MATCH DAY INFO
Ottawa Fury FC v Nashville SC
Kickoff: Saturday, April 6 – 2:00 p.m. – TD Place Stadium
Ottawa Fury FC opened its 2019 USL Championship season with its best start in its young franchise history, convincingly grabbing 4 points in two matches on the road thanks to a 1-1 draw in Charleston and a 1-0 win in Birmingham. But after two bye-weeks, the Ottawa club is eager to get back in action this Saturday, April 6, as it hosts powerhouse Nashville SC for the 2019 Home Opener at TD Place (kick-off 2 p.m., OttawaFuryFC.com).
SCOUTING NASHVILLE SC
The inconsistency that plagued Nashville SC in 2018 should be a thing of the past this season. Making its first moves on the path to joining Major League Soccer in 2020, NSC added 2018 Championship Golden Boot Cameron Lancaster and fellow All-League First Team selection Daniel Rios as its first MLS signings, and supplemented those arrivals with defenders Ken Tribbett and Darnell King, goalkeeper Connor Sparrow and forward Kharlton Belmar, all of whom bring excellent Championship pedigree.
Add in a lengthy list of returnees that includes goalkeeper Matt Pickens, defenders Liam Doyle and Justin Davis, midfielders Michael Reed, Matt LaGrassa and Bolu Akinyode and forwards Lebo Moloto, Ropapa Mensah and Tucker Hume, and Nashville is one of the clear favorites to end Louisville’s reign as USL Cup holder. If it does, it will become the first side to claim a championship in the lower divisions before a move to MLS the following year, a feat that predecessors like Seattle Sounders FC, the Portland Timbers, Orlando City SC and FC Cincinnati were unable to accomplish. (via USL Championship)
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Head Coach Nikola Popovic
On being back training at TD Place… “It’s very good to be here, back at the stadium. It has a very good energy and with the way we’re playing, this large space suits us very well.”
On dealing with the break between matches… “It’s a very big challenge. We started very well. We were out in Florida, where we were able to get players to adapt and prepare for the first two games, and had a fantastic start. Then coming back and training indoors for three weeks was a big challenge. However we now have these three days back here (at TD Place) and I think everything is going to be ok.”
On facing Nashville SC… “We can say that Nashville is a bit like Cincinnati last year. A team that next season will be in MLS. They brought some very good players, so it will be a very good assessment for us to see how we can compete against these strong opponents.”
Forward Christiano François
On the preparation for the first home match… “So far it’s been very good. We’ve been preparing for about eight weeks now, and you can see it in the two games we’ve played already – even the exhibition games – so I think we’re ready for Nashville. We’re just going to play our game.”