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Match Vs. Austin Important For Rowdies Playoff Push

The Basics:

FC Tampa Bay Rowdies (6-10-10, 6th in USL Conference) vs. Austin Aztex (14-4-7, 2nd in USL Conference)

Thursday, September 16th, 7:30 p.m.

George M. Steinbrenner Field, Tampa

Thirsty Thursday is back with $1 beers from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

This is the fourth and final meeting between the teams. The teams tied twice back in May and Austin beat the Rowdies in their last matchup, 4-2.

Anheuser Busch/Pepin Halftime and Celebrity Game:

Local celebrities and former Rowdies greats will be playing in a halftime game on Thursday night.  The rosters include: team owners Andrew Nestor and David Laxer, former Tampa Bay Buccaneers Martin Gramatica and Shelton Quarles, Meredith from the MJ Morning Show, Charley Belcher from FOX 13, 1010 Sports DJ Lynne Austin, University of Tampa men's soccer coach Adrian Bush and Bright House Sports Network personality Victoria Lim.  Former Rowdies include Peter Anderson, Don Tobin, Steve Horne (former trainer), 1010 Sports personality and current play-by-play man for the Rowdies Mike Pepper, Wes McLeod, Farrukh Quraishi, Neill Roberts, Peter Ward and Jack Harris (former play-by-play announcer).

Broadcast Info:

The match will be broadcast live on www.fctampabay.com and on 1010 Sports with Mike Pepper and Winston DuBose.

What's at Stake:

One of the league's best teams will be visiting Tampa Bay as the playoffs near.  FC Tampa Bay is currently outside of the USSF D-2 standings in ninth place and will look to pick up three points as it chases NSC Minnesota (34 points).

Previous Meetings:

Games between the Rowdies and Aztex have been exciting this season.  In the three previous games, there have been a total of 16 goals scored.  The Rowdies and Aztex drew 2-2 in front of a sellout crowd of 8,082 at Steinbrenner Field back on May 8th in FC Tampa Bay's home opener.  Since then, the Rowdies have drawn 3-3 in Austin on May 19th and lost 4-2 on August 7th.  The most recent match at Austin featured four goals in a nine-minute span.

Individual Notes:

After playing 90 minutes against Rochester, left back Justin Morrow is in contention to make his Steinbrenner Field debut against the Aztex on Thursday night.  Morrow is on loan from the San Jose Earthquakes through the end of the regular season.

The Rowdies lineup was strengthened against the Rhinos by the return of Aaron King and Jeremy Christie after injury layoffs.  King is the team's leading scorer with nine goals.  Christie has only played in eight games for FC Tampa Bay this year but has scored two goals and recorded an assist.

A trio of Rowdies, midfielders Takuya Yamada and Pascal Millien, and defender Julian Valentin have participated in all 26 Rowdies league games this season.

Noteworthy Stat:

Austin comes to town with the league's most potent offense.  The Aztex have scored 46 goals, 11 more than Rochester, Carolina and Puerto Rico with 35 each.  Austin has benefitted from 13 goals from Eddie Johnson and nine goals from Jamie Watson.  FC Tampa Bay has scored 33 goals thus far to rank fifth in the league.

The Playoff Picture:







Puerto Rico Islanders





Montreal Impact





NSC Minnesota Stars





FC Tampa Bay Rowdies





AC St. Louis




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NASL Conference PLD PTS
Carolina 29 44
Vancouver 29 44
Montreal 29 40
Miami 29 32
AC St Louis 29 29
Baltimore 29 24
USL Conference PLD PTS
Austin 28 53
Rochester 29 51
Portland 29 48
NSC Minnesota 30 40
Puerto Rico 29 36
FC Tampa Bay 29 29