Soccer News: Tampa Bay Rowdies Host League-Leading Minnesota United FC To Kick Off Week 15 of the NASL Fall Season
Fort Lauderdale Strikers and Carolina RailHawks set to battle it out for the final spot in The Championship in this week’s NASL Match of the Week on ESPN3
Week 15 of the North American Soccer League (NASL) Fall Season kicks off at Al Lang Stadium on Wednesday Night as the Tampa Bay Rowdies try to keep their postseason hopes alive against league-leading Minnesota United FC. The clash in Tampa Bay kicks off a week that will feature six matches – several of which could decide the teams that will participate in The Championship, the league’s four-team postseason tournament.
In addition to Wednesday night’s affair between the Rowdies and United, Week 15 features Saturday matches in Carolina, Minnesota, Atlanta, Indianapolis, and Ottawa. ESPN3’s NASL Match of the Week in Carolina between the RailHawks and Strikers could play a big part in determining which team will occupy the fourth and final spot in The Championship.
All Week 15 encounters will be available for fans to watch live on NASLLive.com. Fans can purchase both fall season and monthly subscriptions at NASLLive.comnow, allowing them to watch every single league matchup live.
The Rowdies, who are coming off a brutal 7-0 road loss to the Scorpions last weekend, are looking to end their six-game winless streak on Wednesday night. Tampa Bay leads the head-to-head series, however, Minnesota is unbeaten in its last five meetings against the Florida side. The last time both teams faced off was on September 6 at NSC Stadium and it ended in a 1-1 draw. Wednesday night’s match will be shown on NASLLive.com and locally on WTTA Great 38 TV.
“We’ve got the series bragging rights at stake tonight because we’ve drawn both games this season,” said Rowdies Head Coach Ricky Hill. “It would be very nice to reward our fans with a home victory that is long overdue. We know that we have to raise our game. It’s a chance to get the three points that we need and put the losses we’ve had in our last two matches behind us.”
On the other side, United, who has already secured its postseason berth as the Spring Season Champion, remains atop the 2014 Combined Standings (Spring/Fall) despite losing to host Indy Eleven, 2-0, last Saturday.
“We know Tampa has been a good, solid team the past couple of years and this year they have been a good club,” said United Head Coach Manny Lagos. “We always have tough competitive matches against them, so we are prepared for a hard-fought game.”
Week 15 picks back up on Saturday when two Canadian rivals face off for the third time this year in league play. Ottawa Fury FC hosts FC Edmonton at TD Place, and the 3 p.m. ET encounter will air locally on Rogers TV and TSN 1200 Radio.
The two sides already have history together after competing against each other in the 2014 Amway Canadian Championship, where the Eddies eliminated Fury FC to reach the semifinals. Ottawa leads the NASL head-to-head series against Edmonton, however, and they will look to prevent the Eddies from improving on their current position in the race for a spot in The Championship. The previous league match between the two clubs took place on July 13, ending in a scoreless draw at Commonwealth Stadium.
After their mid-week game against the Loons, the Rowdies will be back at it on Saturday when they visit the Atlanta Silverbacks at 7:30 p.m. ET at Atlanta Silverbacks Park. Tampa Bay leads the head-to-head series against Atlanta, however, each team has posted one victory against the other this year. The last time both teams faced off was on July 12, when the Rowdies came back from a two-goal deficit to defeat the Silverbacks, 3-2, at Al Lang Stadium.
Up in Indianapolis, Indy Eleven will look for its second consecutive home victory when it welcomes the San Antonio Scorpions to IUPUI’s Michael A. Carroll Stadium. The 7:30 pm ET matchup will air locally on MyINDY TV-23.
The Scorpions, who are currently second in the Combined Standings and have already secured a berth into The Championship, have won the previous two encounters against Indy this year, including the last meeting on August 9 – a 2-0 result at Toyota Field. Meanwhile, Indy is coming off its first NASL home win last weekend when they shut out United, 2-0.
“To break through with our first win at home last weekend was great, but what I enjoyed even more was the consistency and energy the team showed for the full 90 minutes against Minnesota,” said Indy Eleven Head Coach Juergen Sommer. “It really was one of the most complete performances of the season for us, and we’ll try to carry that over against another contender for The Championship in San Antonio.”
Perhaps the biggest matchup on Saturday features the Fort Lauderdale Strikers and Carolina RailHawks. The Strikers will look to extend their unbeaten streak to five matches when they travel to WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C. In addition to being shown on ESPN3, the match can be heard locally on the radio via 99.9HD-3 The Ticket.
Fort Lauderdale, which currently sits in fourth place in the Combined Standings, leads the series against Carolina and claimed a victory in the last encounter – a 1-0 result at Lockhart Stadium on October 4. The RailHawks are just two points behind Fort Lauderdale for the last qualifying spot in The Championship, and they are unbeaten at home against the Strikers.
Rounding on Saturday’s Week 15 clashes is a mouthwatering matchup between United and the New York Cosmos at NSC Stadium. The match will kick off at 7 pm CT (8 p.m. ET), and will be shown locally on KSTC-45 TV.
The Cosmos, who is third in the Combined Standings, are undefeated against Minnesota, winning three of four encounters. The last meeting between the two sides took place on August 23, and ended in a 1-1 draw at Hofstra University’s James M. Shuart Stadium.
“We know that Minnesota will provide a difficult challenge for us on the road this weekend as always,” said Cosmos Head Coach Giovanni Savarese. “I’m very pleased with the way our guys are playing at the moment and I believe we are prepared for this test.”
NASL Fall Season Week 15 Schedule
Wednesday, October 15
Tampa Bay Rowdies vs. Minnesota United FC
Al Lang Stadium; St. Petersburg, Fla. 7:30 p.m. ET
Saturday, October 18
Ottawa Fury FC vs. FC Edmonton
TD Place; Ottawa, Ontario 3 p.m. ET
Atlanta Silverbacks vs. Tampa Bay Rowdies
Atlanta Silverbacks Park; Atlanta, Ga. 7:30 p.m. ET
Indy Eleven vs. San Antonio Scorpions
IUPUI’s Michael A. Carroll Stadium; Indianapolis, Ind. 7:30 p.m. ET
Carolina RailHawks vs. Fort Lauderdale Strikers
WakeMed Soccer Park; Cary, N.C. 7:30 p.m. ET
Minnesota United FC vs. New York Cosmos
NSC Stadium; Blaine, Minn. 8 p.m. ET