Match Preview | Ottawa Fury FC at Bethlehem Steel FC
OTTAWA - With four points from two games against the Red Bulls II and North Carolina FC this past week - which could easily have been six - Fury FC is trending in the right direction as it heads out on the road to face Bethlehem Steel FC on Sunday. (kick-off 6:00 p.m., OttawaFuryFC.com).
Fury FC moved up 3 spots in the Week 10 Power Rankings thanks to the four points in two games against top-level competition in New York Red Bulls II (D 1-1) and North Carolina FC (W 2-1) over the week. Meanwhile, Bethlehem Steel FC is coming into Week 11 on a four-game winless streak, having won only once at home this season.
Changes to its preseason format are paying dividend for Fury FC, still on its fastest, most successful start of season in franchise history, having reached 4 wins in only 8 matches this season. It had taken over 11 games in the past to get to the same 4 wins (2018 - 11; 2017 - 11; 2016 - 15; 2015 - 13; 2014 - 16).
Ottawa's leading goal scorer after 8 matches is Kevin Oliveira (3) followed by Mour Samb (2). Oliveira finished last season with a total of 4 goals in 34 matches; he is now on pace to finish the year with 12 goals on the season.
So far in 2019, with 8 matches played, Fury FC has maintained a 1.75 points per game average, up from an average of 1.32 point per game last year.
Fury FC Captain Carl Haworth was named to the USL Championship Team of the Week for Week 10 after putting in two stellar displays as Fury FC claimed four points over the week, recording six key passes, six interceptions and 11 recoveries.
SCOUTING BETHLEHEM STEEL FC
Bethlehem Steel FC not only advanced to the USL Cup Playoffs for a second consecutive season but added its first postseason victory to the club's history book after an enthralling clash against Keystone State rival Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC saw the visitors emerge victorious in a penalty shootout.
Unsurprisingly given his success on the field and in helping turn fresh talent upward to the Philadelphia Union, Head Coach Brendan Burke remains at the helm, and he'll have his on-field general back as well in the form of Irish midfielder James Chambers. New arrivals include former Union Academy standout Ben Ofeimu on a professional contract, and Issa Rayyan, who joins the club as a professional after previously playing as a USL Academy signing before his freshman season at Duke University.
As with previous years, there will be roster turnover for Burke to deal with, but there also may be the chance to see more of young playmaker Brenden Aaronson on loan from the Union after a 2018 season that saw him record five assists in 18 games. Regardless of the team's overall make-up, though, it should be expected that Bethlehem will be in the mix for the postseason again this October. (via USL Championship)
WHAT THEY'RE SAYING
Head Coach Nikola Popovic
"It's going to be a tough match. (Bethlehem Steel) are traditionally a very strong team. It's very difficult to scout (affiliated teams), not knowing what they are going to present on the day of the game. We know it is a very explosive team who has the ability to score a lot of goals. However, sometimes they concede goals too. So we have to try to do what we've been doing, stay consistent and believe in our principles."
"We're on a good run, we are performing in a really good way, so our challenge is to stay consistent and if possible to even get better, we will do it."
"The idea is to be aggressive, not give them the space, and when we have the ball, to be patient, find the spaces and attack!"
Midfielder Wal Fall
"I'm excited to play against Bethlehem because I never lost against Bethlehem so I'm trying to keep this winning streak against them alive with Ottawa Fury FC. We'll see how it goes!"
"We have good confidence. The locker room is pretty happy about the undefeated streak. We try to apply what coach teaches us and we're excited to go to Bethlehem and try to get three points."
HOW TO WATCH
LIVE STREAM: OttawaFuryFC.com
TWITTER: Follow @OTTAWAFURYFC for LIVE updates #BTSvOTT #ForTheFury
VIEWING PARTY: ByTown Boys SC are hosting a viewing party at The Senate Tavern (1156 Bank St), all are welcome
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