Match Preview | Ottawa Fury FC V Memphis 901 FC
OTTAWA - Unbeaten in almost two months, Ottawa Fury FC will host USL Championship expansion club Memphis 901 FC on Saturday in the first of four Patio Party nights at TD Place (KO 7 p.m., tickets at OttawaFuryFC.com)
This will be Memphis 901 FC's first trip to Ottawa and the first matchup between the clubs.
Fury FC is on an unbeaten streak going back to April 20, sitting in 7th place in the Eastern Conference with 6 wins, 4 draws and 2 losses.
Memphis 901 FC's last win was on May 10 against Hartford Athletic. They are in 15th position in the East with 2 wins, 4 draws and 7 losses.
Fury FC is chasing a franchise record of 12 consecutive unbeaten league matches (excluding Canadian Championship and playoffs) established between May and August 2015. It is now unbeaten in its last 7 matches.
Ottawa's defensive shape has played a big role in this streak. Fury FC has the 3rd best record for goals conceded in the USL Championship with 11.
Fury FC is one game away from tying its record of 8 consecutive games with at least one goal scored. With 4 different players with multiple goals already this season, led by Mour Samb who has 6, Ottawa could break this record and establish a new one as early as next Saturday against Nashville.
Ottawa's Mour Samb's 6 goals currently have him 3rd on the Eastern Conference leader board for goals scored. NYRBII Barlow and Nashville Rios both have 8th and hold the top position.
Ottawa's passing game is turning heads. Midfielder Charlie Ward is leading the USL Championship with 848 passes, more than 50 ahead of his closest opponent (Juan Guzman, New Mexico United, 785). Ward averages 76.2 passes per match and has an overall success rate of 92.7%.
SCOUTING MEMPHIS 901 FC
Memphis 901 FC hasn't made the big splash of a signing that some of its counterparts have, with captain Marc Burch maybe the most recognizable name on the club's roster as it enters its first season in the Championship. What Head Coach Tim Mulqueen does have at his disposal, however, is a side that brings a wealth of experience in the league, which should allow it to turn into a cohesive unit as the year unfolds. On the field, players like former USL Cup-winner Dan Metzger and Caribbean internationals like Ewan Grandison (Jamaica) and Duane Muckette (Trinidad & Tobago) are going to be counted on to bring their qualities to the fire, with Bell also bringing aboard former Battery and Richmond Kickers forward Heviel Cordoves to lead the club's attacking line. It may be a challenge to reach the postseason in the club's first season, but there's enough experience here to make life difficult for opponents across the Eastern Conference (via USL Championship).
WHAT THEY'RE SAYING
Head Coach Nikola Popovic
"I don't believe we'll have one easy game in USL Championship this year. The league is very strong. Every team have good rosters. Just like Memphis. It's a team who's very physical, who plays direct football with lots of crosses so we expect a very difficult game Saturday."
"We are on a good sequence. We have to continue playing attractive football. I think that fans that come (on Saturday) will see a very good match."
"We are going to try to play according to our model. We have to be consistent and play our system for 90 minutes plus injury time. This is our big challenge. Sometimes we lose this consistency. But if we are faithful to our system and model of play, we will have a very good game."
Goalkeeper Callum Irving
"It's still early in the season, (Memphis) is an expansion team, so they are still trying to find their footing. They are looking for any kind of result that will give them the boost they need. We have to be aware that they will come here and want to take points off us. Despite what the table says, everybody's quality in the league so we have to be prepared."
"It's definitely more enjoyable this year than it's been for me in years past. Every year, the guys have been working hard in front of me and putting in the work. But the style of play we have right now and the quality of players, it's definitely something I have to stay focused on because I can get lost in watching us play possession for five minutes straight. It's fun but it's also a bit challenging."
HOW TO WATCH
LIVE STREAM: OttawaFuryFC.com
TWITTER: Follow @OTTAWAFURYFC for LIVE updates #OTTvMEM #ForTheFury
TICKETS: OttawaFuryFC.com - Check out our first Fury FC Patio Party
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