With just four matches remaining in the regular season, the Tampa Bay Rowdies clinched a playoff spot last Saturday night with the 3-0 win against the Strikers at Lockhart Stadium in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. With the win, Tampa Bay also was awarded the Coastal Cup for the third straight season.
The Rowdies opened up the scoring late in the second half when second half substitute Raphael Cox deflected defender Takuya Yamada’s header into the net in the 78th minute. NASL Defensive Player of the Week Frankie Sanfilippo added to the score in the 82nd minute after a great individual run past the Strikers defense and forward Carl Cort scored the third and final goal in the 90th minute to seal the 3-0 Rowdies victory.
Tampa Bay will resume play on Saturday, September 8 at Al Lang Stadium in Downtown St. Petersburg, with kick off scheduled for 7:30 p.m. (ET). The Silverbacks are currently tied for 7th place in the standings with 22 points, posting an overall record of 5-7-12 (W-T-L). Atlanta’s three road victories are tied for third most in the NASL, and they are currently 3-3-6 on the road. The Silverbacks travelled to play FC Edmonton last Sunday and came away with a 2-0 victory, led by forward Matt Horth, who scored both goals. He leads the team with eight goals overall, tied for fourth in the NASL. Ciaran O’Brien has a team-high four assists, placing him eighth in the league in that category. Goalkeeper Daniel Illyes is fourth in the league with 84 saves.
The Rowdies will then go on the road to visit FC Edmonton on Sunday, September 16, with kick off scheduled for 4:10 p.m. (ET) at Clarke Stadium in Edmonton, Alberta. Edmonton is currently tied for 7th in the NASL with 22 points with an overall record of 5-7-12. They have posted a 3-4-4 record when playing at Clarke Stadium. Midfielder Shaun Saiko leads the team with six goals, tied for seventh in the NASL. Goalkeeper Lance Parker is fifth in the NASL, with a goals against average of 1.23.
Tampa Bay will host its last regular season home game against the Carolina RailHawks at Al Lang Stadium in Downtown St. Petersburg on Wednesday, September 19 at 7:30 p.m. (ET). The Railhawks are currently fourth in NASL standings with an overall record of 9-7-7 with 34 points. They have an away record of 3-2-6. Carolina’s Forward Nick Zimmerman is second in the league with 13 goals for the season. Railhawks Midfielder Mike Palacio is third in league with six assists on the season.
The Tampa Bay Rowdies will then travel to play against the Carolina RailHawks at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, North Carolina for the last game of the regular season on September 22nd at 7 pm. The Carolina Railhawks currently have a 6-5-1 home record for the season.