Tampa Bay Rowdies at Ft. Lauderdale Strikers
Saturday, October 5 at 7:30 p.m. ET
Lockhart Stadium, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
The match can be seen live online via NASL.com.
Follow us for live updates on Twitter at @RowdiesSoccer.
Tampa Bay: 3-5-1, 14 points, 2nd place
Ft. Lauderdale: 3-2-4, 11 points, 6th place
Tampa Bay has defeated the Strikers in both matches between the clubs this year, with the Rowdies now undefeated in 13 of the last 14 meetings against Ft. Lauderdale since 2010. The Rowdies look to continue their dominance in the series this year, with the reigning NASL Champions holding a 9-4-1 record in league play against the Strikers since 2010.
Coastal Cup Rivalry
Come Saturday’s match, Tampa Bay will have the opportunity to clinch their fourth consecutive Coastal Cup. A win or a draw in Lockhart Stadium will give the Rowdies another Coastal Cup victory, as Tampa Bay has won both matches between the clubs this year.
The Rowdies have won the last three Coastal Cups after posting a 3-0-1 record in 2012, a 3-1-0 record in 2011 and a 1-3-0 record in 2010.
The Rowdies defeated the Strikers 4-0 on Thursday, July 4th in front of 5,034 fans at Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg, FL. Two goals in each half propelled the Rowdies to a comfortable win, extending their win streak against the Strikers to four games.
Tampa Bay seemed to have one hand on first place after an amazing first 45 minutes on Sunday against the New York Cosmos, which saw the Rowdies up 3-1 at the half. The tables would turn, as Tampa Bay would allow three unanswered goals in the second half, losing the match 4-3 at James M. Shuart Stadium in Hempstead, NY.
The loss in New York put an end to the Rowdies 10-game undefeated run, while also allowing the Cosmos to earn a four-point lead at the top of the NASL Standings. Despite the loss, forward Georgi Hristov scored his 12th goal of the season which ties him up with Hans Denissen and Brian Shriver for most goals in the league. The Rowdies most recent addition, Lucky Mkosana scored in the dying minutes of the first half, which was his first goal with the club since arriving on September 2. Midfielder Luke Mulholland had initially opened the scoring with his 7th goal of the season. With just five matches remaining in the NASL Fall Season, Saturday’s match could prove to be decisive in the Rowdies aspirations to making an appearance in November’s Soccer Bowl.
Scouting Ft. Lauderdale
The Strikers finished the NASL Spring Season in last place, while finishing with a four-game losing streak. After beginning the Fall Season with two straight losses, Ft. Lauderdale would go on a five-game unbeaten run, which included three victories. This spark was initially caused by the hiring of Austrian head coach Günter Kronsteiner, who replaced former coach Daryl Shore in July.
The Strikers have once again began to struggle, losing both of their last two matches 2-0. The first of two losses came at home against the Cosmos, while last week they dropped the three points in Carolina against the RailHawks.
Defender Darnell King leads the Strikers in scoring with three goals, while it has been goalkeeper Richard Sanchez that has shined for the Strikers in this Fall Season. The 19-year-old goalkeeper is on loan from FC Dallas and has recorded three shutouts in nine matches. However, despite the keeper’s recent performance, Ft. Lauderdale has lacked offensive power as they are currently tied for last in goals scored, having only produced seven goals in nine league matches.
Rowdies Head Coach Ricky Hill
"We couldn’t ask for Saturday’s match to come soon enough. It will be a great way to bounce back from Sunday’s tough defeat against New York, and everyone on this team is looking forward to facing another historic rival. To play in a local derby is always special and it’s a fantastic opportunity to begin another streak which we will need if we want to make it to the Soccer Bowl.”
Tampa Bay will have back-to-back home games, starting with Ft. Lauderdale on Saturday, October 12 at Al Lang Stadium at 7:30 p.m. A week later, the Scorpions will come into town and face the Rowdies on Saturday, October 19. For ticket information, call (813) 287-1539 or click here.