Match Center

  • CompetitionNASL
  • Attendance4331
  • Date24 May 14
  • VenueAl Lang Stadium
Tampa Bay Rowdies
Tampa Bay Rowdies 3
Fort Lauderdale Strikers 2
Fort Lauderdale Strikers

W. Hunt45'

A. Wallace62'

B. Wagner90'

19'M. Anderson

34'S. Chin

Match Preview: Tampa Bay Rowdies vs. Fort Lauderdale Strikers

Match Preview: Tampa Bay Rowdies vs. Fort Lauderdale Strikers



The first of three games for this year’s state rivalry clash has Tampa Bay Rowdies welcoming Fort Lauderdale Strikers at Al Lang Stadium live on ESPN3.  Along with the league’s season, the two sides will also play for the Coastal Cup during the 2014 Florida Derby as the Rowdies have won the last four during the NASL’s modern era.  Rowdies dropped a 3-0 encounter at home to New York Cosmos last Saturday, while the Strikers were beaten 3-1 at Minnesota United FC.  Rowdies have won nine of 12 encounters against the Strikers since 2011, which includes a perfect record of 6-0-0 at Al Lang Stadium.  The last meeting between the two squads was on October 12, 2013 when goals from Luke Mulholland and forward Luck Mkosana gave Tampa Bay a 2-1 win over visiting Fort Lauderdale.

Last Five Games:  TBR–T L W T L       FTL – L W W W L              


Stats leaders:
TBR-Goals – Georgi Hristov (2); Assists – Keith Savage, Darel Russell, Blake Wagner (1)
FTL-Goals – Martin Nuñez (4); Assists – Ivan Guerrero (3)

FTL-Martin Nuñez

NASL Head-to-Head: (12 meetings): Rowdies 9 wins, 1 tie, 2 losses – 28 GF/12 GA (+16 GD)
At Rowdies: (6 meetings): Rowdies 6 wins, 0 ties, 0 losses— 18 GF/5 GA (+13 GD)
Last Fall Season: (2 meetings): Rowdies/Strikers 1 win, 0 ties, 1 loss — 3 GF/3 GA (0 GD)
Last Meeting: October 12, 2013 at Al Lang Stadium— Rowdies 2-1 Strikers

Coaches quotes:
“The rivalry with Fort Lauderdale is a great rivalry. It's been fantastic over the course of many years. Fort Lauderdale has been there since the get-go. We always have difficult games against them because they're an attacking-minded team. I'm hoping that our players understand we expect a big performance from them.” – Rowdies coach Ricky Hill

“It’s going to be very important game for us but it’s going to be tough with the injuries we have and Martin Nuñez not being able to play (due serving a red card suspension).  Tampa is better than their record says, and we always have a tough time there, but our guys are still feeling confident about themselves and about our season.” – Strikers coach Günter Kronsteiner

Referee: Robert Sibiga
Asst 1: Daniel Gutierrez
Asst 2: Alexander Derostaing
4th: Abdel Kuttaineh


Tampa Bay Rowdies 3 Fort Lauderdale Strikers 2

Second half goals from defenders Willie Hunt, Blake Wagner and midfielder Anthony Wallace gave the host Tampa Bay Rowdies a 3-2 come-from-behind victory over Fort Lauderdale Strikers in the first match of the Florida Derby at Al Lang Stadium on Saturday evening.


Second half goals from defenders Willie Hunt, Blake Wagner and midfielder Anthony Wallace gave the host Tampa Bay Rowdies a 3-2 come-from-behind victory over Fort Lauderdale Strikers in the first match of the Florida Derby at Al Lang Stadium on Saturday evening.

Fort Lauderdale led 2-0 at the 34 minute mark, but a goal from Willie Hunt in first-half stoppage time put the Rowdies on the comeback trail. Anthony Wallace equalized the affair with a stunning goal in the 62nd minute to set up Wagner’s late winner. All three goals came from the Rowdies’ backline as Tampa Bay scored multiple goals in a game for the first time this season.

“It was tremendous. I’m very happy,” Rowdies coach Ricky Hill said. “It’s a big three points, but it is only three points. Being 2-nil down with our difficulties at home, I must applaud our fans for sticking with the team and supporting them. The ovation we got at halftime, even though we were losing, must have lifted the team. I’m happy we were able to reward the fans.”

Mark Anderson and Shawn Chin scored goals to put the Strikers ahead in the 19th and 34th minute, respectively, but the Rowdies piled the pressure on in search of a goal as the half continued on.

Georgi Hristov earned a penalty kick for Tampa Bay in the 34th minute, but Fort Lauderdale goalkeeper Oka Nikolov made the save to keep the Rowdies off the board.

Nikolov was omnipresent in the opening half, saving from point-blank range on a number of occasions as Lucky Mkosana and Christophe Lallet wreaked havoc in the box. Nikolov recorded nine saves in the first half to keep the Rowdies off the board until late. He finished with 13.

“I have to commend the players for having the resilience to play for the whole game even when we were 2-nil down,” Hill said. “We missed a penalty when we were 2-nil down. A lot of teams could have dropped their heads and felt sorry for themselves, but this lot didn’t. Credit to our guys for showing great character and commitment.”

Fort Lauderdale’s Carlos Salazar was dismissed from the match after picking up a second yellow card in the 41st minute. Up a man, the Rowdies drove the Strikers legs to exhaustion.

Hunt started the rally with a headed goal in first-half stoppage time, his first goal of the season.

Wallace pulled the Rowdies even with a sharp right-footed shot from well outside the 18-yard box that dipped and curved between defenders before buzzing past Nikolov and into the net. Midfielder Shane Hill laid the ball off to Wallace about seven yards beyond the edge of the box. Wallace took his time and weighed his options before blasting home.

“They were a man down so they were just trying to pack everything in and sit back,” Wallace said. “I figured, ‘Why not step up and take that space?’ Shane fed me the ball with a lot of time, I lifted my head, put it back down and struck it.”

The Strikers looked to have secured a point before Wagner’s strike sent the fans home happy and sent the Rowdies into Wednesday’s U.S. Open Cup tie against Orlando City with some momentum.

“It’s sweet,” Wagner said. “It’s sweet because we got a win and that’s what we needed. It’s not just for me, it’s sweet for everybody. I hope this sparks us moving forward.”