Keep Your Enemy Closer: Tampa Bay Rowdies

Mar 17, 2017

MIAMI (March 17, 2016) – The Miami FC is set to host, its former Coastal Cup Rivals, the Tampa Bay Rowdies tomorrow, March 18, at 11 a.m. at St. Thomas University. This is the last preseason tune-up before the Orange and Blue begin the 2017 season.

Tough Sledding
2016 saw the Rowdies compete in every match, but fall short or walk away with a point more often than not.

Tampa Bay finished last season with a 9-12-11 record. The 12 draws were tied for a league-high. The Rowdies -1 goal differential was also indicative of a rough season, as they scored 40 goals but allowed 41.

Now in the USL, the Rowdies will hope that a veteran squad and some new additions will help them improve in 2017.

Deadlocked
The Miami FC and the Tampa Bay Rowdies faced off three times last year with neither side coming out on top. All three matches ended in draws seeing eight goals total.

The Miami FC played its first-ever home match on April 9, 2016, hosting the Rowdies. In a hard fought match, a late penalty call would spoil things for the Orange and Blue. Forward Dario Cvitanich opened the scoring in just the 17th minute. The defense did well to absorb the Rowdies attack, but a penalty call in the in the 87th minute would lead to both sides walking away with a point

Round two and three of this bout would be played late in the season just one week apart from each other.

The Miami FC traveled to Tampa Bay’s AL Lang Stadium for the first time on October 1. In a case of role reversal, it would be Miami playing spoilers late in the match as defender Rhett Bernstein knotted the match up in the 74th minute.

Exactly 13 days later, the Rowdies returned to FIU Stadium. The match would see four goals total, with another late score securing another draw. A Jamie Chavez wonder-goal broke the seal in the 16th minute, with Poku giving the Miami FC a 2-0 lead in the 21st minute. Tampa Bay responded six minutes later.

Holding on to a 2-1 advantage, the Miami FC would see the Rowdies draw even in the 67th minute as the two sides shared the points for a third consecutive time.

Players to Watch
Though the Rowdies finished 10th in the 2016 NASL Combined Table, they boasted some of the top attacking players in the league.

Forward Georgi Hristov finished the season with 11 goals, good for fifth in the NASL. Hristov is back with the Rowdies and will look to continue his strong scoring record in his first season in the USL.

Chelsea legend Joe Cole joined the Rowdies midseason and made an instant impact on the team and the NASL.

In 22 matches, Cole accounted for 16 goals. He was able to net nine goals and tally seven assists, with both marks ranking in the top 10 league-wide. His passing ability was most beneficial to the Rowdies as his seven assist were the second most in the NASL and his 57 chances created were the top mark.

Up Next
The 2017 season kicks off on March 25 with the Miami FC coming home for the first time on Saturday, April 8 against the New York Cosmos. Visit MiamiFC.com or call 844-MIAMIFC to get your Season Ticket Plan now, with plans starting at just $10 per match.