PREVIEW | Strikers Aim To Continue Strong Run Of Form Against Fury FC

Unbeaten in six games, Fort Lauderdale hosts Ottawa in a key clash
Ottawa Fury FC Staff | Sep 18, 2015

Saturday will mark the 59th consecutive day that Fury FC have sat atop the Fall Season Standings. Capturing the Fall Season title not only secures the winner a spot in the postseason, but a home match in The Championship, the NASL’s four-team postseason tournament. In order to remain on their perch for the remaining 43 days of the regular season, Ottawa will need results from this three-match, eight-day road trip starting Saturday night in Fort Lauderdale.

“We know how important this game is. Both teams are fighting for a postseason position and will definitely leave everything out on the field,” head coach Marc Dos Santos said. “Our mentality will have to be strong, and I know we have the experience and maturity needed to deal with games like these one.”

Heading into the home stretch of the NASL regular season, the standings couldn’t be tighter. All 11 clubs remain in contention for the postseason and Ottawa’s next two opponents (Fort Lauderdale and New York) currently occupy a spot that would see them through to The Championship if the postseason began today.

In the wake of last Saturday’s edge-of-your-seat scoreless draw at TD Place, both coaches expressed pleasure with the opportunities their sides created, but asked for more focus and composure defensively and in midfield. Fury FC captain Richie Ryan echoed this sentiment.

“It’s not like us to give up that many chances in a match and that will be a point of focus for us going into Fort Lauderdale. We have to be far better in possession – we were sloppy at times and it was the first time in the Fall Season that we haven’t taken our chances, and taking just one of those chances would have won us the game and a big three points.”

In 12 Fall Season matches, Fury FC have only been shut out twice – both scoreless draws (New York and Fort Lauderdale). Similarly, the Strikers have been blanked on two occasions in their Fall campaign – a shutout loss to the Cosmos and in last Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Fury FC.

Fort Lauderdale’s unbeaten streak has hit a half dozen thanks to their 2-0 victory over Jacksonville on Wednesday night at Lockhart Stadium. Perhaps an advantage for Fury FC with this Saturday’s match marking the Strikers’ third match in eight days. With their midweek victory, Fort Lauderdale now finds itself in the fourth and final postseason position and will be a motivated bunch to maintain the game over in-state rivals Tampa Bay and narrow the gap with Fury FC.

Dos Santos will need all his players at their best for arguably their toughest tests of the season. Drew Beckie, Ugur Albayrak, and Julian De Guzman have all made the trip and will return to the lineup during the road trip to give the team some much needed depth.

Fury FC have handled themselves well away from the friendly confines of TD Place, with a 3W-4D-2L overall ecord away from home and riding a six-match road unbeaten streak. Saturday’s match in South Florida has the makings to be one of the best as the  NASL’s best defense faces one of the most potent offenses in the league in recent weeks.

Expect Ottawa’s core leadership group to play a big role in this road trip, starting Saturday night in Fort Lauderdale. 

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