PREVIEW | Rowdies vs. Eddies

The Tampa Bay Rowdies need a win when they host FC Edmonton in order to have a chance at the Spring Season title
FC Edmonton Staff | Jun 5, 2015

FC Edmonton takes on the Tampa Bay Rowdies in the penultimate match of both sides’ NASL Spring Season, with kickoff set for June 6 at 7:30 p.m. ET at Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg. The sixth-place Eddies will aim to close a four-point gap on the Rowdies, Carolina RailHawks, and Minnesota United who sit in second through fourth in the league table with 13 points apiece.

Coming off a match that saw their side finishing with eight men on the pitch, the Rowdies will need to regroup with three regulars suspended due to red cards issued against Indy Eleven. In addition to their suspensions, Tampa will have to overcome a last-minute Indy Eleven goal that stole a precious two points from their grasp in a heated race atop the table.

Tampa (3W-4D-1L, 13 points) will face Edmonton without team-leading goalscorer Maicon Santos, who was one of three Rowdies issued a red card alongside teammates Stefan Antonijevic and league assist leader Georgi Hristov. In addition to a goal this season, defender Antonijevic had started and played in every minute of the NASL season and will leave a major void on Tampa Bay’s back line against Edmonton’s league-leading attack. The team will also be without the services of midfielder Richard Menjivar, who departed Tuesday for national team duty with El Salvador.

Edmonton (2-3-3L, 9) comes into Saturday’s match following their strongest defensive effort of the season against Ottawa Fury FC. The team’s performance earned them their first clean sheet of the year and goalkeeper John Smits was rewarded with an NASL Team of the Week nomination. Smits wasn’t the only player to receive recognition this week as midfielder Lance Laing received a call up to Jamaica’s 23-man roster for this month’s Copa América tournament. Laing will feature in Saturday’s match before departing next week to join his national squad.

“It’s a huge game for us,” FC Edmonton head coach Colin Miller explained. “We can go a point behind the Rowdies if we can get a result. They have got a terrific squad, I know they’ll be missing four players that were involved on Saturday. They’ll have to make some adjustments, but I know Thomas [Rongen] has brought in some quality players and there were some quality players already there before. We will still have to be at our very best, it’s a difficult test.”

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