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