Published On: Tue, Jul 3rd, 2012

Strikers Begin Season’s Second Half Against Rival Rowdies

The Fort Lauderdale Strikers (5W-4T-5L) will play their annual Independence Day match against the Tampa Bay Rowdies (6W-3T-5L) at Al Lang Stadium on Wednesday, July 4 at 6:30p.m. EDT. This is the third consecutive season the Strikers and Rowdies have faced off on July 4. The Rowdies are on a three-game win streak with their last two wins coming at home. A Strikers win would put them one point ahead of the Rowdies and potentially as high as third in the NASL Standings.

“Tampa Bay has a lot of confidence right now,” said Strikers head coach Daryl Shore. “They play well at home and they have a tough home field to play on. Our mentality is to build off our win against Carolina and to start learning how to win on the road and get three points for ourselves and our fans.”

This is the third meeting of the season and final regular season matchup at Al Lang Stadium for the cross-state rivals. In the previous two games each home team came away with a 3-1 win. The teams will need to wait nearly two months to play their final regular season game on Sept. 1 at Lockhart Stadium.

After the Strikers’ win in their last meeting, Fort Lauderdale is now 1W-4T-5L all-time against the Rowdies in regular season play.

Strikers’ midfielder Walter Restrepo has had the most success against the Rowdies this season, scoring a goal in each of the first two meetings this year. Mark Anderson is the hottest Striker right now with nine goals in all competitions this season. He has seven goals in league play and three in the last two games.

On Monday, the NASL named Anderson Offensive Player of the Week. Anderson scored both goals in the Strikers’ 2-1 victory against Carolina on Saturday. This is the third Offensive Player of the Week award for a Striker this season with forward Andy Herron receiving the honor the first two weeks of the year.

The Rowdies will look to forward Mike Ambersley, who consistently plays well against Fort Lauderdale. Ambersley scored three times against the Strikers in 2011 and recorded a goal and an assist in the first meeting this year.

Tampa Bay has scored seven goals on their current three-game win streak. Four of those goals coming from forward Tsuyoshi Yoshitake, who leads the team with five and has two assists on the season.

Last week, the Strikers defeated the Carolina RailHawks 2-1 at Lockhart Stadium. Strikers midfielder Mark Anderson scored twice in the match. Carolina’s goal came from forward Nick Zimmerman late in the second half. The Strikers passed the RailHawks to move into fifth place in the NASL standings with 19 points.

The Rowdies won their third straight game against the Minnesota Stars at Al Lang Stadium by a 2-0 final score. The Rowdies moved ahead of Minnesota into third in the NASL standings.

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