Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Two games carry extra weight toward Tampa Bay Rowdies' playoff hopes

TAMPA — With 10 games left on the regular-season schedule and the Tampa Bay Rowdies holding onto a playoff spot by a thread, the next two games are crucial to their postseason hopes.

Tonight Tampa Bay faces Puerto Rico, which, along with Montreal, is tied with the Rowdies for seventh place in the U.S. Soccer Federation Division 2 with 24 points, albeit having played one fewer game. Should the postseason start today, the Rowdies and Puerto Rico would secure the final playoff slots while Montreal would be left out based on goal differential.

Saturday, the Rowdies square off against Miami, last in the USSF D2 standings with 19 points, for the fourth and final installment of the Coastal Cup rivalry.

For the Rowdies, wins this week against teams below them in the standings would put them on solid footing heading into the stretch run.

"They're massive games, and it's tough because I believe we've got the players to do it, but you know, Drew Yates comes off injured and then Long Tan's suspended," coach Paul Dalglish said. "That's another two people unavailable for the game."

Yates injured his ankle in the Rowdies' last outing, a 4-2 loss to Austin on Saturday, and Dalglish ruled him out for tonight.

Tan, who has started 19 league games, played in all 20 and has been one of the Rowdies' most consistent performers all season, picked up a red card in the 38th minute of the Austin loss and is suspended for the Puerto Rico match.

"We really are spread thin," Dalglish said. "It's just great that we've got so many good players that we can still put a team that's competitive on the field."

MORE INJURY NEWS: Dalglish indicated forward Aaron Wheeler, who has been sidelined since a June 19 loss at Puerto Rico with a stress reaction in his shin, could be available Saturday.

"Not to start but to play some part in the game," Dalglish said.

Midfielder Jeremy Christie should return to training with the club next week. Last week, Dalglish was hopeful fullback Gordon Kljestan would be back in the lineup, but his return has been delayed.

"Gordon might be another week after Jeremy," Dalglish said.

Central midfielder Scott Buete is another four or five weeks away and might be back in time for the playoffs should the Rowdies qualify. As for Erik Ustruck, Dalglish was doubtful the midfielder would return this season.

"We'd like to try to get him back this season, but that's going to be tough," Dalglish said.

DEFENSIVE WOES: Dalglish labeled the Rowdies' defensive performance against Austin, a game in which the team allowed four goals in the first half, their worst of the season.

"Really, really surprising how bad we were defensively, because they were mistakes that we'd been speaking about since the start of the season that they made again," Dalglish said. "Sometimes you can't sugarcoat it. You can try and be positive but sometimes you've got to tell the truth as well. The truth about the performance was that it was very, very poor defensive play."

Bryan Burns can be reached


Rowdies at

Puerto Rico

When/where: 8,

Bayamon, Puerto Rico

Two games carry extra weight toward Tampa Bay Rowdies' playoff hopes 08/10/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 10, 2010 7:22pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays blow lead in ninth, lose in 10 to Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Rays manager Kevin Cash liked the way Alex Cobb was competing Friday night. He liked the way the hard contact made by the Rangers batters went away after the second or third inning. So as the game headed toward the ninth, there was no doubt in Cash's mind that sending Cobb back to the mound was …

    Rays starter Alex Cobb can hardly believe what just happened as he leaves the game in the ninth after allowing a leadoff double then a tying two-run homer to the Rangers’ Shin-Soo Choo.
  2. Rays journal: Steven Souza Jr. gets extra day off to let hip heal

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — RF Steven Souza Jr. ran in rightfield before batting practice under the watchful gaze of the Rays training staff and manager Kevin Cash. Afterward, Souza told Cash he could use one more day of rest before playing on the left hip he strained Wednesday in Oakland.

    Tampa Bay Rays second baseman Brad Miller (13) gets a hug from right fielder Steven Souza Jr. (20) after his solo home run in the fourth inning of the game between the Texas Rangers and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, July 21, 2017.
  3. Rays vs. Rangers, 7:10 p.m. Saturday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Rangers

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: FS1; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

  4. Roger Mooney's takeaways from Friday's Rays-Rangers game

    The Heater

    Looks like LF Corey Dickerson is coming out of his funk at the plate — .186 average in past 16 games entering Friday. He had two hits Wednesday in Oakland and three hits Friday against the Rangers. Okay, one was an infield hit that bounced high in front of the plate, but the other was a long home run to …

  5. History shows Ole Miss upheaval tough to overcome


    After Mississippi football coach Hugh Freeze resigned Thursday, with the opener six weeks away, offensive line coach Matt Luke is being thrown into an interim head coaching position. He will try to save a season that already had been scarred by a self-imposed bowl ban for NCAA violations.

    After coach Jim Tressel resigned, Ohio State went 6-7, including a loss to Florida in the Gator Bowl, in 2011.