Having faced the Puerto Rico Islanders twice on the road this season, the Tampa Bay Rowdies host the Islanders for the first time this season at Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg, Florida. The Rowdies haven’t beaten the Islanders in six meetings since the start of the 2011 NASL season.
The hosts are coming off of a 1-0 win versus FC Edmonton. Luke Mulholland scored the winner in the 89th minute for the shorthanded Rowdies, who were down a man for almost an hour after Tsuyoshi Yoshitake was controversially sent off in the first half.
The Islanders were the latest scalp to be claimed by an invigorated Atlanta Silverbacks side. Eric Wynalda and his new-look side got the better of Adrian Whitbread and co., pulling off a 2-1 victory at Silverbacks Park. Down by two, Gregory Richardson finally got the Islanders on the board in the 86th minute, but it was nothing more than a consolation goal as the Silverbacks held firm to prevent the Islanders from finding the equalizer.
In the previous encounter, the Islanders won a hard-fought match by two goals to nil in Bayamon, Puerto Rico. Rowdies’ goalkeeper Jeff Attinella made several saves including denying David Foley from the penalty spot, but couldn’t prevent late goals by Jay Needham and Jarad vanSchaik. A win from either side would mean that team goes to the top of the table ahead of the San Antonio Scorpions, for an hour at least.
Tampa Bay has lost just once at Al Lang Stadium this season, and owns a home regular season mark of 12-5-5 (W-T-L) since the start of the 2011 season. In fact, the Rowdies have lost just twice in their last 15 regular season home games. Tampa Bay’s five home wins in 2012 are tied for second-most in the league and its one loss at home is tied for the fewest in the NASL.
Tampa Bay has won five of its last six matches, including three come-from-behind wins during that stretch.
Tampa Bay Rowdies vs. Puerto Rico Islanders
Saturday, July 21, 2012— 7:30 P.M. EDT
Al Lang Stadium
St. Petersburg, FL
Webcast: NASL on ustream
2012 Series: Puerto Rico, 2-0-0, 6 points
2011 Series: Puerto Rico, 3-1-0, 10 points
Tampa Bay Puerto Rico
Head Coach Ricky Hill Adrian Whitbread
2012 Records 3rd: 8-3-6, 27 points 2nd: 8-4-5, 28 points
Last Five Games W W W L W T L T W L
Goals Leader Tsuyoshi Yoshitake (6) Nicholas Addlery (6)
Assists Leader Mike Ambersley (5) Jonathan Faña (5)
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