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Previewing the competition for 2015: Ottawa Fury FC

Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images

The Ottawa Fury began life in the North American Soccer League at the start of the 2014 season, and it's hard to argue that the club was anything less than a smash hit off the pitch. The Canadian side drew an average crowd of about 4,500 fans despite playing the spring season in a stadium which held only 3,000, and will have the luxury of kicking off the 2015 campaign in TD Place Stadium, where they were able to meet the demand of the fanbase during the fall season.

On the pitch, however, things weren't quite as rosy, as the club finished 8th in the combined NASL standings (tied with Indy Eleven, who finished 9th due to GD). They also fell to FC Edmonton at the first hurdle of the Canadian Championship, and only once managed to win back to back matches during their inaugural campaign.

The poor showings on the pitch have resulted in a shakeup in the squad, though head coach Marc Dos Santos will return for his second season in charge. While looking to add competition for starting paces to nearly every area of the roster, the club have also made a point of keeping a very Canadian feel to the group, especially following the Julian De Guzman signing this past week.

Notable additions: Rafael Alves (FTL Strikers), Julian De Guzman (Skoda Xanthi), Colin Falvey (Charleston Battery),  Patryk Misik (Slask Wroclaw),  Paulo Jr. (Náutico), Romuald Peiser (Académica), Brandon Poltronieri (ATL Silverbacks), Mike Randolph (ATL Silverbacks), Ryan Richter (Toronto FC), Andrew Wiedeman (Toronto FC)

Key departures: Kenny Caceros, Vini Dantas (Pittsburgh Riverhounds), Devala Gorrick (Colorado Springs Swithbacks), Omar Jarun (Bharat FC), Pierre-Rudolph Mayard, Ramon Soria (Ceje)

2015 outlook: It's tough to know what to expect out of Ottawa, as they often played better than their results would indicate during the 2014 season. They made notable upgrades in goal and to their defensive unit during the offseason, while keeping most of the core components of the midfield and attack in place. It's hard to think that spending the 2014 campaign and a full preseason together won't make a significant impact on this squad, but I'm still not sure they have the sort of overall talent required to push for a playoff place yet. My gut tells me to expect a better record than last season, but a finish in the bottom half of the NASL table still seems likely.