Tampa Bay Rowdies at New York Red Bulls II
Saturday, April 14 – 4 p.m.
Red Bull Arena, Harrison, New Jersey
Follow us for live updates on Twitter at @RowdiesGameday
How to Watch
The match will be streamed live on ESPN+, the USL’s new streaming partner. ESPN+ requires a subscription, but 30-day free trials are available. Start your trial here. For answers to frequently asked questions about ESPN+, please click here.
Head to Big Storm Brewing Co.’s taproom on Saturday afternoon for the Rowdies’ official watch party. If you wear Rowdies gear, you’ll get $1 off all pints. The taproom is located at 12707 49th St. N, Clearwater.
New York Red Bulls II: 2-1-1, 7 points, 4th place
Tampa Bay: 3-1-0, 9 points, 1st place
The Rowdies are 1-2-0 (W-L-T) in a feisty series that began last season, including the Rowdies’ 2-1 loss in extra time in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. The three matches last season featured 14 total goals, an average of 4.67 goals per game.
The Rowdies head to New Jersey after the most lopsided victory in modern Rowdies history. After a scoreless first half against the Ottawa Fury FC last Saturday night, the Rowdies exploded for five goals in 30-plus minutes for a 5-0 win.
Rowdies winger Leo Fernandes continued his hot start to the season in that match, scoring a goal, forcing an own goal and tallying an assist. Fernandes is tied for the team lead in goals with three in four games. He has earned a spot in the USL Team of the Week twice this season, including this week.
Tampa Bay also got goals from Georgi Hristov, Joe Cole and Zac Portillos in the win over Ottawa. Cole’s goal, his first of the season, came in the 85th minute. It was the first time this year he had played beyond the 80th minute.
Portillos’ goal was his first as a professional. Portillos signed with the Rowdies in 2015 after playing the the University of Akron, but suffered ruptured Achilles’ tendons in both 2015 and 2016, limiting him to only 27 appearances in four seasons.
Georgi Hristov’s goal was his third of 2018 and he is now just one goal short of Rowdies history. He is already the Rowdies’ Modern Era leader in appearances (150) and goals (56), but his next goal will tie him with Derek Smethurst for the all-time Rowdies scoring record of 57 goals. Hristov joined the Rowdies in 2013 and scored his first goal for the club on April 13, 2013 in a 2-0 road win over the San Antonio Scorpions. Smethurst played for the Rowdies from 1975 to 1978.
The Rowdies have been strong defensively so far in 2018 with former Charlotte Independence goalkeeper Cody Mizell in net. Mizell has posted two clean sheets and allowed only two goals in Tampa Bay’s four matches this season, meaning he has a goals-against average of 0.50. Mizell previously played for the Rowdies in 2014, but made only four total appearances that season.
Scouting New York
The Red Bulls have been perfect at home this season at Red Bull Arena, beating Toronto FC II 2-1 and the Charleston Battery 5-2 in their home contests this season. New York is coming off a 1-1 draw in Richmond last weekend against the Kickers.
Red Bulls midfielder Andrew Tinari leads the team in scoring with three goals this season, all of which have been at home. He scored only two goals all of last season, including one against the Rowdies.
Evan Louro, the Rowdies’ nemesis from the playoff loss last season, remains the Red Bulls’ starting goalkeeper. He has 14 saves this season, but is yet to keep a clean sheet in any match.