Two teams level on points near the top of the table, the Tampa Bay Rowdies and the Puerto Rico Islanders have a chance to clinch a spot in the playoffs Saturday night at Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg, Florida. The winner of the match takes sole possession of second place, and could qualify for the playoffs depending on the result of FC Edmonton’s clash with Minnesota Stars FC.
The hosts are coming into the match off of a 4-0 defeat to the San Antonio Scorpions in the Alamo City on Sunday. The loss was just the second for the Rowdies in the last ten matches, though it was the third match in a row the Rowdies failed to win, and second match in a row the Rowdies failed score. The team will be looking to put the match behind them as they return home to Al Lang Stadium, where they have lost just once all season.
In the Islanders’ first match back at the Juan Ramón Loubriel Stadium, the team was held to a scoreless tie by the Fort Lauderdale Strikers in front of 7,192 fans. The single point was enough to move the Islanders into second place in the standings, ahead of the Rowdies solely on goal difference.
Historically, the Islanders have dominated the series against Tampa Bay and were undefeated against them until the last meeting. On July 21, the Rowdies finally defeated Puerto Rico, their first win in the series since the start of the 2011 season. Team Captain Frankie Sanfilippo opened the scoring before Mike Ambersley doubled the lead for the Rowdies at Al Lang Stadium, the match ending 2-0.
For both the Islanders and the Rowdies, clinching a playoff berth relies on Edmonton failing to beat the Stars on Saturday night. If Edmonton does defeat the Stars, the Islanders and Rowdies will have to wait until the next matchday to qualify for the postseason. With a shot to clinch the playoffs, both teams will be eager for a victory.
Tampa Bay Rowdies vs. Puerto Rico Islanders
Saturday, August 25, 2012— 7:30 P.M. EDT
Al Lang Stadium
St. Petersburg, FL
Webcast: NASL on ustream
2012 Series: Puerto Rico, 2-0-1, 6 points
2011 Series: Puerto Rico, 3-1-0, 10 points
Tampa Bay Puerto Rico
Head Coach Ricky Hill Adrian Whitbread
2012 Records 3rd: 10-5-7, 35 points 2nd: 10-5-7, 35 points
Last Five Games W W T T L L W W L T
Goals Leader Daniel Antoniuk (6) Nicholas Addlery (8)
Tsuyoshi Yoshitake (6)
Assists Leader Mike Ambersley (8) Jonathan Faña (5)
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