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Match Preview: Eastern Conference Semifinal Vs New York

By Rowdies Communications, 10/27/17, 9:15AM EDT


The Basics
No. 3 Tampa Bay Rowdies vs. No. 7 New York Red Bulls II
Saturday, October 28, 7:30 p.m. ET
Al Lang Stadium, St. Petersburg, Fla.
Follow us for live updates on Twitter at @RowdiesGameday

Tickets for Saturday’s Eastern Conference Semifinal are available by calling (727) 222-2000 or clicking here. Gates open at 6 p.m. Advanced purchase pricing is available until 1 p.m. Saturday before raising to day-of event pricing.

USL Cup Playoffs
This is a second round match in the USL Cup Playoffs. The winner will advance to face the winner of No. 1 Louisville City FC vs No. 4 Rochester Rhinos in the Eastern Conference Final next weekend. If the Rowdies advance to play Louisville, the match is scheduled to be played in Louisville on Saturday, November 4 at 7:30 p.m. If the Rowdies advance to face Rochester, the match will be played at Al Lang Stadium on the same date and time.

The Rowdies advanced to the second round with a 3-0 win at home over FC Cincinnati last weekend. Marcel Schäfer scored twice and Georgi Hristov added a third goal in the win. The Red Bulls pulled a 4-0 upset on the road over the Charleston Battery last weekend with four different players scoring a goal each.

Because this is a playoff match, Saturday’s contest must produce a winner. If the score is tied after regulation, to 15-minute periods of extra time will be played in their entirety. If the score is still level after 120 minutes of action, the winner will be determined via a penalty kick shootout.

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. For more information, click here.

Regular Season Records
Tampa Bay: 14-11-7 (W-T-L), 53 points, 3rd place place Eastern Conference
New York: 13-5-14 (W-T-L), 44 points, 7th place Eastern Conference

Rowdies Notes
Tampa Bay opened the USL Cup Playoffs as the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference and heads into this match on an eight-game unbeaten streak since a 4-2 road loss to the New York Red Bulls II on Sept. 2. That eight-game unbeaten run is the longest active streak in the USL.

The Rowdies advanced to tonight’s Eastern Conference Semifinal with a 3-0 win at home over FC Cincinnati on Saturday night. Marcel Schäfer scored goals in the eighth and 25th minutes to stake the Rowdies to an early 2-0 lead. Georgi Hristov completed the scoring in the 67th minute. Prior to this year, Tampa Bay had not played a postseason match since winning the NASL Soccer Bowl in 2012. Schäfer has now scored four goals in his last two home matches, including two against New York.

Rowdies goalkeeper Matt Pickens was asked to make just one save in the win over Cincinnati, denying a Kadeem Dacres header with an acrobatic leap in the 78th minute. It was Pickens’ second-consecutive clean sheet and 10th of the season.

The Rowdies have scored at least one goal in 16 straight matches, a streak that began in Tampa Bay’s 2-0 home win over FC Cincinnati on July 6.

The Rowdies have been dominant on the surface at Al Lang Stadium this season. The Rowdies’ home record of 11 wins and just one loss in 16 regular season home games was the best in the Eastern Conference. The Rowdies have conceded just nine goals at home in 17 matches, including the postseason. Tampa Bay’s current 14-game home unbeaten streak in all competitions is a new Modern Era club record.

Scouting New York
New York brings one of the hottest offenses in the USL into this weekend’s match after scoring four goals on the road last weekend in an upset over the No. 2 seed Charleston. Stefano Bonomo, Ethan Kutler, Florian Valot and Ben Mines each scored a goal as the Red Bulls racked up seven shots on target.

The Red Bulls have averaged 2.9 goals per match over their last 10 games, including six against Tampa Bay in two recent matches. The Red Bulls scored four against the Rowdies in a 4-2 win in New Jersey on Sept. 2 and another two in a 3-2 Rowdies win in St. Petersburg on Oct. 4.

New York forward Stefano Bonomo has scored five goals in his last five matches and leads the team with 11 goals this year.

The Red Bulls were 3-5-8 (W-T-L) away from home in the regular season, but will come to St. Petersburg with confidence after last week’s playoff opener in Charleston.