Fury FC are coming off a big 1–0 win on Wednesday night in the first leg of their Canadian Championship series vs. FC Edmonton. Ottawa ‘keeper Callum Irving came up with some critical stops before Ryan Williams, in the 90th minute, scored his second goal in two games to put Fury FC ahead. They’ll head to Edmonton next Wednesday to try to finish off the Eddies in their home-and-away series, potentially earning a date with Toronto FC in the semi-finals of the Canadian Championship.
Back to USL league action: Ottawa met Tampa down in the Sunshine State back on April 8th. While Tampa Bay dominated possession, Fury FC were barely edged on shots (11–10) with the only difference in the game being a 47th minute goal by Tampa Bay’s all-time leading goal scorer Georgi Hristov.
Said Fury FC Head Coach Paul Dalglish after that game, “We were the much more dangerous team in terms of chances created. We have a lot of positives to build on. For us to put a performance like that, I have to give our guys credit. If we keep working like this, we will win a lot of games this season.”
The Tampa Bay Rowdies are coming off a 1–0 home win last week against the Richmond Kickers and sit atop the USL Eastern Conference, tied with the Charleston Battery. Ottawa gave up a late goal on April 29th against the Battery to settle for a tie, but have shown that they can hang with the top teams in the league.
KEY TO THE GAME: DEFENCE
While Tampa Bay has a lot of dangerous options up front, they also have a strong defence to close out games. Seven games into this season, they’ve yet to be shutout, but have shut out their opponents four times. Ottawa’s defence, despite suffering the occasional breakdown, has shut out their opponents in three of their last four games. In two home games at TD Place, Irving hasn’t given up a goal.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Deshorn Brown (Tampa Bay): Deshorn scored the winning goal for the Rowdies last week, in spectacular fashion. The former MLS forward is an important part of Tampa Bay’s attack who will likely see action for most of the game.
Ryan Williams (Ottawa): Williams has scored in each of the last two outings, one by a fantastic free kick, and another by cleaning up a teammate’s rebound. He was a constant threat in the game on Wednesday night versus FC Edmonton, looking confident and creating several opportunities. The ball seems to stick to his foot right now.
Ottawa Fury FC kickoff against the Tampa Bay Rowdies is Saturday at 2pm. Tickets cost $10–30 and are available online or at the TD Place Box Office.