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Rowdies Look To End Road Trip With Win

The Basics:
FC Tampa Bay Rowdies (6-8-7, 5th in USL Conference) vs. Miami FC Blues (3-8-10, 6th in NASL Conference)

Saturday, August 14, 7:30 p.m.

Lockhart Stadium, Fort Lauderdale, Florida

This is the fourth league meeting between the teams. The Rowdies lead the series and the inaugural Coastal Cup with a 1-0-2 record.

Broadcast Info:

The match will be carried live on www.fctampabay.com.

What’s at Stake:

After securing a late draw against the Puerto Rico Islanders in midweek, a victory over rivals Miami FC would be a great way to end this three-game road trip for the Rowdies.  Both teams have acquired new players since their last meeting, a 2-0 win for FC Tampa Bay.  The Coastal Cup will also be decided in this game.  The Rowdies currently lead with five points.  Miami FC has two points.

Previous Meetings:

In three league meetings this season, the teams have twice drawn and the Rowdies have won once.  The teams played out a 1-1 draw in Fort Lauderdale on May 1st and played to the same score in Tampa on July 4th.  On July 25th, goals from Julian Valentin and Aaron King gave the Rowdies the win at Steinbrenner Field. 

In the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, Miami FC knocked FC Tampa Bay out in a second round meeting in Fort Lauderdale on June 22nd.  The Blues used an extra-time goal to beat the Rowdies 2-1.

Individual Notes:

Ricardo Sanchez has scored a goal in each of his three games since joining the Rowdies.  Sanchez scored from a free kick against the Portland Timbers, scored on a penalty kick against the Austin Aztex and scored from open play against the Puerto Rico Islanders.

Both of Captain Julian Valentin’s goals this season have come against Miami FC.  His May 1st goal against the Blues came in the 82nd minute.  The Rowdies have scored against Miami in the 82nd minute of three of their four meetings this season.

Midfielder Long Tan is still not eligible to play in this match due to a two-game suspension (red card) against the Aztex on August 7.

Former Chivas USA teammates Gerson Mayen, Chucwudi Chijindu and Maykel Galindo could be reunited in this game.  Galindo made his FC Tampa Bay debut on Wednesday.  Mayen and Chijindu were introduced as Blues earlier this week.

The Playoff Picture:

With nine regular season games to play, FC Tampa Bay is in a playoff position.  Things are still tight towards the bottom of the playoff standings.  If the season ended today, the Impact would qualify in the seventh position, the Rowdies would qualify eighth and the Islanders would be left out.  All three teams are level on 25 points. 

Updated Injury Report:

•    Erik Ustruck out with broken leg - beginning rehab this week with playoffs still a possibility
•    Scott Buete had minor surgery and is recovering well - expected back to training within one month
•    Unavailable for this week: Gordon Kljestan (leg)
•    Questionable for this week: Aaron Wheeler (leg), Jeremy Christie (groin) and Drew Yates (ankle)

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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