In this edition of Lady Victory and her Quest for Glory, I have a short interview with Théo Gauthier of Total NASL and NASL Nightcap.

MC: What are your thoughts after seeing the Fury play in their first NASL game of the year?

TG: When I look at a new season for any team that I follow closely, my outlook is usually on a scale. If I let myself look at things with rose-tinted glasses, THIS could happen. If I let my worst fears take over, THAT could happen. Sadly, Sunday night was a confirmation of my most negative predictions. The team just didn’t look ready for prime-time. They started well in the match, but it also looked like the Cosmos let it happen to a certain extent. When New York got going, the warts were exposed. The coaching staff have a lot of work to do, which is what a lot of us predicted considering the amount of turnover we saw over the winter. 

MC: Have your expectations for the spring season changed after one game?

TG: Not really. I predicted a finish between 6th and 9th for the entire season, and that’s where I still believe they will end up. Also, I tend not to get too high or too low after one match. Hot takes are fine, but perspective is crucial in order to retain one’s sanity.

MC: As you mentioned, there has been a lot of turnover in Ottawa, can you briefly talk about some of the key additions the Fury have made this off-season?

TG: Marcel de Jong was the signing of the off-season for the Fury. He’s a starter at left back on the Canadian Men’s National Team, and has a great rapport with Canadian and Fury captain Julian de Guzman. 

Gerardo Bruna turned some heads with his signing in Ottawa, since he had been touted so highly as a teenager, where he spent time in Liverpool and Real Madrid’s academies. We’ve seen flashes of his potential in the pre-season. 

Jonny Steele has been on a lot of clubs, and word is he was going to retire when his former coach, Paul Dalglish, called him up and asked him to join the Fury. Fans are split on this signing, some wary of his journeyman status, some excited by his fiery nature. 

MC: What are the strengths and weaknesses of this Fury team?

TG: Well, it was all on show during the Cosmos match, wasn’t it? Dalglish wants to play on the front foot, offering attacking football as much as possible. It looked good for the first half-hour in New York, but then came crashing down around them as their defensive vulnerability was exposed. 

It looks like Golden Gloves holder Romuald Peiser is being asked to take a more pro-active role at the back to launch Fury attacks, playing as more of sweeper keeper in the mould of Lloris or Neuer. While he adapts to his new role, you’re going to see errors like Sunday night which, you could argue, led to all three Cosmos goals.

MC:What are your thoughts on Coach Paul Dalglish and his coaching philosophies?

TG: I think he’s a guy with a lot to prove. He had an impressive playing career, and he comes from soccer royalty. He had some success in the PDL, winning a championship, but on the pro level it’s been hit and miss. As mentioned earlier he preaches attractive, attacking football. Can he find the right balance to win in NASL? That’s the question we’re all asking. It’s early days, and you’ve got to give him time to fully implement his vision and let the players gel. 

MC: How do you think Falvey, Paterson, and Ubiparipovic will do against their former team?

TG: They’ll do great. As I mentioned on the NASL Nightcap earlier this week, there’s a story there that has yet to be told. Six transfer requests in one off-season is not normal. No one’s talking on the player side nor on the management side about how that all went down. There are plenty of theories — Canadian dollar woes, personality conflicts with the new manager, promised not kept by the front office, etc., etc., but at this point it’s all throwing stuff at the wall to see what sticks. 

July 19, 2015: Indy Eleven and Ottawa Fury FC
Indy Eleven and Ottawa Fury FC (Colin Falvey, black jersey) during North American Soccer League action at TD Place in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, 19 July, 2015. Photo by Richard A. Whittaker. 

Falvey is going to be one of your most important players this season. Paterson, if he stays healthy (he was out injured for most of his time with the Fury), has buckets of skill. Ubi can deliver the killer pass from midfield. 

MC: Can I get your prediction for Saturday night’s match between the Fury and Eleven?

TG: Indy looked good in Tampa. Ottawa looked bad in New York. Indy returns home to the adoration of 10,000 fans. Ottawa trained in snow this week. I’ve got Indy taking it 2-0. 

Total NASL is a supporter’s blog covering the North American Soccer League. The NASL Nightcap is a podcast hosted by Théo Gauthier: http://totalnasl.com/  http://sportspodcastingnetwork.com/category/the-nasl-nightcap/

FEATURED IMAGE CREDIT: STEVE KINGSMAN

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