With the W-League Championship ‘Final Four’ just around the corner, USLsoccer.com takes a look at the four teams contending for the W-League crown. Today we look at the other Canadian team vying for W-League glory.
The Ottawa Fury are trying to make history at the 2011 W-League Championship Presented by Umbro. The Fury compiled a perfect 12W-0L-0D record and picked up two more playoff wins heading into the Championship and are looking for two more wins to capture the elusive W-League crown. If Ottawa can succeed, they will become the fifth W-League side to complete a perfect season with a title.
That goal is easier said then done for Ottawa. The Fury have experienced plenty of success, winning their division the past eight seasons and compiling a 91-6-7 regular season record during that span. However, they have come up empty handed in five previous trips to the W-League Championship.
The goal for 2011 was clear for Ottawa entering the season - bring home the title.
“Our goal from the beginning of the year was to win the W-League Championship,” Ottawa Head Coach Dominic Oliveri said. “This year’s team is extremely talented, but what has set them apart this season is their attitude and character both on and off the field.”
That attitude and will to win has carried this Ottawa team throughout the season. Their perfect 12W-0L-0D record was not easy to come by and it was forged by several dramatic comebacks and late game-winners. The character and resolve demonstrated by the Fury this season has been resolute.
“Character is always important with every successful team,” Oliveri said. “There have been a couple games where we have not performed to our best ability, however, as a coach, it is comforting to know that in those situations, the players reacted in the right way and we were able to achieve the results.”
While a few bounces have gone Ottawa’s way during the 2011 season, the statistics prove the Fury used a lot more than luck to get where they are. On top of their unblemished record, the Fury only surrendered five goals all season (tied for best in the W-League) and put 43 goals past their opposition (best in the W-League).
Those results were produced by the great depth of international talent on the Fury roster, including the side’s strong Canadian foundation. The Fury were recently boosted by the return of Canadian international Christina Julien from the FIFA Women’s World Cup. Players such as Julien and W-League points and goal scoring leader Mallory Outerbridge have given the Fury the badge of a club that helps develop the Canadian game.
“We feel that as a Canadian club, we have a major role to play in the development of the women’s game in Canada, and a responsibility to develop players for our national team,” Oliveri said. “Our W-League women help in these areas by working with female youth players, showcasing the women’s game, and by being good role models for the younger female players in our club and in the soccer community.”
Having defeated the Santa Clarita Blue Heat in Sunday’s W-League Western Conference Final, Whitecaps FC now travel across the border for the W-League Championship Final Four in Tukwila, Washington. The action begins this Friday, July 29, as they face Atlanta Silverbacks in the W-League semifinals. Should Whitecaps FC win on Friday, they will face the winner of the other semifinal between the host Seattle Sounders Women and the undefeated Ottawa Fury in the W-League Championship Final on Sunday, July 31, with kickoff set for 4 p.m. PT.
Tickets for this weekend’s championship action can be purchased online by clicking here.