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Match Preview: Rowdies Go For Playoff Berth Against Bethlehem

By Rowdies Communications, 09/29/17, 1:00PM EDT


The Basics
Tampa Bay Rowdies vs. Bethlehem Steel FC
Saturday, September 30, 7:30 p.m. ET
Al Lang Stadium, St. Petersburg, Fla.
Follow us for live updates on Twitter at @RowdiesGameday

Tickets for Saturday’s match are available by calling (727) 222-2000 or clicking here. Gates open at 6 p.m.

How to Watch
The match will be broadcast locally on thisTV Tampa Bay and online on the USL’s official YouTube channel here.

There are several options for parking at Al Lang Stadium and around downtown. Parking in Lot A, right in front of the stadium, costs $5. Lot A opens at 4 p.m. For more parking options, click here.

Tampa Bay: 12-9-7 (W-T-L), 45 points, 4th place Eastern Conference
Bethlehem Steel FC: 11-6-11 (W-T-L), 39 points, 7th place Eastern Conference

Rowdies Notes
Tampa Bay is coming off a 2-2 draw against the Bethlehem Steel FC on Wednesday afternoon in Bethlehem. Georgi Hristov and Hunter Gorskie scored the goals for the Rowdies as they took the lead on two occasions, but Tampa Bay couldn’t hold on for the win.

Following results Wednesday around the USL, the Rowdies can actually clinch a berth in the USL Cup Playoffs with a win Saturday night, via the USL’s first tiebreaker, total league wins.

Tampa Bay is now in a bit of fixture congestion to close the season with this being the third match in a series of six in 20 days through the regular season finale in Orlando on October 12. This is the Rowdies’ third match in eight days.

Michael Nanchoff suffered a lower leg injury late in the first half of Wednesday’s contest in Bethlehem after a tackle from Cory Burke. He was transported to the hospital, but returned to Tampa Bay with the squad on Thursday. A full evaluation of his injury has not yet been completed.

Nanchoff’s replacement on the field was Keith Savage, who made his first appearance for the Rowdies since suffering an ankle injury on July 13.

Marcel Schäfer has been one of the Rowdies’ most influential attackers in the last few months since moving into midfield and notched his team-high ninth assist against the Steel on Wednesday night. He’s also scored three goals in his first season with the Rowdies.

Georgi Hristov, Tampa Bay’s leading scorer, will miss this match as he serves a one-game suspension for yellow card accumulation. He is eligible to return next week against New York.

Scouting Bethlehem
Bethlehem makes its first-ever visit to St. Petersburg sitting in 7th place in the USL’s Eastern Conference with 39 points following Wednesday’s draw. The Steel FC is just one point ahead of ninth-place New York, though, so this match is as important for Bethlehem as it is for the Rowdies.

Steel FC center back Auston Trusty will miss this match as he serves a one-game suspension for yellow card accumulation.

Bethlehem is 5-2-6 away from home this season, including draws in each of its last two road matches.

Steel FC forward Cory Burke leads the team in scoring with nine goals. He scored Bethlehem’s opening goal Wednesday afternoon, his fourth goal in the month of September.