The last time the Tampa Bay Rowdies and Minnesota United did battle it was for the 2012 North American Soccer League title and the Florida club prevailed on penalty kicks after a home and away series could not separate the rivals.
This Saturday at 3.30pm ET, the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minnesota hosts a Soccer Bowl rematch with the two teams again locked in a tight battle near the top of the table. Both have won twice, drawn twice and lost once in five games so far this season and have an identical goal difference and number of goals scored. That means the fourth standings tiebreaker of superior goal difference away from home is needed to determine Tampa Bay narrowly sits in second place with United third.
Only a week later, the schedule pits the Rowdies and United against each other again in Tampa Bay on May 25 as the teams contest an intriguing back-to-back series.
“These two matches versus Minnesota are key in the final stretch for the Spring Season title and our players know that,” said Rowdies coach Ricky Hill. “Minnesota will be out for revenge from last year's loss in the finals, but we are prepared to go into these two games and hopefully come away with the six points.
“This new Minnesota team has seen the arrival of some great players and they have a great coach like Manny (Lagos). With that being said, our squad has numerous talented players and we are looking forward to what will be a great rematch of last year's Soccer Bowl Final.”
On October 27, 2012, the Rowdies were crowned champions of the NASL after a thrilling shootout victory in front of a sellout crowd of 6,208 at Al Lang Stadium. A 3-1 home win erased Minnesota’s two-goal lead from the first leg at home, then Tampa Bay prevailed as goalkeeper Jeff Attinella made three saves during the penalty shootout after the Rowdies held on through the entire extra time period despite playing a man down.
The Carolina RailHawks have edged three points out in front in pole position in the NASL standings and face a test of their credentials with a visit to the highly charged atmosphere at Atlanta Silverbacks Park at 7.30pm ET on Saturday. The hosts will be eager to make up the one point that separates them from a tie with the three clubs clocked in second place. While Carolina was winning at home last week, Atlanta was stung by a road loss at FC Edmonton, who will sit this week out with the bye.
Sixth placed Fort Lauderdale Strikers meet the San Antonio Scorpions, who are one spot and two points behind them, at Toyota Field at 8.30pm on Saturday knowing a win will catapult either team back into the race to win the Spring Season title and the right to host Soccer Bowl 2013. The Strikers claimed their first win of the campaign last weekend, a three-point haul that has so far eluded the Scorpions as Tim Hankinson’s side have two draws to their credit.
Week Seven Schedule (All kickoff times US EST)
Saturday, May 18
Minnesota United FC vs. Tampa Bay Rowdies
Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, Minnesota MN, 3.30pm ET
Atlanta Silverbacks vs. Carolina RailHawks
Atlanta Silverbacks Park, Atlanta, GA, 7.30pm
San Antonio Scorpions vs. Fort Lauderdale Strikers
Toyota Field, San Antonio, TX, 8.30pm ET
Bye week: FC Edmonton
All games will be streamed live and can be watched via the NASL official website www.NASL.comand at each respective team website.
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|New York Cosmos||14||9||4||1||10||31|
|Tampa Bay Rowdies||14||5||5||4||3||20|
|Minnesota United FC||14||6||2||6||2||20|
|Fort Lauderdale Strikers||14||5||3||6||-2||18|
|San Antonio Scorpions||14||3||1||10||-9||10|
|San Antonio Scorpions||12||6||2||4||4||20|
|Tampa Bay Rowdies||12||5||3||4||5||18|
|Minnesota United FC||12||4||2||6||-5||14|
|Fort Lauderdale Strikers||12||2||2||8||-14||8|