Match preview: Rowdies vs Birmingham
September 22, 2022 – United Soccer League (USL) Championship – Tampa Bay Rowdies Press Release
Match day info:
Tampa Bay Rowdies vs. Birmingham Legion FC
Friday, September 23, 7:30 p.m. ET
Al Lang Stadium, St. Petersburg, Florida
Tickets: Fans can buy tickets for the match here or at the Al Lang ticket office from 4 p.m. on match day.
Pre-Game Show: Get ready for the game with the pre-game show hosted by The Unused Substitutes podcast. The show begins at 6:30 p.m. ET on Twitch.TV/RowdiesGG.
Legacy Night Giveaway: The first 2,000 fans through the doors on Friday night will receive a commemorative front page of the newspaper celebrating the 2012 Rowdies Championship.
Watch: Fans can stream the game on ESPN+.
Follow us: live updates on Twitter at @RowdiesGameday.
The Tampa Bay Rowdies return to Al Lang Stadium this Friday after two tight road losses. They face an in-form Birmingham Legion FC side and find themselves tied with the Rowdies on 54 points in the Eastern Conference standings. Tampa Bay still has an important game in hand over Birmingham.
“Every year, like us, Birmingham have kept the real core of their team. I think their core is at its peak. Because of their consistency, their quality, they’re just in a really good position. They’re tough opponents. because they’re trying to get to where we were and I’m sure their guys are very motivated for that.
Friday is the first of Tampa Bay’s final five games before the start of the USL Championship preseason. The Rowdies will play four of those final games at home, needing only to travel to the West Coast for a game against Monterey Bay next Saturday. A homestand to end the season gives the Rowdies a great chance to pick up points heading into the playoffs. The Rowdies have not suffered a home defeat since April 30.
Points are valuable to the Rowdies, who are always trying to finish as high in the standings as possible to secure at least first-round home advantage. They are currently in a precarious position as the third team in the East, just two points clear of fifth-placed Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC.
“We want to win a game on Friday night,” Collins said. “We’re very focused on where we are, and it’s Birmingham at home and performing well. The best way to go into the playoffs playing well, full of confidence. Right now I’m just focusing on how we get a good performance on Friday because I think that’s the most important thing.”
Cochran’s season is coming to an end
The Rowdies will face the rest of the season without their regular starter in net. Goaltender CJ Cochran is out for the remainder of the year after undergoing successful surgery this week for a broken tibia suffered in last week’s loss to Detroit. With Cochran out for Friday’s game, Phil Breno is set to make his first start for the Rowdies since joining the club on loan from USL League One Forward Madison FC in July. Prior to signing with Forward Madison in early 2021, Breno made ten USL Championship appearances with the Charleston Battery.
2012 Championship Meeting
The 2012 Rowdies team who won the club’s second outdoor league title are due to meet at Al Lang on Friday evening. The team will take part in a pre-match autograph session before being honored at a ceremony on the pitch at half-time. acknowledging their momentous win in the second leg of the 2012 NASL Soccer Bowl Final.
75/10 Club Unveiling
The Rowdies are also set to unveil the new ’75/10 Club’ on Friday, which will honor and recognize those who have helped make the Rowdies an iconic name in football through their contributions on the pitch and in the community. Mike Connell, Perry Van der Beck and Keith Savage will be the first members inducted into the 75/10 Club. During the half-time induction of Friday’s game, each player will have their name inscribed on the Al Lang stands.
Sebastian Guenzatti is one goal away from setting a new all-time record with Rowdies. He is now tied with Georgi Hristov at 60 goals for the Green & Gold.
Forward Kyle Greig is approaching 15,000 minutes played in the USL Championship regular season. He currently sits at 14,816 minutes played heading into the weekend.
Leo Fernandes and Hilton are both approaching 30 regular season assists in the USL. Both are currently at 28 assists.
Leo Fernandes is approaching his 150th appearance for the Rowdies. He’s at 148 going into Saturday’s game.
Lewis Hilton is approaching his 200th appearance in the USL regular season championship. He is currently at 198 appearances.
OUT: Jake Areman, Thomas Vancaeyezeele, CJ Cochran, Robert Castellanos
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