PREVIEW | Fury FC Visits The Rowdies On Strong Road Form

Ottawa has won its last six matches on the road entering the contest with Tampa Bay
Tampa Bay Rowdies Staff | Oct 9, 2015

The Tampa Bay Rowdies are even on points with FC Edmonton and the Fort Lauderdale Strikers for fourth place in the NASL Combined Standings, but trail both on goal differential. Fort Lauderdale is plus-six(and has a game in hand), Edmonton is even and Tampa Bay is minus-three. Fort Lauderdale visits Minnesota United on Saturday night, while FC Edmonton visits the New York Cosmos on Sunday afternoon.

Tampa Bay faces a tough test against Ottawa, but it’s a test the Rowdies have passed already this year. The Rowdies are the only team in the NASL that Fury FC hasn’t defeated in 2015. The teams drew, 0-0, on May 9 and, 2-2, on August 29, with both previous meetings being played at TD Place in Ottawa.

Tampa Bay will be a little shorthanded for this match, with one player suspended and two away on international duty. Left back Ben Sweat will sit this match out after earning two yellow cards and the subsequent red card in the first half of last weekend’s 1-0 loss to Minnesota United. Sweat is eligible to return to action next weekend. Forward Darwin Espinal is away with the Honduras Under-23 team at the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Championship. Espinal and Honduras have reached the semifinal round and play against the United States on Saturday. Midfielder Richard Menjivar is with the El Salvador national team for friendlies against Haiti in Houston on Friday and against Guatemala in Los Angeles on Tuesday.

The Rowdies signed defender Willie Hunt on Tuesday for the remainder of the NASL Fall Season, giving head coach Stuart Campbell additional depth on the back line. Hunt played in 2014 with the Rowdies, making 12 appearances split between the right back and center back spots.

Ottawa has been the class of the NASL Fall Season thus far and clinched a berth in The Championship on Sunday by virtue of a 2-0 win over FC Edmonton.

After conceding just two goals in the month of September, Ottawa goalkeeper Romuald Peiser was named NASL Player of the Month on Tuesday. He kept a clean sheet against the Rowdies in May, but Tampa Bay scored two goals on Peiser on August 29. He’s kept 13 clean sheets in 2015 and has a goals against average of just 0.77.

Offensively, Ottawa is led by forward Tom Heienmann’s seven goals. Paulo Jr. and Oliver scored Fury FC’s goals against the Rowdies on August 29.

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