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Soccer preview: Tampa Bay Rowdies at Miami

Rowdies at Miami

When/where: 7:30 tonight; Lockhart Stadium, Fort Lauderdale

Online: fctampabay.com

The opponent: Miami is last in the U.S. Soccer Federation Division 2 standings with 19 points, with six points separating the Blues from the final playoff spot. In its past two matches, Miami defeated Baltimore 1-0 on Aug. 4 and followed with a 1-1 tie of Puerto Rico on Aug. 7.

Previous meetings: Tonight is the final of four league meetings between the sides in what has been dubbed the Coastal Cup. At home, the Rowdies defeated Miami 2-0 in their last match. The teams tied 1-1 on July 4 and May 1.

Welcome addition: Newly acquired midfielder Ricardo Sanchez has made an immediate impact, scoring three goals in three appearances. On Wednesday, Sanchez's strike from right outside the 18 in the 92nd minute salvaged a much-needed point in a 1-1 tie at Puerto Rico. Sanchez, who came to the Rowdies on July 20, ranks third on the team for total goals. He is tied with Long Tan and trails Aaron King (six) and Aaron Wheeler (four).

Team notes: Tan is serving the final game in a two-game suspension after a red card against Austin on Aug. 7. …Rowdies defender Julian Valentin has two goals this season, both against Miami. … The Rowdies, tied with Montreal and Puerto Rico at 25 points, are still in position to qualify for the playoffs. If the season ended today, the Rowdies and Puerto Rico would enter the postseason; Montreal would stay home.

Bryan Burns, Times staff writer

Soccer preview: Tampa Bay Rowdies at Miami 08/13/10 [Last modified: Friday, August 13, 2010 9:33pm]
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