MATCH DAY INFO
Ottawa Fury FC v North Carolina FC
Kickoff: Sunday, May 12 – 2:00 p.m. – TD Place
After putting on a great performance in the mid-week School Day game against table-leading New York Red Bulls II, Ottawa Fury FC is back home this Sunday facing another top 5 opponent in North Carolina FC. With the weather calling for a warm sunny day and Mother’s Day celebrations in full swing, TD Place will be the place to spend the afternoon (kick-off 2:00 p.m., OttawaFuryFC.com).
SCOUTING NORTH CAROLINA FC
North Carolina FC came up short of a place in the USL Cup Playoffs in its inaugural season, with inconsistency proving the biggest issue as the side fell three times in its final five games to miss out on a postseason spot by two points. That resulted in a change on the club’s sideline, and maybe the biggest coaching coup in the league’s history, as former United States Men’s National Team interim Manager Dave Sarachan takes the reins at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park for the 2019 season.
Sarachan has some good returning pieces to work with, including veteran midfielder Austin da Luz, forward Marios Lomis and goalkeeper Alex Tambakis, who regularly produced spectacular saves for the side in his first year at the club. NCFC also made some intriguing additions, with 2014 All-America First Team selection Robbie Kristo returning to the United States after spending the past four years in Europe. The club also picked up Indiana University midfielder Austin Panchot and brought in former Academy product and U.S. U-20 international Manny Perez on loan from Scotland’s Celtic FC. (via USL Championship)
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Head Coach Nikola Popovic
“(North Carolina FC) is another very strong team in our conference. How we’ll prepare? We have to do what we do. Our last performances were very good so we have to keep going and try to bring a strong performance.”
“We have to be very dynamic, very aggressive, and try to create the chances that we have been creating. Now we just have to put the ball inside of the net.”
Midfielder Jérémy Gagnon-Laparé
“I feel very confident about our team in general, not only the back four. I think we’re in a good position now with our seven games played. The team is looking better every week.”
“(Winning at home) is super important. We had a big week. We responded well against New York (on Wednesday) and this weekend again we’ll have to be super focused and alert. We know we’re facing a good team – they have good individuals and they are good as a group – so it’s a massive game for us before we leave TD Place (to play on the road for a while). If we bring good energy and focus, we can take care of business.”