ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (September 29, 2017) — The Tampa Bay Rowdies can clinch a USL Cup Playoff berth with a win over the Bethlehem Steel FC on Saturday night at Al Lang Stadium, but the fight for seeding is as tight as ever.
Here’s a look at some of the key matches in the Eastern Conference this weekend…
Tampa Bay Rowdies vs. Bethlehem Steel FC
Saturday, 7:30 p.m. | WATCH HERE
Tampa Bay is coming off a midweek draw against the same opponent it will face Saturday night in primetime, but the Rowdies will feel confident back on home turf. The Rowdies are three points out of second place with a game in hand, but just two points ahead of Rochester in fifth place and the potential of starting the playoffs on the road.
Bethlehem is above the playoff cutoff line, but only just. The Steel FC sits in seventh place on 39 points, just one point ahead of 9th-place New York.
Charlotte Independence vs. FC Cincinnati
Friday, 7 p.m. | WATCH HERE
Charlotte has lost three of its last five matches as the calendar creeps toward October, including a 1-0 loss to the Rowdies this weekend. A return home to face 6th-place FC Cincinnati provides another stern test.
Rowdies fans should hope for an FC Cincinnati result in Charlotte tonight. The only previous meeting between the sides ended in a 1-1 draw in Ohio on June 10.
Rochester Rhinos vs. Louisville City FC
Saturday, 6:05 p.m. | WATCH HERE
The Rhinos are the unlucky team sitting in fifth place right now in the ultra-competitive race to avoid starting the playoffs on the road. They trail the Rowdies by two points with an equal number of games played having lost both of their last two matches.
Louisville City is likely to finish at the top of the Eastern Conference no matter what, so Rowdies fans should hope they get a win in Rochester to keep the Rhinos safely below the Rowdies in the standings.
Ottawa Fury FC vs. Charleston Battery
Sunday, 2 p.m. | WATCH HERE
Ottawa is six points outside of the current playoff field with only three games to go and is on a nine-game winless run. Rowdies fans will the Fury FC deals the Battery a big blow by ending that streak this weekend.
Charleston has lost three consecutive road games and now faces a tricky trip to Ottawa. The Battery is two points ahead of the Rowdies in third place, but Tampa Bay holds a game in hand over Charleston heading into the weekend.