Memphis 901 FC bring home a point from 0-0 draw in Canada
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — On a rainy night in Canada, the Memphis 901 FC’s defensive efforts earned a 0-0 draw against the Ottawa Fury.
Memphis had an attacking game plan in the first half and opted to play more defensibly in the second half.
Ottawa and Memphis were tied with five shots apiece in the first half. The Fury dominated most of the second half and out-shot Memphis 14-2.
The Fury, who averaged more than 50% possession this season, ended the match with 67% possession.
Memphis was the more fluid side through the first 45 minutes. They caught Ottawa off-guard through the first 15 minutes of play. The Fury struggled with the 901 FC’s 4-4-2 formation and quick build up tactics.
Forward Elliot Collier, who scored in the mid-week match, had three chances inside Ottawa’s final third, but defenders Dakota Barnathan and Nana Attakora kept the big man from scoring.
Towards the end of the first half, Ottawa began to pick up the pace. Forward Mour Samb forced Memphis goalkeeper Jeff Caldwell to make two diving saves in the final minutes of the half.
The rain continued to pour down as the second half whistle sounded.
Ottawa head coach Nikola Popovic clearly instructed his team during the break to progress numbers further up the pitch and press the midfield.
The Fury were aggressive for the first 20 minutes of the second half. They smothered the Memphis midfield with eight players in the 901 FC’s own half.
The 901 FC were able to weather the storm, thanks to the defensive efforts of captain Marc Burch. The veteran cleared the ball out of the danger area four times in 15 minutes.
Memphis began to accumulate more offensive possession in the final 20 minutes of play. The team continued to play long balls forward to Collier, and 68 minutes in, the New Zealander unleashed a shot that walloped off the crossbar.
Collier again put the Ottawa back line on their toes with a run in the 78th minute. He ended up one-on-one with goalkeeper Callum Irving, and his attempted shot was nudged wide by Irving’s trailing leg.
Ottawa had multiple shot attempts towards the end of the match, but their shots were either blocked or sent high and wide,
Memphis was content to drop back defensively and see the match out with a goalless draw. Even though the 901 FC failed to win, the draw is a positive because in the USL Championship, a point on the road is valuable.
— By Caleb Hilliard