Match Preview: Rowdies Visit San Antonio
Tampa Bay Rowdies at San Antonio Scorpions
Saturday, May 3 at 8:30 p.m. ET
Toyota Field, San Antonio, Texas
The match can be seen live on NASLlive.com.
Follow us for live updates on Twitter at @RowdiesGameday.
2014 NASL Spring Records (W-T-L)
Tampa Bay: 0-2-1, 2 points
San Antonio: 2-0-1, 6 points
The Rowdies are 4-0-4 all-time against the San Antonio Scorpions, who debuted as a franchise in 2012. Tampa Bay tallied three wins in four contests last season to even up the all-time series. The Rowdies won 2-0 and 7-4 in their two visits to San Antonio in 2013. The series averages nearly four goals (3.875) per match.
The Rowdies and Scorpions last met on October 19, 2013, a 1-0 Rowdies win at Al Lang Stadium. Midfielder Luke Mulholland scored the only goal of the match on a 76th minute penalty. Tampa Bay’s last visit to San Antonio was a wild 7-4 thriller in the opening match of the 2013 Fall Season. The Scorpions took a 3-0 lead in the opening 18 minutes, but Mulholland, Keith Savage, Evans Frimpong and Amani Walker all scored before halftime to give the Rowdies a 4-3 lead at the break. Georgi Hristov (2) and Etienne Barbara scored in the second half to set a Rowdies record for most goals scored.
The Tampa Bay Rowdies are coming off their first loss of 2014, a 3-1 loss to the defending NASL finalist Atlanta Silverbacks on Saturday night. Defending NASL Golden Ball winner Georgi Hristov scored his first goal of the season, assisted by Darel Russell. Goalkeeper Matt Pickens successfully saved his second penalty of the season.
Forward Carl Cort made his season debut as a substitute in the 64th minute. The Rowdies played the same 4-4-2 formation used against Indianapolis in week two, with Frimpong starting as a midfielder.
Scouting San Antonio
The Scorpions are coming off a 1-0 win on Long Island over the New York Cosmos on April 26. Forward Eric Hassli scored the only goal of the match in the 15th minute and the Scorpions held on to the clean sheet. Hassli is a key player for the Scorpions, having signed for the club this year from Major League Soccer. As a member of the Vancouver Whitecaps in 2011, Hassli scored a wonder goal that was nominated for the FIFA Puskas Award, given to the “most beautiful” goal of the year.
The Scorpions prefer a fluid 4-3-2-1 formation with Hassli playing forward and supported by Danny Berrera and Walter Restrepo.
Head Coach Ricky Hill
“San Antonio will be a big test. Last year, I believe that (7-4 match) was a catalyst that kick-started our season. We’re 3-nil down after 18 minutes and if we didn’t have the resolve and the team spirit and camaraderie that we have at the club, then we could’ve disappeared out of sight. But no, by halftime we’re 4-3 up and everyone knows at the end of the game it’s 7-4. It was the start of our 7-match unbeaten run, but it kick started us. I’m hoping this Saturday can have the same effect. We’ll try to go to San Antonio and earn the victory and the right to put some points on the board and hopefully from that moment, we’ll have the momentum moving forward for the remainder of the year.”
Following this match, the Rowdies continue a two-game road stretch, making their first visit to Ottawa on Saturday, May 10. The Rowdies will then return home to play their biggest rivals, the New York Cosmos on May 17 and Fort Lauder Strikers on May 24. A “May Madness” package is available for $20, which includes one ticket to each match. Fireworks will follow each match and tickets are available by calling (877)ROWDIES.