Tampa Bay Rowdies at Ft Lauderdale Strikers
Saturday, September 1 at 7:30 p.m. ET
Lockhart Stadium, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
The match can be seen live online at www.rowdiessoccer.com
Tampa Bay: 10-6-7, 36 points, t2nd place
Ft. Lauderdale: 9-7-8, 34 points, 4th place
Coastal Cup Rivalry
In the last meeting between both teams in the 2012 regular season, there is more than just the playoff’s at stake on Saturday night for the Rowdies and the Strikers. The traditional Coastal Cup rivalry will come to a close after the fourth and final regular season matchup between both clubs and in order to bring the Coastal Cup home, the Rowdies must either, win, tie or lose by two goals or less on Saturday.
Tampa Bay holds an advantage going into the match as they have posted a 2012 series record of 2-0-1 (W-T-L) against the Strikers. The Rowdies have taken both games played at Al Lang Stadium by a score of 3-1, while Ft. Lauderdale posted a 3-1 victory in the only match played at Lockhart Stadium this season. The Rowdies have won the last two Coastal Cups after posting a 3-1-0 record in the 2011 season and a 1-3-0 record in the 2010 season. Tampa Bay played to a scoreless draw last Saturday against Puerto Rico at Al Lang Stadium Puerto Rico and both teams are still tied for second place in the NASL standings.
Tampa Bay leads in the 2012 series, 2-0-1 (W-T-L), with the Rowdies defeating the Strikers at home in both opportunities 3-1 on April 28 and July 4. Ft. Lauderdale’s posted a 3-1 victory at Lockhart Stadium on June 2.
The Tampa Bay Rowdies defeated the Strikers 3-1 on July 4 at Al Lang Stadium. After being down 1-0 early in the first half, forwards Mike Ambersley, Daniel Antoniuk, and former Rowdies forward Tsuyoshi Yoshitake all scored to help Tampa Bay win their fourth straight game at the time.
The Rowdies enter Saturday’s game knowing that if they defeat the Strikers, they will clinch a spot in the playoffs. There is another scenario that would also place the Rowdies in the playoff independent of Saturday’s result and that is if FC Edmonton ties or loses on Sunday against the Atlanta RailHawks. Tampa Bay has had success against the Strikers since the rivalry returned, as the Rowdies are unbeaten in 10 of the 11 meetings against the Strikers since 2010.
Forward Mike Ambersley leads the team with 18 points including a team-high eight assists, which is tied for most in the NASL. His five goals are tied for second on the team.
Goalkeeper Jeff Attinella leads the league with 97 saves, and is fifth in the NASL with a goals against average of 1.22. The Rowdies have scored 29 goals this season, fourth most in the NASL.
Scouting Ft. Lauderdale
The Strikers are fourth in the NASL, two points behind the Rowdies who are tied in second place with the Islanders. The Strikers are coming off a huge 2-1 win last Saturday at Lockhart Stadium against league leader San Antonio. Forward Abe Thompson scored both goals for Ft. Lauderdale, earning him the NASL Offensive Player of the Week award.
Midfielder Mark Anderson leads the team with 11 goals, third in the NASL and he also leads the NASL with 77 shots. Midfielder Walter Restrepo is currently tied for most assists in the NASL with eight on the season.
Goalkeeper Matt Glaesar is second in the NASL with with 89 saves. The Strikers have scored 37 goals this season, second most in the league, but have given up 39 goals, which is the third most allowed in the NASL.
Rowdies Head Coach Ricky Hill
“Going on the road to Ft. Lauderdale this week will be a hard matchup for us. They have been on a very good run at home as they have been outstanding in recent times. We are going in there without any other allusions than it just being a tough game for us. To prepare for the game we’ll be looking at formation first of all and we’ll look at what is best suited against the Strikers.”
“Our record against them has been very good in recent times so we won’t change much. We have the foundation with the back four and Jeff Attinella who were able to maintain a clean sheet last game. We’ll take that into the game and build on it. If we can maintain that clean sheet for a period of the game, I am sure we’ll edge out a couple of chances on their goal and hopefully we’ll be able to convert one of them.”
The Rowdies return to action next Saturday, when they host the Atlanta Silverback on September 8 at 7:30 p.m. ET at Al Lang Stadium in Downtown St. Petersburg.