Saturday will mark the first meeting in 2013 between the Rowdies and the Striker, a rivalry that is known for its history that dates back to the 1970’s. For many players on the Rowdies squad, Lockhart Stadium will be a familiar scene as they return to Ft. Lauderdale nearly eight months after they clinched both a playoff spot and the Coastal Cup on September 1 of last year. There will also be several new faces in this year’s initial derby, as the newcomers are eager to get on the pitch on Saturday and bring back the three points to Tampa Bay.
“We know derbies are a unique experience to take part of,” commented forward Georgi Hristov. “I’ve played in some crazy rivalry matches in Bulgaria and Poland over the years and now I am excited to suit up for my first Rowdies-Strikers match.”
For one member of the Rowdies, it will also be a chance to go up against an old teammate, as defender Jay Needham will cross paths with David Foley, who joined the Strikers for the 2013 season.
“I've shared many memories with David at our time with the Islanders,” said the defender. “It will be nice to now be on opposite teams and see who comes out with the bragging rights at the end of the match. I’ve known him for a couple years and being close to Florida we always would hear how important this rivalry is to the fans.”
With three consecutive Coastal Cups, Tampa Bay has held the advantage over Ft. Lauderdale in recent years. Since 2010, the Rowdies are unbeaten in 11 of the 12 meetings between both clubs, with the reigning NASL Champions holding a 7-4-1 (W-T-L) record over the Strikers.
“The Rowdies have dominated the Strikers recently and it is up to us to continue the streak on Saturday,” explained forward Amani Walker. “These types of rivalries add to the atmosphere and our fans will surely be in the stands supporting us the entire 90 minutes. We will make sure to do our part on the pitch and come away with the three points.”
Led by Captain Frankie Sanfilippo, the Rowdies will face the Strikers on Saturday, April 27 at 7:30 p.m. The match at Lockhart Stadium in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. will be available via NASL Live on Ustream. Tampa Bay will then return to action at Al Lang Stadium on Saturday, May 4, when they host FC Edmonton at 7:30 p.m. For information on 2013 season tickets or individual tickets contact the front office at 813-287-1539 or email@example.com.
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