prepared to defend quickly and cut out counterattacks before they become danger.
The match begins at 7:00 p.m. CDT and will air on My29