Tampa Bay Rowdies vs. Carolina RailHawks
Presented by Mainsail Suites Hotel & Conference Center
Wednesday, September 19 at 7:30 p.m. ET
Al Lang Stadium, St. Petersburg, Florida
The match can be seen live online here.
Play-by-Play: Darek Sharp, Color: Winston DuBose
Tomorrow night's match will also be Retro Night with the Rowdies! Fans are encouraged to wear retro Rowdies apparel and tickets will be available at the 1975 inaugural Rowdies price of $7.50 in General Admission or Lower Goal Reserved seating.
To receive this 1975 inaugural Rowdies price, tickets must be purchased in advance through the front office by 12 Noon on Wednesday! Contact the Rowdies Front Office at (813) 287-1539 to lock in your discounted seats. Regular priced tickets are available at the Al Lang Stadium box office beginning at 4:30 p.m. tomorrow or you can purchase them online by clicking here.
Gates to the stadium open one hour prior to kickoff at 6:30 p.m.
Tampa Bay: 12-7-7, 43 points, 2nd place
Carolina: 10-8-8, 38 points, 4th place
The Rowdies host the Carolina RailHawks in the first game of this home-and-home series between both teams. The game at Al Lang Stadium in Downtown St. Petersburg is Tampa Bay's last home game of the 2012 Regular Season.
Tampa Bay defeated FC Edmonton 3-0 last Sunday at Clarke Stadium. Forward Daniel Antoniuk opened the scoring in the 21st minute with a great header, while forward Mike Ambersley scored the second goal in the 43rd minute. Midfielder/forward Luke Mulholland closed the 3-0 victory with a goal in the 51st minute, as the Rowdies extended their unbeaten streak to four games.
Entering the game, the Rowdies are currently in second place and have already clinched home-field advantage in a possible quarterfinal matchup. With only two games remaining in the season, this is a crucial matchup as the Rowdies need only one more point of the possible six remaining to clinch a First-Round Bye that would place them directly in the semifinal round.
Tampa Bay owns a 1-2-5 mark (W-T-L) against Carolina since its return in 2010. The two teams played to a tie in both meetings this season. Tampa Bay’s only win in the series came in 2010, a 2-1 victory at Carolina on May 14.
The Rowdies scored twice in the final minutes to rally from a 3-1 deficit and earn a 3-3 tie at WakeMed Soccer Park on August 4th. Forward Luke Mulholland's blast in the 86th minute cut Carolina's lead to 3-2 before defender Takuya Yamada notched the tying goal in second half stoppage time to complete Tampa Bay's comeback.
Forward Daniel Antoniuk opened the scoring, once again picking up a goal against his ex-teammates. With the goal and the assist on Sunday, he now has a team-high seven goals, and tied for third in the team with four assists. His 18 points are second to forward Mike Ambersley, who scored the second goal of the night against Edmonton. Ambersley is now tied for second in the team with six goals on the season. With a team-high eight assists, which is tied for most in the NASL, he has 20 points this season.
Midfielder/forward Luke Mulholland closed the scoring against Edmonton, as he is now fourth in the team with five goals. His assist on Antoniuk’s goal is his fourth of the season and he now tied for fourth in the team with 14 points.
Goalkeeper Jeff Attinella is tied for the league lead with 108 saves, and is third in the NASL with a goals against average of 1.12. The Rowdies have scored 36 goals this season, fourth most in the NASL. Tampa Bay has given up 29 goals, tied for second-fewest in the NASL.
The RailHawks are currently in 4th place in the standings with 38 points, posting an overall record of 10-8-8 (W-T-L). Carolina’s four road victories is the third most in the NASL, and they are currently 4-3-6 on the road. The RailHawks defeated San Antonio last Sunday and came away with a 2-1 victory, keeping their aspirations to clinch a First-Round Bye in the 2012 Playoffs.
Forward Nick Zimmerman is second in the league with 15 goals for the season. RailHawks Midfielder Mike Palacio is tied for third in league with six assists on the season.
Goalkeeper Akira Fitzgerald is fifth in the league with a goals a goals against average of 1.25. Carolina has scored 43 goals this season, second-most in the league behind San Antonio. The RailHawks have allowed allowed 45 goals, which is the most goals given up by any team in the NASL.
Rowdies Head Coach Ricky Hill
"It is an important game for us becuase we want to leave Al Lang Stadium on a high note," said Hill. "We are looking forward to hosting a playoff game, whether that be a quarterfinal or semifinal matchup. We are coming off a tough game on Sunday and a long flight back from Edmonton, however we trained hard this morning in preparation to Wednesday's match against Carolina."
"Carolina is coming off some great results," commented Hill. "Thier victories against Puerto Rico and San Antonio prove how good of a team they have been and we know it will be a tough match against them."
The Rowdies travel to play Carolina in their last regular season game on Saturday, September 22 at 7:30 p.m at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, NC.