Tampa Bay Rowdies vs. Ft. Lauderdale Strikers Presented by Crowley’s
Tickets are still available by calling (813) 287-1539 or click here. The box office at the stadium opens at 4:30 p.m. on gameday.
Tampa Bay: 3-5-2, 14 points, 2nd place
Ft. Lauderdale: 4-2-4, 14 points, 5th place
Tampa Bay defeated the Strikers in the two matches between the clubs during the Spring Season. Despite last week’s loss against the Strikers, the Rowdies are now undefeated in 13 of the last 15 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 9-4-2 record in league play against the Strikers since 2010.
Coastal Cup Rivalry
After last week’s 2-1 loss in Ft. Lauderdale, a win, a draw or a loss by less than four goals on Saturday will be enough to clinch the Coastal Cup for a fourth consecutive time. 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 lost 2-1 to the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers last Saturday at Lockhart Stadium in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. A first-half goal by midfielder Martin Nuñez put the home team up by one goal at the half. Strikers second-half substitute Bradlee Baladez increased the lead to two before the Rowdies would cut the lead in half thanks to a stoppage-time goal by forward Carl Cort.
After going on a 10-match unbeaten run, the Rowdies have now lost their last two league matches. Tampa Bay’s first loss of the NASL Fall Season came on September 29th, where they would give up three unanswered goals and lose 4-3 against the New York Cosmos. A week later, the Rowdies suffered their second loss, this time against their in-state rivals, the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers.
Tampa Bay is still in contention for the Fall Season, sitting seven points behind the first-placed Cosmos. With 12 points remaining, the Rowdies will need to hope for the Cosmos to drop several points in these last four matches. Despite the 2-1 loss in Ft. Lauderdale, Captain Frankie Sanfilippo was named to the NASL Team of the Week for his defensive performance on the right side of the defense. He also notched his first assist of the season in Carl Cort’s late goal. The forward came on as a substitute after having sat out several matches due to an injury and produced the late goal.
Scouting Ft. Lauderdale
The Strikers bounced back last week with a win against the Rowdies after having lost two straight matches. At 14 points, Ft. Lauderdale is seven points from the New York Cosmos, who lead the NASL with 21 points.
Midfielder Martin Nuñez scored his third goal of the season last week, and he is now tied for most goals on the team with defender Darnell King. The Strikers secured last weekend’s match thanks to forward Bradlee Baladez, who came on in the second half and scored the second goal of the night. The game-winner was his second goal of the season.
Rowdies Head Coach Ricky Hill
"I was not content with how we played last weekend against the Strikers. Although we had a better second half, defensively we gave up to many opportunities and if it wasn’t for Diego, we would have lost the match by more goals. We need to win the next four matches if we want to have a chance at being in the Soccer Bowl and Saturday’s derby is a perfect match to start another unbeaten run.”
The Rowdies will host the San Antonio Scorpions next Saturday, October 19 at 7:30 p.m. at Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg, Fla. For ticket information, call (813) 287-1539 or click here.