The Tampa Bay Rowdies face a tough test against the Montreal Impact as they look to rebound from a 4-0 drubbing against D.C. United in the opening match of the Disney Pro Soccer Classic. Despite a solid first half performance against D.C., a flurry of second half goals from Lionard Pajoy and Taylor Kemp condemned the Rowdies to a disappointing tournament debut.
“The players are eager to get a good result on Wednesday, coming off the loss against D.C. United,” said Rowdies Head Coach Ricky Hill. “We all know this is preseason and that we have recently started practicing, but we want to represent the organization and the league in the best way possible.”
Montreal are currently joint-top of Group B following their 2-1 victory against Sporting Kansas City on Saturday. Italian forward Marco Di Vaio canceled out Graham Zusi’s stunning opener, before last-season’s top draft pick Andrew Wenger scored a second-half winner to stun the MLS Eastern Conference winners.
“Montreal is an experienced side with many skilled players, meaning Wednesday will be a hard-fought battle on the pitch,” said Hill. “We are hoping these games help our squad regain their fitness and momentum, as well as add to their experience as professional players.”
The Rowdies and the Impact are no strangers to one another. Prior to their move to Major League Soccer, the Impact spent nearly two decades in the second division of North American soccer.
In their final season in the NASL, Montreal failed to defeat Tampa Bay in four regular season matches. It will be the first meeting between the two sides since August 10, 2011.
Tampa Bay face Sporting Kansas City in the final group stage match on Saturday, February 12 at 8:00 PM, and will close the tournament with either a championship or consolation match against the team in Group A the finishes in the same position.
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