Soccer News: Wednesday’s Florida Derby Between Fort Lauderdale Strikers And Tampa Bay Rowdies Kicks Off Week 14 Of The Fall Season
Rowdies and San Antonio Scorpions meet in ESPN3’s NASL Match of the Week this Saturday, Carolina RailHawks Visit FC Edmonton in big matchup on Sunday
Several teams with aspirations of filling one of the three remaining spots in The Championship, the league’s four-team postseason tournament, could be putting their North American Soccer League (NASL) season on the line in Week 14.
A win this week is almost a must for several teams, and two of them will be squaring off on Wednesday night in one of the league’s most intense rivalries, the Florida Derby. The Tampa Bay Rowdies host the Fort Lauderdale Strikers at Al Lang Stadium at 7:30 p.m. ET in a matchup between two sides that are battling for the final spot in The Championship, which is currently held by the Carolina RailHawks. The Florida Derby can be seen on NASLLive.com and will air locally on WTTA Great 38.
Wednesday’s match will kick off a slate of six Week 14 games, which includes ESPN3’s NASL Match of the Week between the Rowdies and Scorpions on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. CT (8:30 p.m. ET) at Toyota Field. All Week 14 encounters will be available for fans to watch live on NASLLive.com. Fans can purchase both fall season and monthly subscriptions at NASLLive.com now, allowing them to watch every single league matchup live.
In addition to battling for a position in The Championship, the Rowdies and Strikers will be competing for their rivalry trophy, the Coastal Cup, on Wednesday. The Rowdies have won 10 of their last 14 NASL matchups against the Strikers since 2011, however, Fort Lauderdale won the last meeting 1-0 at home on August 2. The Strikers are just two points behind the RailHawks, who currently hold the final spot in The Championship, with a game in hand. The Rowdies are six points back from the RailHawks with two games in hand.
“Every game now is crucial,” said Strikers coach Günter Kronsteiner. “We have to play our best and get as many points on the road as possible this coming week. Tampa Bay is a tough team, especially at home, but our guys are playing with confidence after beating a very good Carolina team.”
Rowdies Head Coach Ricky Hill, whose team has struggled with just one victory in its last six games, also commented on Wednesday’s Florida Derby: “Far too often this season, we haven’t managed to gain three points at home. We’re trying valiantly to right that and take all three points from this match against the Strikers to keep us in the postseason race. It’s always an exciting match between these two sides and Wednesday night should be no different.”
Saturday’s action kicks off In Indianapolis at IUPUI’s Michael A. Carroll Stadium, where league-leading Minnesota United FC aims to extend its unbeaten streak to six games against Indy Eleven. The match, which kicks off at 7:30 p.m. ET, will air locally on MyINDY TV-23.
It will be the third meeting between the two sides this year, with United having won the first two. The last meeting between the two clubs took place on August 16 at NSC Stadium, ending in a comfortable 5-1 victory for the Loons.
“Our guys know there’s a wonderful opportunity to be had Saturday against Minnesota United FC,” said Indy Eleven Head Coach Juergen Sommer. “We have another solid road result to build off of, and I’m confident our players – and our fans – will be ready to introduce a very good Minnesota club to the league’s best environment Saturday night.”
Elsewhere, the league’s defending champions, the New York Cosmos, continue their homestand on Saturday when they host Ottawa Fury FC at Hofstra University’s James M. Shuart Stadium at 7:30 p.m. ET. The encounter can be seen on ONE World Sports and heard on the radio via Canada’s TSN 1200.
Fury FC enters its third ever matchup against the Cosmos on a four-game unbeaten streak away from home. The Cosmos, who are currently third in the NASL Combined Standings, have won their last two matchups against the Canadian side – both 1-0 victories. The last time both teams met was during the opening weekend of the Fall Season – a match that was played in front of a crowd of 14,593 at TD Place.
In Atlanta, the Silverbacks will look to end their six-game losing streak under newly appointed head coach Alejandro Pombo, hosting the Strikers at 7:30 p.m. ET at Atlanta Silverbacks Park. It will be the second game in four days for the Strikers, who are unbeaten in their last four matches against the Silverbacks. The last time both squads faced off was on August 16 – a match that ended in a 1-1 draw at Lockhart Stadium.
Rounding out Saturday’s encounters is the NASL Match of the Week between the Rowdies and Scorpions. In addition to airing on ESPN3, the matchup will be shown locally in San Antonio on MeTV KSAT 12.2.
The Scorpions, who are second in the Combined Standings, are even with the Rowdies in the head-to-head series. The last time both teams met was on July 26 when the visiting Scorpions earned a 2-0 shutout victory over the Rowdies at Al Lang Stadium.
“Our overall goal remains the same – to continue evolving, fine-tuning, and progressing as a unit to impose our style of play and dictate the flow of the game to achieve our long-term ambitions for the season,” said Scorpions Head Coach Alen Marcina. “But we’re cognizant of the threats Tampa Bay poses and their motivation going into the game, therefore, we’ll be fully focused on getting three points on Saturday night.”
Rounding out Week 14 of the Fall Season is a crucial clash north of the border. FC Edmonton puts its five-game home unbeaten streak on the line when it meets the Carolina RailHawks at Clarke Stadium at 2 p.m. MT (4 p.m. ET). In addition to airing live on NASLLive.com, the game will air locally on Edmonton’s City TV.
The RailHawks, who currently occupy the last qualifying spot in The Championship, lead the series against the Eddies, however, the Canadian club has won the last three encounters. The previous match took place on August 16 at WakeMed Soccer Park, with Edmonton escaping as 3-2 winners.
“We definitely have four ‘cup finals’ left. We know the significance, as does Carolina, of gaining three points on Sunday,” said FC Edmonton Head Coach Colin Miller. “We’ve been playing very well at home and want to continue our winning ways, but we know Colin Clarke has made some positive changes in his team. I expect to see a cracking game on Sunday.”
NASL Fall Season Week 14 Schedule
Wednesday, October 8
Tampa Bay Rowdies vs. Fort Lauderdale Strikers
Al Lang Stadium; St. Petersburg, Fla. 7:30 p.m. ET
Saturday, October 11
Atlanta Silverbacks vs. Fort Lauderdale Strikers
Atlanta Silverbacks Park; Atlanta, Ga. 7:30 p.m. ET
Indy Eleven vs. Minnesota United FC
IUPUI’s Michael A. Carroll Stadium; Indianapolis, Ind. 7:30 p.m. ET
New York Cosmos vs. Ottawa Fury FC
Hofstra University’s James M. Shuart Stadium; Hempstead, N.Y. 7:30 p.m. ET
San Antonio Scorpions vs. Tampa Bay Rowdies
Toyota Field; San Antonio, Tex. 8:30 p.m. ET
Sunday, October 12
FC Edmonton vs. Carolina RailHawks
Clarke Stadium; Edmonton, Alberta 4 p.m. ET