NASL's Tampa Bay Rowdies will travel to face Orlando City SC of USL PRO in the first-leg of the I-4 Derby, presented by United World Soccer, at the ESPN's Wide World of Sports Complex on Wednesday, April 30, at 7:30 pm ET.
You can follow the live updates on Twitter at @RowdiesGameday.
2014 Records (W-T-L)
Tampa Bay (NASL): 0-2-1
Orlando City (USL Pro): 4-2-0
The first I-4 Derby was played last year when the Rowdies were still in preseason. Orlando won both legs by a 3-2 score. The Rowdies are 0-3-1 all-time against the Austin Aztex, the club which moved to Orlando overnight in 2010.
The Rowdies and Lions haven’t met since the second leg of last year’s I-4 Derby at Al Lang Stadium in March 30, 2013. Kevin Molino and Adama Mbengue put Orlando up 2-0 by the 33rd minute before goals by Takuya Yamada just before halftime and Amani Walker just after the break leveled the score. Orlando loanee Dom Dwyer scored the winner in extra time.
The Rowdies are coming off their first loss of 2014, a 3-1 loss to the defending NASL finalist Atlanta Silverbacks on Saturday night at Al Lang Stadium. Defending NASL Golden Ball winner Georgi Hristov scored his first goal of the season, assisted by Darel Russell. Goalkeeper Matt Pickens successfully saved his second penalty of the season, while forward Carl Cort made his season debut as a substitute in the 64th minute. The Rowdies will look for their first win of the NASL Season this Saturday when they travel to face the San Antonio Scorpions, who just defeated the New York Cosmos this past Saturday.
Orlando City returns to Florida after a two-match road trip in third-division league play. The Lions beat FC Dallas Reserves 3-2 and Oklahoma City Energy 2-1. Molino leads the team in scoring with four goals. After finishing second in the 2013 USL Pro Regular Season, they would go on to defeat the Charlotte Eagles 7-4 in the USL Pro Championship match. On November 19, 2013, OCSC officially became Major League Soccer's 21st franchise, joining the league in 2015.
Head Coach Ricky Hill
"We know it’s going to be a competitive game. I’m hoping that we can turn the tables on Orlando. This year, we’re more prepared than we have been in the past, fitness-wise, conditioning-wise and match readiness. We’re looking forward to a game whereby we can exercise some of the disappointment from Saturday night. It’s important that the guys come out with a positive mentality to get back into a winning habit for the rest of our league schedule. The first thing is to ensure that we keep a clean sheet for as long as we can, but outside of that, we need to then get our rhythm and take the game to Orlando and score some goals.”
Next, the Rowdies hit the road for a two-match swing, first visiting San Antonio and Ottawa before returning to Al Lang Stadium to face the rival New York Cosmos on May 17 and the Fort Lauderdale Strikers on May 24. A fireworks display will follow both of those matches and a $20 “May Madness” package includes a ticket to both matches and can be purchased by calling (877) ROWDIES.