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Tampa Bay Rowdies at Minnesota Thunder soccer game preview

Tonight

Rowdies at Minnesota

When/where: 8; NSC Stadium, Blaine, Minn.

Online: fctampabay.com; nscminnesota.org

The opponent: Minnesota (6-9-2) looks to break a two-game losing streak at home. Tonight's game is the second in a four-game home­stand for the Thunder. In its last game, against Baltimore on Sunday, Minnesota allowed a late goal to fall 1-0.

Previous meetings: Minnesota benefited from a 34th-minute penalty kick to beat the visiting Rowdies 1-0 on April 24. A month later, the Rowdies opened a three-goal lead in the first half to defeat Minnesota 3-1 at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa on May 27.

Christie out: Rowdies midfielder Jeremy Christie, experiencing concussionlike symptoms after getting hit in the head by a free kick in Sunday's tie against Miami, is not traveling with the team and is doubtful for Thursday's home game against Puerto Rico. Results from a CAT scan were encouraging, Rowdies spokesman Jeff Kamis said, but the team decided to err on the side of caution. Christie is cleared to resume practicing next week.

The standings: The Rowdies (5-5-4, 19 points) are in sixth place in the U.S. Soccer Federation Division 2 standings. The top eight teams qualify for the playoffs. The Rowdies are in fifth place in the USL Conference but just one point out of third. Minnesota is tied for third in the conference but has played three more games.

Team leaders: Forwards Aaron King and Aaron Wheeler lead the Rowdies with four goals apiece. Wheeler is sidelined into August with a right shin stress reaction. Forward Brian Cvilikas and midfielder Neil Hlavaty are tied for the Minnesota lead with three goals. Minnesota has allowed the most goals (23) in the league.

Bryan Burns, Times staff writer

Tampa Bay Rowdies at Minnesota Thunder soccer game preview 07/09/10 [Last modified: Saturday, July 10, 2010 12:01am]
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