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MATCH PREVIEW: OTTAWA FURY FC @ TAMPA BAY ROWDIES

By Ottawa Fury FC, 06/28/19, 10:00AM EDT

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MATCH DAY INFO
Ottawa Fury FC @ Tampa Bay Rowdies
Kickoff: Saturday, June 29 – 8:00 p.m. – Al Lang Stadium, St. Petersburg, FL

THE MATCHUP

With a comeback win in its mid-week game, Ottawa Fury FC pushed its unbeaten run to 10 consecutive matches, and will look to keep the streak alive as it travels to St. Petersburg on Saturday to face the Eastern Conference co-leader Tampa Bay Rowdies (KO 8 p.m., OttawaFuryFC.com).

STORYLINES

  • Fury FC faces the Eastern Conference co-leaders Tampa Bay Rowdies (9-1-6) Saturday. This is the first matchup between the two clubs this year, but Fury FC and the Rowdies are familiar with each other, having faced each other 14 times before in a fairly even affair (3W-7D-4L).
    • Last season’s and most recent match between the two saw Fury FC come up on top with a 2-0 victory. Former Fury FC Tony Taylor and current member Nana Attakora were the goal scorers on the day. The Rowdies had claimed a 5-0 win at home in Week 4 of the 2018 campaign.
  • Fury FC extended its record breaking form taking its unbeaten string to 10 games, 2 off its best ever mark of 12 that was set in 2015.
    • Ottawa will face a Tampa Bay side that had opened the 2019 season on a 13-game unbeaten run of their own, the longest streak in the league this season.
  • Having scored his third and fourth goals of the season in the mid-week match, team captain Carl Haworth has needed only 15 matches to surpass his goal scoring record of last season (then a forward, 3 goals in 30 matches).
  • Ottawa is establishing itself as a character-filled, resilient team who can comeback in critical games (OTTvCLT 4-1, PITvOTT 2-2, NSHvOTT 3-3, OTTvCHS 3-2) thanks to sound defending and firing attack.
    • Ottawa has the third lowest number of goals conceded in the Conference with 16 (leaders at 9), an average of 1.1 only per game, and the fourth best goal differential.
    • Mour Samb scored his 7th goal of the season on Wednesday, pushing him up to the 15th rank in USL Championship.    
    • Fury FC has 7 different scorers in the books and is sitting in 11th place for number of goals scored as a team in the league, 4th in the Eastern Conference behind Nashville, New York and North Carolina, all clubs Ottawa has contended against. Ottawa’s best goal scoring total was of 42 established in 2017, the club’s first season in USL Championship.
  • Fun Fact: On Saturday night, while Ottawa is facing off against Tampa Bay, Canada’s Men’s National Team will be taking on Fury FC’s Christiano François’ Haiti in the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup quarter finals.

SCOUTING THE TAMPA BAY ROWDIES

Tampa Bay’s struggles in 2018 resulted in a coaching change midway through the campaign and after being appointed as the club’s new Head Coach, former Rowdies center back Neill Collins will lead the side into his first full season in charge. The offseason brought more change, with Major League Baseball’s Tampa Bay Rays acquiring the club from local businessman Bill Edwards to become the latest major league ownership group to purchase a USL Championship club. Former England international Joe Cole announced his retirement, setting off another roster overhaul for the side that has brought in 16 new players in search of a bounce-back season at Al Lang Stadium.

Among the new faces in Tampa Bay are goalkeeper John McCarthy, who claimed the Championship’s Rookie and Goalkeeper of the Year awards in 2014 before spending the past four seasons with the Philadelphia Union. Also joining the club are attacking midfielders Antoine Hoppenot (Reno 1868 FC), Zach Steinberger (Indy Eleven) and Andrew Tinari (New York Red Bulls II), who proved among the best chance creators in the league last season, and forward Brandon Allen (Nashville SC). With Leo Fernandes, Sebastian Guenzatti and Kwadwo Poku returning to the side, the Rowdies on paper look to be contenders again, but there won’t be anything taken for granted this time around. (via USL Championship)

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

Head Coach Nikola Popovic

"I think we have to maintain our consistency. We cannot fight for something in this league if we are not consistent. Now the big challenge is to come out again after only two days’ rest and be able to perform at a very high level, because everybody knows that Tampa is one of the top teams of this league and especially when playing on their field. It's a very big challenge."

" We are not going to change anything and we are going to be faithful when it comes to our beliefs. Tampa is a very powerful team, a team that scores a lot of goals and concedes few at home. It is a team that is very aggressive and very dangerous when playing in front of their fans. However, if we are able to maintain our consistency, then we can go out there and have a good performance."

Defender Jérémy Gagnon-Laparé

"Honestly, I think it is going to be a really tight game and both teams will be trying to get a feel for each other for the first part of the game. I think for sure they are going to come out strong because they are playing at home. They are going to want to beat us because we've got all these games unbeaten so far, so every team playing us right now have that little extra motivation to try to end that streak that we got going. I expect a strong team, they are good offensively and defensively when you look at their record. They haven't conceded many goals and they scored a lot, so they are just a good team all around, but I think we are the same, so I am expecting a good match up.”

HOW TO WATCH
LIVE STREAM:  OttawaFuryFC.com
TWITTER: Follow @OTTAWAFURYFC
for LIVE updates #TBRvOTT #ForTheFury