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Rowdies Open Home Slate Against Bethlehem

By Rowdies Communications, 03/23/18, 9:45AM EDT


The Basics
Tampa Bay Rowdies vs. Bethlehem Steel FC
Saturday, March 24, 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, is for PASS HOLDERS ONLY and opens at 4 p.m. For more parking options, click here.

Tampa Bay: 1-0-0 (W-T-L), 3 points, 3rd place, Eastern Conference
Bethlehem Steel FC: 1-0-0 (W-T-L), 3 points, 1st place, Eastern Conference

Rowdies Notes
The Rowdies opened the 2018 USL season with a 3-1 win over North Carolina FC last weekend. Leo Fernandes opened the scoring in the 23rd minute. Just a few minutes after conceded an equalizing goal, Georgi Hristov restored Tampa Bay’s lead just before halftime. Jack Blake would score the Rowdies’ third goal in the 90th minute, securing an opening day win for Tampa Bay.

The Rowdies are unbeaten in home openers in the Modern Era (2010-present), with a record of 3-0-5 (W-L-T). Tampa Bay won its home opener last year 1-0 over Orlando City B after drawing the previous four.

Jack Blake’s perfomance against North Carolina FC earned him a spot in the USL Team of the Week on Tuesday afternoon. On Thursday, his goal was voted Goal of the Week by USL fans.

Goalkeeper Cody Mizell had a great performance in his second debut for the Rowdies in last week’s win. Mizell made four total appearances for Tampa Bay in 2014, but then spent three seasons playing professionally in Iceland and then for the Charlotte Independence. He re-signed with Tampa Bay this winter and made seven saves in the first appearance of his second stint with the Rowdies.

After scoring last weekend, Georgi Hristov is now just three goals short of tying Rowdies legend Derek Smethurst for the all-time franchise scoring record of 57 goals. Smethurst played for the Rowdies from 1975 to 1978.

Scouting Bethlehem
Bethlehem Steel FC opened the regular season last week in style, posting a 4-1 home win over the Richmond Kickers on Sunday afternoon to climb to the very top of the early-season Eastern Conference Standings.

Brandon Allen, a new signing after spending the previous few seasons with the New York Red Bulls organization, is already off to a hard start with his new club. He scored twice in Bethlehem’s win over Richmond. Allen won the 2016 USL Rookie of the Year Award in leading the Red Bulls to the USL Cup with 21 goals that season.

Bethlehem earned a playoff berth last season, finishing as the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference before being eliminated by eventual champion Louisville City FC in the first round of the playoffs.

This match could feature the Najem brothers going head-to-head once again. Tampa Bay defender David Najem could face his brother, Adam, a midfielder for the Philadelphia Union that played for Bethlehem on loan last weekend. The Najem brothers last played against each other in February in the Rowdies’ preseason win over Philadelphia.