The winner of this year’s Coastal Cup will be decided Saturday night when the Fort Lauderdale Strikers host rivals Tampa Bay Rowdies in the final regular season meeting at Lockhart Stadium. The previous three meetings this season have all ended in 3-1 wins for the team at home.
Fort Lauderdale is in high spirits after defeating the league-leading San Antonio Scorpions last weekend. Player-Coach Abe Thompson lead by example, scoring both goals in his side’s 2-1 victory, picking up NASL Offensive Player of the Week honors for his efforts. The win was the Strikers first-ever against the Scorpions, and extended an impressive eight-match unbeaten streak at Lockhart.
Tampa Bay is coming into this match off of a winless August, going 0-3-1 during the month. The Rowdies started the month with a dramatic 3-3 comeback draw against the Carolina RailHawks, but have failed to score in the three matches that followed. Despite this, the side has lost just two of their last ten matches, and remains level on points with the second-place Islanders.
In the last Florida Derby at Lockhart Stadium, the hosts defeated the Rowdies for the first time since the rebirth of the rivalry in 2010. Abe Thompson and Mark Anderson put the hosts in front after going a goal down before Walter Restrepo capped the off historic victory with an insurance goal in injury time.
Just two points separate the sides in the standings, and a win for the either side could mean moving up to second place. With an opportunity for both teams to clinch a playoff berth, and bragging rights at stake, all signs indicate another great Florida Derby.
Fort Lauderdale Strikers vs. Tampa Bay Rowdies
Saturday, September 1, 2012— 7:30 P.M. EDT
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Webcast: NASL on ustream
2012 Series: Tampa Bay, 2-0-1, 6 points
2011 Series: Tampa Bay, 3-1-0, 10 points
Fort Lauderdale Tampa Bay
Head Coach Daryl Shore Ricky Hill
2012 Records 4th: 9-7-8, 34 points 3rd: 10-6-7, 36 points
Last Five Games W L W T W W T T L T
Goals Leader Mark Anderson (11) Daniel Antoniuk (6),
Tsuyoshi Yoshitake (6)
Assists Leader Walter Restrepo (8) Mike Ambersley (8)
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