Philadelphia Union will close out their third and final match of the Suncoast Invitational on Saturday against Tampa Bay Rowdies. Kick off for the contest is set for 7:30 p.m. at Al Lang Stadium in Tampa, Florida. The Union will then return home in preparation for the team's Home Opener against New England Revolution on March 3.
Team: Tampa Bay Rowdies
Venue: Al Lang Stadium, Tampa Florida.
Kick Off: 7:30 p.m. ET
2017 Record: 14-7-11, 53 points, 3rd in USL Eastern Conference (2017)
Last Meeting: 1-0 Philadelphia Union victory at Al Lang Stadium, Feb. 18, 2017
Projected Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Akira Fitzgerald; Zac Portillos, Neil Collins, Hunter Gorskie, David Najem; Marcel Schafer, Jack Blake; Leo Fernandes, Joe Cole, Junior Flemmings; Georgi Hristov
Tampa Bay Rowdies had an excellent season last year, where they placed third in the USL Eastern Conference. The Rowdies were able to make it to the 2017 USL Cup playoffs, before falling short to New York Red Bulls II.
The Rowdies were sparked by forward Georgie Hristov. The talented forward led the team last season with 15 goals, which landed him tied for fourth in goals scored in the USL.
Tampa Bay is bolstered by their great midfield heading into the 2018 season. Midfielder Marcel Schafer achieved BEST XI last season for the Rowdies, when he recorded seven goals and 11 assists. The other talented midfielder is high profile English center mid Joe Cole. Cole achieved 2016 BEST XI for the Rowdies, but put up a respectable seven goals and 5 assists in
2017. Their dangerous chance creating, as well as their knack for goal, make this duo a tough one to stop.
The Boys in Blue will have to keep Cole and Schafer in check as they close out their 2018 preseason.