PHOTO: Ottawa Fury
By Théo Gauthier
On Saturday morning, the Ottawa Fury released Canadian international Kyle Porter.
The roster move marks the end of Porter’s second stint with the Fury. The Toronto-born winger was first signed to the Fury by Paul Dalglish for the 2016 season. After appearing 15 times for the club, he was released and signed by the Tampa Bay Rowdies in 2017.
Last winter, Fury General Manager Julian de Guzman brought Porter back, but the Mississauga Falcons alumni struggled to find playing time, with Head Coach Nikola Popovic preferring captain Carl Haworth and right back Eddie Edward on the flank. He was limited to two starts and only 200 minutes of playing time in 2018.
Don’t expect this to be the last move the Fury makes during the summer transfer window. Over the course of a lengthy interview in May, de Guzman and Popovic made it clear that the team as it currently stood was not entirely up to their standards, and that changes were inevitable. “We’ve had too many people come through this system, this country, this city, and not care,” de Guzman said at the time.
Popovic echoed de Guzman’s statement: “People who come here need to understand the culture, need to understand what is done here, and they have to be able to give everything—their soul—for this team.” He went on to explain the challenge of taking the reins of a team and inheriting another manager’s players. “Players have contracts. We are going to be respectful to our duties as a club, and we are going to respect (contracts) until the end, but when they are finished, it’ll open spaces for us to perhaps build a better team.” Popovic seemed to confirm that he intended to be with the Fury long-term, as he hoped to implement his philosophy with a team stocked with players who have bought into the culture: “I think in one, two years, when this all clean, we will have space and perhaps money to bring the best (players). And (de Guzman) will create a bigger structure in this idea.”
As noted, these statements were made in May, and there is no indication that Porter’s release is related to this “cleaning”. For one, Porter was signed by de Guzman. However, his release is indicative that the implementation of their philosophy is continuing as the summer transfer window opens, and with it the hope that the Fury will be bringing in new players in the short-term that will be a better fit for de Guzman and Popovic’s project.