New York Red Bulls II vs. Tampa Bay Rowdies
Friday, July 26, 7 p.m. ET
MSU Soccer Park, Montclair, N.J.
Follow us for live updates on Twitter at @RowdiesGameday
Tampa Bay: 12-1-7 (W-L-T), 1st place; 6-0-3 on road
New York: 11-4-5 (W-L-T), 2nd place; 8-2-2 at home
Juan Tejada scored a brace as the Rowdies knocked off New York 2-0 at Al Lang Stadium on May 18, lifting Tampa Bay into first place. The Rowdies played the final 18 minutes down a man after Dom Oduro was red carded, but allowed only two shots on target.
The Tampa Bay Rowdies head to New Jersey for a heavyweight showdown and potential playoff preview following a 4-1 win over Saint Louis FC at home last weekend. Sebastian Guenzatti (2), Leo Fernandes and Caleb Richards all scored in the win as the Rowdies extended their lead at the top of the table.
This is the second time this season that the Rowdies and Red Bulls have met in a first place vs. second place matchup. New York came to St. Petersburg in first place on May 18 but left in second place following a 2-0 Rowdies win. The Rowdies have been in first place ever since, apart from a three-day stretch when they fell to second place behind the Indy Eleven on a tiebreaker.
Sebastian Guenzatti leads the team in scoring with 12 goals, good for second-best in the league. He scored twice in three minutes last week and also added an assist to earn his third Team of the Week recognition of this season.
Tampa Bay has received a big boost since acquiring Lucky Mkosana in a trade with Louisville City FC on June 28. Mkosana has scored once and added two assist in 127 minutes with the Rowdies since the trade. He previously played for the Rowdies in 2013 and 2014. He had four goals for Louisville before the trade.
Forward Jaime Siaj made his season debut for the Rowdies last weekend after finally recovering from a series of muscular injuries.
Tampa Bay’s early season success was spurred by an airtight defense that kept nine clean sheets in the first 13 matches of the season. Since then, the Rowdies have conceded in seven consecutive matches. Still, Tampa Bay has only conceded 13 goals in total this season, tied for the second-fewest in the Championship. Indy has only conceded 12 goals but it has played two fewer matches.
Flipping a trend from recent seasons on its head, the Rowdies have actually been better away from Al Lang Stadium this season than at home. Tampa Bay has averaged 2.33 points per game on the road with a record of 6-0-3 (W-L-T), compared to 2 points per game at home. Tampa Bay’s six road wins this season are a new Modern Era (2010-present) record.
QUESTIONABLE - Andrew Tinari (groin)