Match Preview: Rowdies at Carolina
Tampa Bay Rowdies at Carolina RailHawks
Saturday, September 22 at 7:00 p.m. ET
WakeMed Soccer Park, Cary, NC
The match can be seen live online here.
Tampa Bay: 12-8-7, 44 points, 2nd place
Carolina: 10-9-8, 39 points, 4th place
The Rowdies travel to play the Carolina RailHawks in the second game of this home-and-home series between both teams. The game at WakeMed Soccer Park is Tampa Bay's last game of the 2012 Regular Season.
On Wednesday, September 19, Tampa Bay earned the one point that was needed to clinch a First-Round Bye to the semifinals after drawing 1-1 at home against Carolina. The Rowdies still can finish in first place, if Tampa Bay wins at Carolina on Saturday and San Antonio loses on Sunday against Minnesota.
Tampa Bay owns a 1-3-5 mark (W-T-L) against Carolina since its return in 2010. The two teams played to a tie in all three meetings this season. Tampa Bay’s only win in the series came in 2010, a 2-1 victory at Carolina on May 14.
The Tampa Bay Rowdies played to a 1-1 draw against Carolina on Saturday night at Al Lang Stadium in Downtown St. Petersburg. With the tie, the Rowdies secured a spot in the NASL Semifinals.
The Rowdies went up 1-0 in the 13th minute, when Andres Arango headed a perfect ball into the top right corner of the net after a perfect corner kick by midfielder Luke Mulholland. The RailHawks equalized in the 61st minute after midfielder Ty Shipalane scored his fifth goal of the season. His shot took a deflection off of defender Frankie Sanfilippo and went past Rowdies goalkeeper Jeff Attinella.
Arango scored his first goal of the year on Wednesday, while Mulholland picked up his fifth assist of the season. Mulholland now has four points in the last two games, with one goal and two assists. With five assist, he is now tied for second with midfielder Keith Savage for most on the team. His 15 points place him third on the team in points and is fourth in the team with five goals.
Forward Mike Ambersley leads the team with 20 points including a team-high eight assists, which is tied for most in the NASL. His six goals are tied for second on the team.
Goalkeeper Jeff Attinella leads the league with 115 saves, and is third in the NASL with a goals against average of 1.11. The Rowdies have scored 37 goals this season, fourth most in the NASL. Tampa Bay has given up 30 goals, third-fewest in the NASL.
The RailHawks are currently in 4th place in the standings with 39 points, posting an overall record of 10-9-8 (W-T-L). With the tie against the Rowdies last Wednesday, the RailHawks clinched home-field advantage in their quarterfinal matchup in the 2012 NASL 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 against average of 1.25. Carolina has scored 44 goals this season, second-most in the league behind San Antonio. The RailHawks have allowed allowed 46 goals, which are the most goals given up by any team in the NASL.
Rowdies head coach Ricky Hill
“One of the main objections at the start of the season was to try to finish in first place. We know that going into the match on Saturday we still have a chance at accomplishing that goal and I will make that very clear to the players."
"Even though we need San Antonio to lose on Sunday, we are looking to take the three points in Carolina and put the pressure on the Scorpions. Having said that, I am pleased that we have already booked our ticket into the semifinals and we will be training very hard in the next two weeks to be the best team on the pitch on October 6th and 13th.”
The Rowdies will host the second leg of the NASL Semifinal on Saturday, October 13 at Al Lang Stadium at 7:30 p.m. The first leg of the semifinals will be played the weekend of October 6, with the opponent and location to be determined.