New England Soccer Today

Phoenix Fall Short in OT

Ottawa’s Alex Rodriguez scored the game winner past Portland’s Terrance Dieterich in the 106th minute. (Photo: USL PDL)

A-Rod (no, not THAT A-Rod) keeps coming up in the clutch over the last few weeks for the Ottawa Fury. This time Alex Rodriguez scored to put the Fury up 3-1 in the 106th minute of their eventual 3-2 PDL Northeast Division Playoff overtime win against the GPS Portland Phoenix in front of 265 at the Algonquin College Soccer Complex in Ottawa on Tuesday night.

It was only the latest clutch goal for Rodriguez. Just three days prior Rodriguez scored the lone goal in the 80th minute of the Fury’s first-place clinching win over CFC Azul. The week before that Rodriguez scored the game winner in a 2-0 win over the Seacoast United Phantoms that all but secured a playoff spot.

The Fury finished the season unbeaten at home, but faced their toughest test of all against Portland in Tuesday’s playoff.  Only goalkeeper Nils Carlson, who made 6 saves in the match, kept the Phoenix from opening the scoring.

But Ottawa came alive in the second half and Eddie Campbell, who was third on the club with four regular season goals, got on the end of a long kick from Carlson and took advantage of Phoenix goalkeeper Terrance Dieterich’s aggressiveness to put the home side ahead in the 66th minute.

The Phoenix fought furiously for an equalizer and finally found it three minutes from the end of regulation time. Keegan Ziada, who led Portland with four assists in the regular season season, picked out leading scorer Eric Anderson in the box, who headed it in for his fifth goal of the year, forcing overtime.

Things began to sour in overtime for Maine’s PDL side as they were whistled for a foul on Niall Crick in the box in the 101st minute. Will Beauge scored from the spot, but was forced to retake it after Dieterich was adjudged to have left his line. The Fury were none-too-happy with the decision, but Beauge finished it the second time too – by then in the 105th minute – to end the controversy and put Ottawa up, 2-1.

Rodriguez then scored what proved to be the game winner in the opening seconds of the second overtime. After getting the ball from Beauge, Rodriguez dribbled his way through the Phoenix defense before finishing past Dieterich to make it 3-1.

Portland would pull back within one through Blaike Woodruff in the 120th minute, but it was too little too late.

The Fury move on to the USL PDL Eastern Conference Semifinal where they will face the Ocean City Nor’easters at Macpherson Stadium in Greensboro, N.C. on Saturday at 4 p.m.

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