Furious Quotes: Championship Semifinal Edition

I had the pleasure of attending Ottawa Fury’s practice sessions all week, and today I was present for Minnesota’s training as well. What follows are the quotes that stuck out to me.

Fury Logo

Marc Dos Santos

On the team’s attitude:

“The atmosphere in the room is the same as it’s always been. The guys are anxious about playing, they want to get out there. They’re confident, they’ve been fantastic all year and I feel they’re simply continuing in that vein. Obviously we’ve worked hard to play a semifinal at home. We won the Fall season and that’s no easy feat. Now we’re simply focused on this next match against Minnesota United.”

On not going for it against Atlanta last week:

“If this was a European market where the first place wins the championship, we would have gone all-in. The truth is you’re in the North American market where you can finish first and in the end it doesn’t count for anything because people will remember the (playoff) champions. It was excellent going into Atlanta, rotating the squad, and still getting a positive result.”

On how the two teams view each other:

“Respect. I have a tremendous amount of respect for (Minnesota United head coach) Manny Lagos. He’s also very respectful of me – we have a good relationship. Their players know we’re good. Our players know they’re good. There’s a healthy respect between the clubs, but it’s incredible to think how quickly we earned that respect. Some teams have been in this league for five years and haven’t earned that type of respect. Look, we’re concerned with some of their strengths, in a good way, but do you think they’re not? We finished three points ahead of them in the standings.”

On how pressure is handled:

“There’s a lot experience on display here. I’ve been in a bunch of these types of matches, and so has Manny (Lagos). We have many big-match players in our team; Julian de Guzman,  Richie Ryan, Rafael Alves, Tommy Heinemann, Romuald Peiser, Siniša Ubiparipović, and so do they. But hey, this is professional sports and you’re always going to get butterflies 24 hours prior to a match.”

On who is favourite:

“It’s all on them. They have to win, they have to be in the final. I think we will win, but if there’s an outsider here, it’s us and Fort Lauderdale.

Keys to Sunday’s match:

“We need to take our chances. We need to score. We’ll have to be very aware defensively. We’re talking about a team with a lot of dangerous weapons that we have to deal with; Ramirez, Al-Hassan, Ibson, Campos. We know everything about Minnesota at this point. We know what they’re gonna do and they what we’re gonna do.”

On practicing penalties:

“We did, but honestly you don’t really practice penalties. From experience I can tell you that in penalty shootouts I’ve been involved in, I’ve had players go 15/15 from the spot in practice then miss in the match. I think it’s a question of choosing who takes penalties in the moment and some players are suited in that particular moment to do well. It’s not a lottery though. It’s a combination of skill and luck. I won’t give you names of players who I think can handle that pressure (laughs), but I absolutely know who is better suited to take penalties. You can already start to feel it in training this week.”

On what’s keeping him up at night regarding Minnesota United:

“Nothing. Absolutely nothing, I sleep well. I work very hard with my staff during the day, but when I arrive home, I’m telling you, last night I slept from 8:30pm to 6am. Good sleep, man!”

On what he expects from the crowd:

“We ask them to create a very uncomfortable environment for Minnesota.”

Romuald Peiser

On whether the the August 15th loss to Minnesota still stings:

“I long ago forgot about that home match. It was a close match with a couple of sketchy refereeing calls. Things that were beyond our control.”

On the pressure of a semi-final:

“You either make it or break it here. It’s a one-off match. It could the last game – you can’t hold anything back. You have to give everything. In every individual matchup, the intensity will be ramped up. For them, they have an obligation to win because of their MLS ambitions. We have a good group here, and if we play our game we will beat them.”

On what the result might mean:

“At the end of the game, one team is going to go home and cry, the other is going to go make a party.”

Tommy Heinemann

On how the Fury is getting more and more notoriety around the city:

“I think the club does an excellent job in doing that. I love being a part of the community and I love that the community is a part of us and ultimately both those things lead to a successful club.”

On the prospect of a high-scoring match:

“I could care less! (chuckling) As long we score one more goal!”

On whether he expects another physical battle with Minnesota’s duo of Brazilian centre-backs:

“Always, man! My body takes a beating, that’s just what I do. Anything I can do to help the team and if that’s what it is, and usually that’s one of the key components (of my game), I’ll look to hold the ball up for the team.”

Colin Falvey:

On whether he’ll be good to go on Sunday:

“Does a fish have a waterproof head?”


Manny Lagos:

On team’s feeling heading into semifinal:

“I think we’re excited and we certainly feel good because we’ve had a good year and we should feel confident with the year we’ve had. At the same time we have to be aware and cognizant of the year Ottawa’s had as well. Ultimately I think it’s a great matchup of two teams who’ve had very good years.”

On Dos Dos Santos saying pressure was on Minnesota to win:

“(chuckling) I see what he’s saying. We have, over the last couple of years, created expectations to win. We’ll embrace that type of adversity. At the same time, Ottawa has to put their hand up and say they had a great year and they’re at home. Anytime you’re at home in the playoffs you have some sort of advantage and they certainly do.”

On the history of physical play between the teams:

“It’s a fair physicality. Both teams try to go about things the right way in playing hard and physical in the right moments. I don’t think it’s at all been outside the bounds of the game.”

Tiago Calvano:

On his duels with Tommy Heinemann:

“The guy is big, yeah? He’s tough. It will be intense will lots of challenges, but fair challenges. I know what to expect from him and he knows how I play. It will be a tough challenge.”

On whether Minnesota are, as Marc Dos Santos stated, the favourites:

“No, there is no favourite. Actually, if there is one favourite it’s Ottawa because they’re playing at home. He’s a clever guy, that Marc Dos Santos, trying to put pressure on us! (laughter).”

Sammy Ndjock:

On who’s considered the favourite:

“Well, it has to be Ottawa. All of the Fall season we tried to catch them, and we were never able to. There is no way we will underestimate them.”

On who he considers the Fury’s greatest threats:

“Tom Heinemann. He’s a very good player and you have to be mindful of him. He has that hunger to dominate. Also Sinisa (Ubiparipovic), he’s a very good creator and great for that last ball. Peiser is going to cause all sorts of problems for us, because he’s been in the zone all season.”

On whether his defence is underrated:

“We have a good defence, but we have lapses in concentration. That’s our big problem. But if we manage to stay concentrated all match, it will be very difficult to score on us. If I’m at 100%, it will be difficult to score on me. I haven’t had a good year, and I feel like NASL is below my usual level. I’ve only been here 10 months and I’m already one of the best keepers in the league.”