Match Preview: Rowdies Vs Orlando City

2013 I-4 Derby Presented by United World Soccer
Orlando City SC and the Tampa Bay Rowdies announced on November 8, 2012, a home and away preseason friendly starting March of 2013.

Rowdies Head Coach Ricky Hill, “It’s great that we have an opportunity to play Orlando at Al Lang on Saturday. The squad has been working hard to come out of this series with a win and we hope to prove it on the field. It is our first match at Al Lang and we are excited to get back to our home turf, where we have proven to be very strong over the last two seasons.”

On March 9, the Rowdies dropped the first leg 3-2 in Orlando, Fla. Forward Amani Walker had given Tampa Bay an early lead in the first half, but three second-half goals by the Lions gave them a 3-1 lead. A late push by the Rowdies cut the lead to one after a great free kick by midfielder Luke Mulholland.

If the Rowdies win by one goal in the second leg, the series will be decided by penalty kicks. If Tampa Bay wins by two goals or more, the Rowdies will be the champions of the 2013 I-4 Derby Presented by United World Soccer. If the Rowdies draw or lose the second leg, Orlando will be crowned as the 2013 champions.

Orlando City
The Lions first-place finish in the 2012 USL-Pro regular season earned Orlando City their second consecutive regular season title. Entering the playoffs they were favorites but they would go on to lose 4-3 in the semifinals to the Wilmington Hammerheads.

Adrian Heath enters his third season at the helm of Orlando City, playing a traditional 4-4-2. Since the last meeting, the Lions have resigned midfielder Kevin Molino who claimed the 2012 USL PRO MVP honors after finishing the season with seven assists and three goals. Orlando City has also seen the arrival of four players on loan from Sporting Kansas City. The players include Dom Dwyer, Jon Kempin, Christian Duke and Yann Songo’o.

The Tampa Bay Rowdies won their third straight game on Saturday night, defeating Saint Leo University 2-1 at Mitchell Fields. An early goal in the first half by midfielder Luke Mulholland put the Rowdies up 1-0, while second half substitute Devin Del Do doubled the lead in the 49th minute. The Lions would cut the lead to one in the 70th minute after a defensive error from the Rowdies. A late push from the Lions would prove to be unsuccessful, as the Rowdies would hold on for the 2-1 win.

Last Saturday’s match saw the return of Captain Frankie Sanfilippo and forward Mike Ambersley, as well as the debut for goalkeeper Diego Restrepo. The striker was able to get valuable minutes against Saint Leo, hoping to be fully fit by the start of the NASL season. Newcomer Diego Restrepo came on for Andrew Fontein in the second half, earning his first minutes as a Rowdies player.

Source: Tampa Bay Rowdies Media

Tampa Bay Rowdies vs. Orlando City SC
Saturday, March 30, 2013
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.
Location: Al Lang Stadium (230 1st Street SE, St. Petersburg, Fla. 33701)