April 23, 2014, OTTAWA (ISN) – FC Edmonton and Ottawa Fury FC played to a 0-0 draw Wednesday night at Keith Harris Stadium in the first leg of the Amway Canadian Championship.
The two teams, who compete in the North American Soccer League, will meet next Wednesday in Edmonton for the final game of the home-and-home series.
The winner, the team that scores the greater aggregate of goals over the two matches, will secure the fourth semi-final place and join the three Canadian MLS clubs, Montreal Impact, Toronto FC and Vancouver Whitecaps FC in the next round.
Should the two teams end in a draw next week the Fury would earn the tie-breaker as the visiting team owns the tiebreaker.
However, if next week’s game is scoreless the two would play extra time and then go to penalty kicks to determine a winner.
The Fury, playing just the third game in franchise history, gave Edmonton all it could handle.
Both teams had good chances in the early going of the second half, but both goalkeepers seemed up to the challenge.
Ottawa ‘keeper Devala Gorrick made the save of the night in injury time on Sadi Jalali as Edmonton broke through for a wide-open chance.
Minutes earlier, Edmonton failed to take advantage of a direct kick as Richie Ryan made a great defensive play to block the kick.
Ritchie Jones had a good chance at the 51st minute, but Gorrick made an easy save to keep the game scoreless.
Mason Trafford had the crowd on its feet as he made an acrobatic kick from in close, but John Smits managed to stretch out for the save.
The game remained scoreless after the first half.
The Fury, playing without four of its starters due to injury, had the better chances early in the half, but failed to beat Smits.
Ottawa’s Philippe Davies nearly scored off a header at the seventh minute, but Smits was able to get a hand on it and tip it wide.
Davies once again had a great chance at the 26th-minute mark, but watched in disappointment as his shot went just over the crossbar.
Cool temperatures and a brisk wind seemed to have little effect on the play or the crowd of 2,411 who were boisterous in their support of the home team.
Edmonton grew stronger as the game went on and had a number of good chances late in the opening half, but Gorrick was solid for the Fury.
The Amway, which features the country’s five professional clubs, is moving into its seventh edition, with the winner representing Canada in the CONCACAF Champions League.
Notes: The Fury were without Tom Heinemann (high ankle sprain, 4-6 weeks), Nicki Paterson (knee, day-to-day), Sinisa Ubiparipovic (knee, day-to-day), Omar Jarun (eye, day-to-day)