OTTAWA FURY & W LEAGUE:
FURY FAIL TO FINISH IN W LEAGUE FINAL
7th August 2006
For the fourth straight year, the Ottawa Fury had to settle for second place at the W-League championship.
Under hot, sunny conditions the host Vancouver Whitecaps scored three goals for a convincing 3-0 victory before
4,218 spectators at Swangard Stadium in Burnaby. The Fury had their chances, but as Rhian Wilkinson says,
“we failed to finish.”
The Fury finished fourth in the 2003 Final Four, then finished third in 2004, when the Finals were played at
Keith Harris Stadium. In 2005, the Fury lost in the Finals to the New Jersey Wildcats. "We really believe in
ourselves, and we thought this was our year," said Fury midfielder Carmelina Moscato. "It's a pretty big disappointment,
but there's no regret in how we prepared or how we played." "Second place (again) is hard to swallow,"said Fury coach
Ottawa had their chances. At 16 minutes, Rhian Wilkinson showed great speed to take Franko on the outside and cross
the ball to Amy Vermeulen who was in on goal. Vermeulen slipped the ball past Erin McLeod, who had come off her line
and the ball rolled towards the net. However, as the Fury attackers stopped chasing, defender Sasha Andrews slid and
cleared the rolling ball from the line. The attack had the radio announcers waxing lyrically that “this is the best
game we have seen in Vancouver this year, and Rhian Wilkinson is the first defender to get past the Whitecaps defence.”
The Fury attacked again at 26 minutes, and yet another of several Wilkinson bursts of speed on the right, took her
in on goal. Rhian’s shot just grazed past the far post with McLeod beaten. However, at 33 minutes, Christine Sinclair
showed her usual clinical finish. A throw-in from the right found Milbrett at the near post, and she neatly lobbed
the ball across to Sinclair who had snuck in at the far post and she had a simple tap-in for her third goal of the
Just before the half, the Whitecaps struck again. The ball fell to Andrea Neil in the Fury box and she layed it off
for Christine Sinclair who blasted a shot on net from 10 metres. Goalkeeper Leisha Alcia made a fantastic save, but
the ball rolled to Franko in front and she steered it in past a defender on the line for her second goal of the
playoffs. "It really hurt us," said Fury Coach Lofranco. "We had a few opportunities in the first half, and we really
deserved one and we didn't get it." Meanwhile, the Whitecaps finished twice.
In the second half, the Fury had another breakaway at 53 minutes as Rhian Wilkinson again outpaced the defence.
However, goalkeeper Erin McLeod was aware of the threat and came out quickly to make a diving block with her feet. It
was McLeod's only save of the game.
Sasha Andrews put the game on ice for Vancouver in the 74 minute. Martina Franko's cross from a free kick on the
left side of midfield was met in the air by defender Andrews who powered her header in off the left post. It was her
first goal of the season, and beautifully taken.
While the Whitecaps celebrated with the W League trophy, the Fury was left to wonder about another one that got away.
The team had their chances, but failed to finish well, and one can only ponder what the outcome might have been if that
first goal had been scored. However, "It's been a great run,"said Fury’s owner John Pugh. "I don't think many people
thought we'd get past the Wildcats (in the Eastern Conference final), but we went a lot further than that. I'm very
proud of this team and what they've achieved. Ottawa should be proud, too." "They played with everything they had,"
said head coach Frank Lofranco. "They put their heart on the field.”
Earlier in the day in the consolation final,Seattle defeated the Charlotte Lady Eagles for third place. The winning
goal was a pretty one, from Rhian’s former teammate at the University of Tennessee: Lyndsey Patterson. For the finals, in
a sea of Vancouver supporters, the Seattle team made a good cheering section for Rhian and the Ottawa Fury.
Championship Match Video Highlights
Match Highlights (17.7mins)