Tampa Bay Rowdies vs. Minnesota Stars FC
2012 NASL Soccer Bowl Finals - 2nd Leg
Saturday, October 27 at 7:30 p.m. ET
Al Lang Stadium, St. Petersburg, Florida
The match can be seen live online here.
Play-by-Play: Jim Henderson, Color: Winston DuBose
Regular Season Records (W-T-L)
Tampa Bay: 12-9-7, 45 points, 2nd place
Minnesota: 8-11-9, 35 points, 6th place
Tampa Bay looks to come back in the second leg of the 2012 NASL Soccer Bowl Finals against Minnesota and recover from the 2-0 defeat in the first leg. The Rowdies host the Star at Al Lang Stadium in downtown St. Petersburg, where Tampa Bay has only lost once this season.
If Tampa Bay wins by two goals in the second leg of the NASL Soccer Bowl Finals, the game will be decided in two 15-minute halves (no sudden death) of extra time. If the match is still tied after extra time, the series will then be decided by penalty kicks. If Tampa Bay wins by three goals or more, the Rowdies will be the 2012 NASL Soccer Bowl Champions. If the Rowdies draw or lose the second leg, Minnesota will be crowned the 2012 champions.
2012 NASL Coach of the Year, NASL Fair Play Award & NASL Best XI
The Rowdies earned their second consecutive NASL Fair Play Award on September 27, given annually to the team that compiles the best discipline record during the regular season. On October 4, Rowdies head coach Ricky Hill earned the inaugural 2012 North American Soccer League Coach of the Year Award, given annually to the best coach in NASL as voted by media and soccer writers nationwide. On October 9, Tampa Bay Rowdies goalkeeper Jeff Attinella, defender Takuya Yamada and midfielder/forward Luke Mulholland were named part of the 2012 North American Soccer League Best XI Team.
Since the Rowdies returned in 2010, Tampa Bay leads the regular season series, 5-3-4 (W-T-L). Tampa Bay led the regular season series in 2012 with two wins and one tie and one loss. Minnesota defeated Tampa Bay in both playoff meetings, first in the 2011 NASL Quartefinals, and last Saturday in the first leg of the 2012 NASL Soccer Bowl Finals.
The Tampa Bay Rowdies lost 2-0 against Minnesota in the first leg of the NASL Soccer Bowl Finals last Saturday, October 20 at NSC Stadium in Blaine, MN. Minnesota forward Amani Walker scored in the 67th minute with a strike from 18 yards out to put the Stars in front 1-0. Forward Simone Bracalello picked up the assist. The home team made it 2-0 in stoppage time, as second half substitute Martin Nunez was able to push the ball into the Rowdies goal, with defender Connor Tobin assisting the forward on the goal.
The second-placed Rowdies finished the regular season in with 45 points, posting a 12-9-7 record. The five away victories were tied for most by any team in the league.
Under head coach Ricky Hill over the last two seasons, the Rowdies have been one of the league’s best at home. Tampa Bay has lost just once at Al Lang Stadium this season, and owns a home regular season and playoff mark of 14-10-6 (W-T-L) since the start of the 2011 season. In fact, the Rowdies have lost just twice in their last 21 regular season home games. The Rowdies are unbeaten in their last 11 at home, including five wins.
Forwards Daniel Antoniuk and Mike Ambersley are tied for most goals on the Rowdies with eight, while Ambersley has eight assists, finishing the regular season tied for most in the league.
Goalkeeper Jeff Attinella finished second in the league with a goals against average of 1.07, while leading the league with 118 saves. Attinella’s 11 shutouts helped the Rowdies give up only 30 goals this season, tied for second lowest in the NASL. The Rowdies enter the second leg of the 2012 NASL Soccer Bowl Finals unbeaten in eight of their last nine matches.
Minnesota began their road to the NASL Soccer Bowl with a 2-1 win at Puerto Rico on Sept. 30 in the quarterfinal round. In the 2012 NASL Semifinals, Minnesota played to a 0-0 draw at home against San Antonio in the first leg, while defeating the Scorpions in the second leg 2-1 advancing to the finals on an aggregate score of 2-1. The Stars are coming from a 2-0 victory against the Rowdies in the first leg of the NASL Soccer Bowl Finals. This is their second consecutive trip to the NASL Finals, as they are defending champions.
With 35 points, the Stars finished in sixth place in the regular season posting an 8-11-9 record. Minnesota gave up only 33 goals this season, fourth fewest in the league. Forward Amani Walker led the team in both goals and assists, scoring seven goals and picking up five assists in the regular season. Walker leads the Stars in the 2012 Playoffs with two goals, while forward Simone Bracalello has a team-high three assists in the playoffs.
Defender Kyle Altman captained the Stars to their second consecutive NASL Soccer Bowl, as they defeated Ft. Lauderdale in the 2011 edition. Altman was elected as part of the NASL Best XI, as he logged 1700 minutes for the team this season.
Goalkeeper Matt Van Oekel finished fifth in the league with a goals against average of 1.20 and is sixth in the league with 77 saves. The Stars are 4-4-1 in their last nine games played.
Rowdies head coach Ricky Hill
“Our players know that it all comes down to the match on Saturday,” said Hill. “I know they will have the support of the fans, as they have been behind the team in every step of the way. It will be a very difficult game, especially after the late goal in the first leg. We’ve worked hard during the week and have perfected our miscues from the first leg.”
“The players are ready and they are anxious to get out on the pitch in search of the NASL Soccer Bowl,” commented Hill. “I am going to need a perfect game from all our players and it will not be easy to come back from a two-goal deficit. With that being said, if they scored two goals in one half, it means we can do the same or even more than they did in the first leg. We know how much winning this championship will mean to the team and all the Rowdies fans.”
Rowdies fans, 2013 season tickets are on sale so make sure to secure your seats for the upcoming season. In addition, the Tampa Bay Rowdies will be hosting the first of two Select-A-Seat events on Sunday, November 4th from 12:00 p.m. until 3:00 p.m. at Al Lang Stadium in downtown St. Petersburg. Fans will have an opportunity to tour Al Lang Stadium and pick their 2013 season seat location.
For more information or to order 2013 season tickets, fans can e-mail email@example.com or call 813-287-1539. For season ticket prices and a seating chart for Al Lang Stadium click here. Single-game tickets will go on sale at a later date.