Match Preview: Rowdies Host New York Cosmos
Tampa Bay Rowdies vs. New York Cosmos
Saturday, May 17 at 7:30 p.m. ET
Al Lang Stadium, St. Petersburg
The match can be seen live Great38 TV in the Tampa Bay area and online at NASLlive.com.
Follow us for live updates on Twitter at @RowdiesGameday.
Limited tickets are available through the Rowdies Front Office at (877) ROWDIES. Tickets can also be purchased by clicking here. The stadium box office opens at 4:30 p.m. on gameday. Stadiums gates open at 6 p.m. Be sure to stick around following the match to enjoy a spectacular fireworks show (9:50 p.m. apox.)
2014 NASL Spring Records (W-T-L)
Tampa Bay: 1-3-1, 6 points
New York: 3-0-2, 9 points
The Rowdies and Cosmos have one of the longest-running rivalries in American soccer, dating back to the 1970s and featuring matchups played in front of sold-out crowds in old Tampa Stadium and Giants Stadium.
The Rowdies are 0-1-1 against the New York Cosmos in the modern era. In their first meeting last season, 7,032 fans watched a 0-0 draw at Al Lang Stadium on August 10. In the reverse fixture on September 29, the Cosmos came back from a 3-1 halftime deficit to win 4-3 courtesy of Marcos Senna’s 82nd-minute winner.
The Rowdies return home to Al Lang Stadium after a two-match unbeaten road trip to San Antonio and Ottawa which saw Tampa Bay pick up four of a possible six points.
Georgi Hristov is the Rowdies’ leading scorer in 2014, having converted a penalty kick in Ottawa to notch his second goal of the season. Forward Lucky Mkosana made his first league start of the season against the Fury, stepping in for Brian Shriver (day-to-day, ankle.) Goalkeeper Matt Pickens is in the NASL’s Team of the Week for the second time in 2014 after saving a penalty kick in Ottawa, improving his record against spot kicks to a perfect 3-for-3 this season.
Left back Blake Wagner is eligible to play against the Cosmos, having served a one-game suspension against Ottawa following his second yellow card and dismissal from the match in San Antonio. Anthony Wallace, who had started the first three games of the season as a left midfielder, earned the start at left back in Wagner’s absence.
Scouting the Cosmos
The Cosmos arrive in St. Petersburg having righted the ship with a 1-0 win over Minnesota United FC on Monday night. Marcos Senna’s goal in the 61st minute was the difference between the sides as New York dealt Minnesota its first loss of the season. Senna was named NASL Player of the Week and his goal was a nominee for NPlay of the Week. Prior to that win, New York had lost back-to-back games vs. San Antonio and at Carolina.
Under the direction of head coach Giovanni Savarese, New York utilizes a 4-5-1 lineup. Norwegian Mads Stokkelien leads the front line for the Cosmos with Senna roaming the center of midfield, flanked by Jamal Johnson and Diomar Diaz on the wings. Club captain Carlos Mendes anchors the backline from his centerback position.
Head Coach Ricky Hill
"They're the reigning champions. They were an excellent side last year. This year, they've started well again. We've not amassed as many points as we would have liked to. We're also aware that at Al Lang, we've given our fans something to cheer about and they've been tremendous as always, but we haven't been able to go across the line and get all three points. This Saturday is an opportunity to play a side with more points than us at the moment. It should be fantastic.”
Following this match, the Rowdies remain at Al Lang Stadium for a showdown with their biggest rivals — and current league-leaders — the Fort Lauderdale Strikers on Saturday, May 24 at 7:30 p.m. Call (877) ROWDIES or click here to purchase tickets.