Tampa Bay Rowdies vs. Ft. Lauderdale Strikers
Presented by Budweiser
Following the match, fans are invited to watch the City of St. Petersburg's fireworks from the field at Al Lang Stadium.
Wednesday, July 4 at 6:30 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 3:30 p.m. on gameday.
The Rowdies Fan Zone and Bayshore Beer Garden both open at 4:30 p.m.
The match can be seen live online at www.RowdiesSoccer.com - Play-by-Play: Darek Sharp, Color: Winston DuBose
Tampa Bay: 6-3-5, 21 points
Ft. Lauderdale: 5-4-5, 19 points
Win Streak Continues
Tampa Bay's current three-game winning streak is its longest this season and the longest stretch of consecutive victories for the club since it posted three straight wins from May 22-29, 2010.
The teams have split the first two matchups this season, with Tampa Bay winning 3-1 at home on April 28 and the Strikers posting a 3-1 victory at home on June 2. Tampa Bay is undefeated in nine of the 10 matches between the teams since its return in 2010. The Rowdies are undefeated at home against Ft. Lauderdale during that span with a 4-1-0 (W-T-L) mark.
The Tampa Bay Rowdies dropped a 3-1 loss to the Strikers on June 2 at Lockhart Stadium. The loss ended a nine-game unbeaten streak for Tampa Bay in the series since its return in 2010 and also snapped a string of four consecutive victories for the Rowdies over the Strikers.
Tampa Bay Rowdies goalkeeper Jeff Attinella was named the North American Soccer League Defensive Player of the Week on Monday. Attinella made four saves in Tampa Bay’s 2-0 victory over Minnesota on Saturday night at Al Lang Stadium for his third shutout this season and the eighth of his career. It marks the second time this season, and the fourth time in his career, that Attinella has received the award. Attinella captured the honor earlier this season following Tampa Bay’s 3-1 victory over Ft. Lauderdale on April 28. The honor also marks the sixth time a Tampa Bay player has been honored this season with a weekly NASL offensive or defensive award, the most for any team in the league in 2012.
Forward Mike Ambersley has totaled 11 points on four goals and three assists in his last six matches against the Strikers.
Forward Tsuyoshi Yoshitake has four goals in his last three matches and leads the Rowdies in both points (12) and goals (5) this season.
Midfielder Keith Savage leads the team with four assists and has points in three straight games with one goal and two assists.
Ambersley ranks third on the club with three goals in 2012, with all three being game-winners against Ft. Lauderdale (4/28), at Atlanta (5/19) and versus Minnesota (6/30).
Scouting Ft. Lauderdale
Ft. Lauderdale is currently fifth place in the league with 19 points, two points behind the Rowdies. In their last outing, Ft. Lauderdale defeated Carolina, 2-1, Saturday night at Lockhart Stadium.
Strikers midfielder Walter Restrepo leads the team with five assists, tied for most in the NASL. Forward Mark Anderson is tied for second in the league with a team-leading seven goals.
Rowdies Head Coach Ricky Hill
On the annual Light Up the Bay 7.4 showdown
"It is one of the top games of the season, if not the top game of the season, especially for both sets of fans. We know it is going to be very difficult. It's a great occasion for all of America and I'm part of that group now and it's a fun time with lovely spirit going around to celebrate Independence Day. The players really look forward to it; obviously the club makes a great effort to put on a really good show for the fans and the supporters that come through the gate. Hopefully we can play our part by putting a good performance on the pitch."
Tampa Bay plays two consecutive matches on the road, beginning on Thursday, July 12 at Minnesota with an 8:30 p.m. ET match.