Rowdies Rush 2012 Preseason Tour
Preseason match: Tampa Bay Rowdies vs. Ft. Lauderdale Strikers
Date: Saturday, March 31, 2012
Kickoff: 7:00 p.m.
Location: FYSA Auburndale Complex (2828 Lake Myrtle Park Road, Auburndale, FL 33823)
Admission is free
The Rowdies will have 18 signed players available for Saturday’s match, as well as three trialists.
Last Time Out
The Rowdies dominated Saint Leo University in a 4-0 win on Wednesday night at the Countryside Sportsplex in a match presented by United World Soccer. Tampa Bay has not allowed a goal during an impressive run through its exhibition schedule, posting a 5-0-0 record and outscoring its opponents 11-0.
Tampa Bay’s first goal came in the 25th minute after forward Mike Ambersley fed a great ball from the right side to an open Tsuyoshi Yoshitake in front of the net. Yoshitake one-timed it from inside the six-yard box and into the net for his first goal of the preseason and a 1-0 Rowdies lead.
The second goal of the match came after Yamada converted a penalty shot in the 83rd minute, after a Saint Leo defender was called for a hand ball. Just a minute later, Yoshitake placed a perfect through ball to second half substitute Matt Clare and the forward powered a shot from the left side of the 18-yard box past the reach of Jones for a 3-0 margin. In the following minute, Clare placed a perfect feed to Mulholland, who tapped it in from inside the six-yard box for the team’s fourth goal of the night and his team-leading third goal of the preseason.
Scouting the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers
The Strikers finished fourth in the 2011 regular season with a record of 9-11-8, qualifying for the NASL Playoffs. Ft. Lauderdale reached the NASL Championship Series, where it lost to league champions Minnesota by an aggregate score of 3-1. The Strikers are coached by Daryl Shore, who led the team to their first playoff berth since the team's inaugural season. Shore joined the franchise in July of 2010 after spending 10 years as an assistant coach for the Chicago Fire of MLS.
Forward Andy Herron joined the Strikers for the 2012 season and at 34 years of age, will bring a wealth of experience to a young Strikers team. Throughout his career Herron has appeared in major international tournaments with the Costa Rican national team, including the 2004 Copa America and the 2009 CONCACAF Gold Cup. Another player to watch will be midfielder Walter Restrepo, who joined the Strikers midway through the 2011 NASL season. Restrepo made appearances in 12 matches for the Strikers in 2011, scoring two goals and contributing with one assist. Defender Toni Ståhl returns for his second season with the Strikers. In 2011, he appeared 27 times for Ft. Lauderdale, recorded a total of 2,273 minutes, and was part of the NASL Best XI team.
The Rowdies closed the 2011 regular season against the Strikers with a 2-0 victory on Saturday, September 24, 2011 at Al Lang Stadium. The goals were scored by Keith Savage and Matt Clare, both coming in the second half.
Rowdies Head Coach Ricky Hill
“We’re looking forward to tomorrow’s game against the Strikers. They play with an attacking style and it will be a good test for us to see where we stand at this moment in time in the preseason. Once again, I give credit to the players. So far we have managed to maintain a clean sheet in all the games. I don’t think there is anything such as a friendly when we play the local derby, so it is important we approach it in the right manner, but we are also sensible that we don’t want anyone injured or sent off. Hopefully it gives us an extra important game of fitness under the player’s belts in regards to next Saturday’s game against Puerto Rico.”
The Rowdies open the 2012 regular season on the road at Puerto Rico on Saturday, April 7 before hosting FC Edmonton in the home opener on Saturday, April 14 at 7:30 p.m. at Al Lang Stadium in downtown St. Petersburg. For ticket information for the 2012 season, call 813-287-1539.