Match Preview: Rowdies Travel to Carolina to Face RailHawks
Tampa Bay Rowdies at Carolina RailHawks
Saturday, May 31 at 7:30 p.m. ET
WakeMed Soccer Park, Cary, N.C.
Follow us for live updates on Twitter at @RowdiesGameday.
2014 Records (W-T-L)
Tampa Bay: 2-3-2, 9 points
Carolina: 3-2-2, 11 points
Carolina has had the better of Tampa Bay in the regular season, with the Rowdies’ all-time record against the RailHawks sitting at just 2-6-6. The Rowdies are 1-3-3 at WakeMed Soccer Park in the regular season, with the lone win coming in their first-ever visit in 2010. The Rowdies also won 2-1 in Carolina in the 2012 playoffs, en route to a 5-4 aggregate win and eventual Soccer Bowl Championship.
The Rowdies are coming off a thrilling 3-2 comeback win over the Fort Lauderdale Strikers at Al Lang Stadium on Saturday night. Down 2-0 after 34 minutes, the Rowdies rallied with goals by Willie Hunt (45+’), Anthony Wallace (62’) and Blake Wagner (90+’) to earn all three points.
Four changes to the starting XI were made by head coach Ricky Hill, including goalkeeper Cody Mizell making his first league start of the season. Defender J.P. Rodrigues returned to the lineup for his fifth start of the season, while Evans Frimpong earned a start at left midfield. Lucky Mkosana made his second start of the year as a forward. Wagner entered the match as a second-half substitute before scoring the winner.
Brian Shriver, out since May 3 at San Antonio with an ankle sprain, should be available to face his former team after playing 45 minutes Wednesday night in the U.S. Open Cup.
The RailHawks will provide formidable opposition at their home stadium, where they’re riding a 20-match home unbeaten streak, including Wednesday night’s win over the Charlotte Eagles in the Open Cup.
Carolina’s Zack Schilawski serves as the point man at the front of their formation, which is usually either a 4-2-3-1 or a 4-4-1-1 with Mike Grella sitting just behind Schilawski to link the midfield and front line. Speedy midfielders Ty Shipalane, Enzo Martinez and Cesar Elizondo like to move with the ball and challenge defenders one-on-one.
Goalkeeper Akira Fitzgerald is the current NASL Player of the Week for his clean sheet performance on the road against Minnesota United. He’s won the award twice in seven weeks.
Head Coach Ricky Hill
"We look forward to visiting Carolina because they’re a talented team that always provides a tough test for us. There’s still plenty to play for in terms of the combined Spring and Fall seasons, so our guys understand that this is an important match for our season and achieving what we want to achieve. We won our last league match and would like to build on that and build a little unbeaten stretch before we head into the league break.”
Following this match, the Rowdies return home on June 7 to play their Spring season finale against league-leading Minnesota United FC in the 2014. Fans in attendance will receive oversized yellow and red cards, courtesy of Florida Print Solutions, to help officiate the match. Tickets for that match are available by calling (877) ROWDIES or by clicking here.