Rowdies return to play July 11, as USL announces full season schedule

Tampa Bay will host Atlanta United 2, one of its fellow Group H teams, to restart the season.
Rowdies players work out on the field at Al Lang Stadium in May.
Rowdies players work out on the field at Al Lang Stadium in May. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Published July 2, 2020|Updated July 3, 2020

Professional sports officially return to Tampa Bay next weekend.

In what will be their first game since the USL Championship season was put on hold almost four months ago because of the coronavirus, the Rowdies will host Atlanta United 2 at 7:30 p.m. July 11 at Al Lang Stadium in the new season schedule released Thursday.

The game will be part of the league’s re-opening weekend. The season was shut down March 12 after most teams, including the Rowdies, had played one game.

The season has been shortened to 16 games total from 34, with the 35 teams split into regional groups of four or five each to limit travel. The top two teams in each group will advance to a 16-team single-elimination playoff.

The Rowdies are in Group H with Atlanta United 2, Miami FC and the Charleston Battery. Tampa Bay will play each of those teams four times.

The Rowdies have three two-game homestands: July 11 versus Atlanta United 2 and July 17 versus North Carolina FC; Aug. 16 versus Miami FC and Aug. 22 versus Atlanta United 2; and Sept. 2 versus Miami FC and Sept. 6 versus Philadelphia Union II. All home games will start at 7 or 7:30.

The longest road stretch comes near the end of the season, with three straight games away from Al Lang Stadium: Sept. 11 at the Charleston Battery, Sept. 16 at Atlanta United 2 and Sept. 26 at Miami FC.

The season finale is Oct. 3 at home against the Charleston Battery.

The Rowdies’ only game so far was March 7, when they defeated the New York Red Bulls II 1-0 in their season opener.

It is unclear whether fans will be permitted at games at Al Lang Stadium.

Contact Follow @Kkylewood.

Related: Rowdies, USL confident play will resume in 2020. But questions remain

Rowdies schedule

(all game times TBD except for July 11)

- Saturday, July 11: vs. Atlanta United 2, 7:30 p.m.

- Friday, July 17: vs. North Carolina FC

- Saturday, July 25: @ Birmingham Legion FC

- Friday, July 31: vs. Charleston Battery

- Friday, Aug. 7: @ Miami FC

- Wednesday, Aug. 12: @ Atlanta United 2

- Sunday, Aug. 16: vs. Miami FC

- Saturday, Aug. 22: vs. Atlanta United 2

- Saturday, Aug. 29: @ Charleston Battery

- Wednesday, Sept. 2: vs. Miami FC

- Sunday, Sept. 6: vs. Philadelphia Union

- Friday, Sept. 11: @ Charleston Battery

- Wednesday, Sept. 16: @ Atlanta United 2

- Saturday, Sept. 26: @ Miami FC

- Saturday, Oct. 3: vs. Charleston Battery

Contact Follow @Kkylewood.