This incarnation of the Tampa Bay Rowdies will make their debut on an ESPN TV network (not to be confused with ESPN 3 live streaming of NASL and USL games) on Thursday night with an ESPNU national telecast of a home game versus FC Cincinnati. The Rowdies are currently on a seven game winless streak which have dropped the team to third place in the USL Eastern Conference table. FC Cincinnati (FCC) is the story of the year in American soccer having drawn consecutive home crowds of over 30,000 fans for US Open Cup action. FCC will face Miami FC in the US Open Cup Quarterfinal at Florida International University next Wednesday.
Beyond being rivals for supremacy in the USL Eastern Conference, Tampa Bay and FC Cincinnati are competing to join the US’ top division, Major League Soccer (MLS) in its next round of expansion. The USL is a provisionally sanctioned second division by the US Soccer Federation.
Tampa Bay will be without two defenders for this match. Damion Lowe is on international duty with Jamaica at the CONCACAF Gold Cup. Left back Luke Boden, a former standout for Orlando City SC is suspended due to yellow card accumulation. We’ll have much more on the CONCACAF Gold Cup and its Florida ties as well as Tampa venue this weekend at TFS.
The match will be an opportunity for the Rowdies to showcase the clubs product, Al Lang Stadium and Downtown St Petersburg on national TV. Kickoff is set for 8pm ET.