Tampa Bay Rowdies at Minnesota Stars FC
Thursday, July 12 at 8:30 p.m. ET
NSC Stadium, Blaine, Minnesota
The match can be seen live at www.RowdiesSoccer.com by clicking here.
Tampa Bay: 7-3-5, 24 points
Minnesota: 6-5-4, 23 points
Since the Rowdies returned in 2010, Tampa Bay leads the regular season series, 5-3-3 (W-T-L). Tampa Bay leads the series in 2012 with two wins 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 extended their winning streak to three straight at the time with a 2-0 victory over Minnesota on June 30 at Al Lang Stadium. Forward Mike Ambersley gave the Rowdies a 1-0 lead in the 55th minute when he headed home a pass from midfielder Luke Mulholland. Forward Tsuyoshi Yoshitake added an insurance goal in the 88th minute after a great through ball from midfielder Keith Savage. Rowdies goalkeeper Jeff Attinella made four saves to earn his third shutout this season and the eighth of his career.
Tampa Bay's current four-game winning streak is the longest stretch of consecutive victories for the club since it returned in 2010. During the streak, the Rowdies have come from behind three times to claim wins, rallying at Minnesota (June 16) as well as at home against San Antonio (June 23) and Ft. Lauderdale (July 4).
Rowdies forward Tsuyoshi Yoshitake was named the NASL Player of the Month for June 2012 this past Monday. Yoshitake scored four goals and added one assist in his three games played in the month of June, helping the Rowdies to victories in all three matches.
The award marks the first monthly honor for a Rowdies player this season. Last season, two Tampa Bay players, forwards Mike Ambersley and Aaron King, captured the NASL Player of the Month award, with Ambersley winning in August 2011 and King earning the honor in July 2011. The Rowdies have already claimed six weekly NASL awards this season, tops in the league.
Rowdies against the Stars
In seven regular season meetings against the Stars, goalkeeper Jeff Attinella has posted four shutouts, including two this season. He has allowed just three total goals in those seven matches. Yoshitake has scored two goals against the Stars this season.
Forward Tsuyoshi Yoshitake has five goals in his last four matches, scoring in all four, and leads the Rowdies in both points (14) and goals (6) this season. His six goals are tied for fourth in the league. Forward Daniel Antoniuk stands tied for sixth in the NASL with five goals. Midfielder Keith Savage is tied for third in the NASL with four assists in 2012.
Minnesota is currently fourth in the NASL standings with 23 points, just one point behind the Rowdies.
The Stars are in the midst of a four-match homestand that has included a 4-0 victory over Puerto Rico on July 4 and a 2-0 loss to Atlanta last Saturday night.
Amani Walker and Simone Bracalello are tied for the team lead with four goals each.
Rowdies Head Coach Ricky Hill
“We know it is going to be a difficult match against Minnesota. We’ve played them three times this year and we’ve managed to win two and draw one, but at the same time, they’ve always been tough and close games and I don’t anticipate Thursday being any different. We are coming off a long break since our last match on July 4. Sometimes a break can be good and sometimes a break can go against you. We have a nice momentum going and I’m hoping that we can continue that again Thursday night.”
Tampa Bay concludes its road trip this Sunday, June 15 at FC Edmonton at 4:00 p.m. ET.