By: Caleb Hilliard
Memphis look to regain confidence after a controversial Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup loss to Orlando City SC.
One positive that comes from being knocked out of the Open Cup is the 901 FC can place their sole focus on the USL Championship.
The next match will be one of the more difficult matches of the entire season. The Ottawa Fury are well-rounded offensively and undefeated in their last seven matches (4W, 3D).
What to watch for: Ottawa Fury
The Fury are a direct team and possess the ability to score over two goals in any given match.
After a few early season losses, Ottawa have impressed in recent weeks and now sit 7th in the Eastern Conference Standings.
Head Coach, Nikola Popovic made crucial tactical changes after falling 0-3 at home to Nashville SC in the third match of the season. The team hit another set back with a 0-1 loss at Louisville City FC but went on their best run of the season over the next four matches.
The Fury knocked off Atlanta United II 2-0, forced a 1-1 draw with New York Red Bulls II, edged North Carolina FC 2-1 and dismantled Bethlehem Steele 3-0.
The team played arguably their worst match of the season following the Bethlehem win with a 1-1 draw at Hartford Athletic.
In their last two matches leading up to the contest with Memphis, Ottawa claimed a 4-1 victory at home against the Charlotte Independence and drew 2-2 at the Pittsburgh Riverhounds.
Ottawa run a 4-3-3 with the three midfielders staying flat and the two wingers pushing into wide areas. The striker, Mour Samb is arguably to most impactful player on the team.
Samb has had a hand in over half of the Fury’s 19 goals (6 goals 4 assists).
He often to turns the ball onto his stronger left foot and will score from distance if he has space.
Midfield playmaker, Carl Haworth pulls the strings in the center of the park. He has the second most assists on the team (3) and leads the team in key passes (21).
What to watch for: Memphis 901 FC
Memphis continues to improve offensively as the season progresses.
Even though they hit a major setback, losing 0-3 at home to Indy Eleven, the offense is becoming more creative in the final third.
In the midweek cup match against Orlando, Memphis gave the MLS-side fits at the back with nine chances created.
Wes Charpie’s facilitation on the right flank is effective and the team would benefit by creating space for the fullback multiple times at the beginning and end of each half.
Set pieces are also one of the 901 FC’s more effective ways of scoring. The team wins multiple corners each match, but they need to win more.
Elliot Collier, for the first time this season, scored with a near post header from a corner. He is the team’s best aerial threat and he needs to be utilized more often.
Forward, Lagos Kunga is another player that can unlock the opposition’s back-line. He is most effective in wide areas and cutting into the box. He needs a few goals to gain confidence.
Kunga possesses the potential to be the best 901 FC forward this season.