Tampa Bay Rowdies vs. Minnesota Stars FC
tbt* Night with the Rowdies
Saturday, June 30 at 7:30 p.m. ET
Al Lang Stadium, St. Petersburg, Florida
Tickets are still available - call 813-287-1539 or click here. The box office at the stadium opens at 4:30 p.m. on gameday.
The Rowdies Fan Zone and Bayshore Beer Garden both open at 5:30 p.m.
The match can be seen live online at www.RowdiesSoccer.com - Play-by-Play: Darek Sharp, Color: Winston DuBose
Tampa Bay: 5-3-5, 18 points
Minnesota: 5-5-2, 20 points
The Rowdies rallied for a 2-1 victory over the Stars on June 16 at NSC Stadium. Midfielder Keith Savage scored from 20 yards out in the 87th minute as Tampa Bay came back from an early 1-0 deficit to hand Minnesota its first loss at home this season. Rowdies forward Tsuyoshi Yoshitake had a goal and an assist in the match, earning NASL Offensive Player of the Week honors.
Since the Rowdies return in 2010, Tampa Bay leads the regular season series, 4-3-3 (W-T-L). Tampa Bay leads the series in 2012 with one win and one tie. Tampa Bay went undefeated against the Stars in the 2011 regular season with two wins and two ties. Minnesota captured the lone postseason meeting with a 1-0 victory in the 2011 NASL quarterfinals.
The Rowdies have developed a knack for the dramatic in the last few weeks. Tampa Bay has come from behind in each of its last two victories, including two goals in the final minutes of last week’s 3-2 win over San Antonio. Luke Mulholland scored on a spectacular free kick in the 88th minute and Tsuyoshi Yoshitake added the game-winner in injury time, his second goal of the game.
Rowdies forward Tsuyoshi Yoshitake was named the NASL Offensive Player of the Week for the second consecutive week on Monday. The honor marks the fifth time a Tampa Bay player has been honored this season, the most for any team in the league in 2012.
Yoshitake scored the game-winning goal on the last play of the match as part of a two-goal performance as Tampa Bay rallied for a 3-2 victory over then-first place San Antonio last Saturday night at Al Lang Stadium. The Rowdies scored twice in the final minutes of the match to snap the Scorpions' nine-game unbeaten streak. Yoshitake completed the comeback in second half injury time, scoring his second goal of the game after midfielder Luke Mulholland had tied the match on a free kick in the 88th minute. Yoshitake also scored on a beautiful header in the 39th minute.
The win snapped the Scorpions’ nine-game unbeaten streak. Tampa Bay handed San Antonio its first loss on the road this season in six matches, and the Rowdies scored three times against a Scorpions squad that had posted three consecutive shutouts entering the match. In fact, current San Antonio goalkeeper and former Tampa Bay netminder Daryl Sattler had allowed just three goals the entire season in more than 700 minutes of action heading into the match before allowing three to the Rowdies.
The Stars snapped a two-game winless streak with a 2-1 win against the Fort Lauderdale Strikers last Saturday night at home. Minnesota sits in third place in the NASL standings with 20 points, just three points behind league leaders Puerto Rico.
Forward Amani Walker leads the Stars with three goals and three assists so far this season. Goalkeeper Matt VanOekel ranks fifth in the NASL with a 1.45 goals against average.
Rowdies Head Coach Ricky Hill
“Minnesota is a very tough side to play against. They are very organized and a quality side. We’ve had close games against them this season and even last year, and I envision another tight match on Saturday. We’re hoping to keep the momentum going. It’s great to have victories as opposed to draws and losses. We know we have another important challenge this Saturday night and we want to go out there and produce the best football that we can."
Tampa Bay wraps up its homestand on Wednesday, July 4 with Light Up the Bay 7.4, presented by Budweiser, the annual showdown with the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers at 6:30 p.m. at Al Lang Stadium.