MATCH DAY INFO
Ottawa Fury FC v Charlotte Independence
Kickoff: Sunday, June 2 – 2:00 p.m. – TD Place Stadium
With a 1-1 draw away from home over the weekend against Hartford Athletic, Fury FC prepares to take on Charlotte Independence at TD Place Stadium this Sunday, June 2 (kickoff 2:00 p.m., OttawaFuryFC.com). Fury FC will look to continue its unbeaten streak and collect more points in a match that will see first responders and flood efforts volunteers celebrated for all the work they do for the Ottawa/Gatineau community.
SCOUTING CHARLOTTE INDEPENDENCE
The departure of two-time USL Championship Most Valuable Player finalist Enzo Martinez to the Colorado Rapids last season had the unfortunate side-effect of seeing the Independence slide out of the playoff positions for the first time since 2015. Now Martinez is back, and the Independence have added new recruits that would seem set to help Charlotte regain its status. The most interesting offseason arrival for Charlotte, though, may be the club’s new Head Coach Jim McGuinness. The Head Coach of the 2012 All-Ireland Gaelic Football championship with Donegal, McGuinness went on to work at legendary Scottish club Celtic FC under both Neil Lennon and Brendan Rodgers, ascending to coach the club’s U-20 team. This is his first head coaching position in professional soccer, but the history of success he brings means he shouldn’t be underestimated.
McGuinness has new additions on the defensive line in the form of Championship veteran Hugh Roberts and up front with former Montreal Impact and Columbus Crew SC striker Dominic Oduro arriving at the club to join Martinez and returning veteran Jorge Herrera. The Independence will also have 2018 MAC Hermann Trophy winner Andrew Gutman on loan from Celtic FC, adding to a backbone that should see the Independence become a more consistent proposition in 2019 (via USL Championship).
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Head Coach Nikola Popovic
“Charlotte is a difficult one. It’s a team who presents a lot of individual players who have a lot of quality like Herrera, Enzo Martinez, Andrew Gutman, Joel Johnson, and Dominic Oduro. All these players are very high quality, a lot of them played in MLS, so if you asked me in the beginning of the season about this team, I would expect them to be top four. However, they are struggling a little bit but we cannot expect an easy game, it is going to be difficult.”
“Looking back on Hartford, we created a lot of situations and normally when you go away and create such an amount of offensive production, you are supposed to win the game. However, we weren’t able to be clean in terms of scoring goals and we expect to be this week. I think if we are able to produce what we normally produce offensively then we can win the game. However, we have to be dangerous in the moments when we have to play faster and we have to detect these moments; and be able at the right moment to go faster, create the chance, and score goals.”
Defender Dakota Barnathan
“We can put our front foot on the game. We can dictate the game, we can dominate areas of the pitch well and then we start from the back and we move it up and we tire other teams out. So by the second half, 60th or 65th minute, you know we're just popping it around and playing our game.”
“I think it's about just maintaining our game, sticking to what our coach says. It has gotten us this far and hopefully continue to pick up three points every time we come out on the field.”
Forward Mour Samb
“We try to do good in every training session and in the game you see we create a lot of chances to score. Some of them we score but some we don’t, but I think this next game we are going to try to put the ball in for every chance we create.”
“I am feeling good. I like the system. I play like a number 10 and I am free in the middle. I can turn, I can score, and I can assist. I really like the system because we have a lot of ball possession. I am a player that likes to possess the ball as I don’t like to run as much. Ball possession is good for us.”