February 8, 2013 - North American Soccer League (NASL) - Tampa Bay Rowdies
TAMPA, Fla. (February 8, 2012) --
2013 Disney Pro Soccer Classic
Tampa Bay Rowdies vs. DC United
Saturday, February 9, 2013
Kickoff: 8:00 p.m.
Location: ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex (800 Victory Way, Kissimmee, FL 34747)
Admission: Tickets start at $14 using the "Rowdies" promotional code! Click here for more ticket information.
Matches will be streamed live on http://www.mlssoccer.com/live.
The Rowdies will have 13 signed players available for Saturday's match, as well as eight trialists.
2013 Disney Pro Soccer Classic
The tournament consists of three group play games with unlimited substitution. In group play, there will be no overtime, and matches may end in a draw. Standings in the group stage will be determined by awarding 3 points for a win, 1 point for a tie and 0 points for a loss.
The NASL Champions will play a fourth match on Saturday, January 23 against the team that finishes in the same place in Group A. In all four 'Championship Day' matches, there will be no overtime, but any match tied at the end of regulation will move immediately to penalty kicks.
Scouting DC United
Ben Olsen just completed his second full season at the helm of DC United, with a very successful 2012. The Black-and-Red qualified for the MLS Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2007, and reached the Eastern Conference championship for the first time since 2006. They finished in second place in the Eastern Conference behind Sporting KC, with a record of 17-7-10 (W-T-L). DC United picked up 58 points tying the club's 1998 record for the most points during the regular season.
DC United had early success in the playoffs, defeating rivals New York Red Bulls in the conference semifinals on a 2-1 aggregate score. The Black-and-Red would then be knocked out of the MLS Cup Playoffs by the Houston Dynamo, losing 4-2 on aggregate.
DC United has recently played a traditional 4-4-2, with youngster Perry Kitchen featured at the midfield holding spot. He was recently ranked by ESPN.com as the #3 U.S. Soccer player under 21. Up front they recently lost midfielder/forward Andy Najar to R.S.C. Anderlecht, but still boast plenty of talent with players such as Nick Deleon and Chris Pontius.
The defending NASL Champions returned to practice this past Tuesday with many of the same faces that brought the Soccer Bowl trophy back to Tampa Bay.
The Rowdies added stability to the backline by signing veteran defender Jay Needham. Originally from Fort Worth, he joins the Rowdies after playing both the 2011 and 2012 seasons for the Puerto Rico Islanders. He logged more than 2,000 minutes each season in NASL and CONCACAF Champions League play. Returning players include NASL Best XI defender Takuya Yamada and midfielder Luke Mulholland, as well as forward Mike Ambersley, who led the team in 2012 with eight goals and nine assists.
The Rowdies recently announced the trialists for the 2013 preseason, featuring American forward Jemal Johnson, who previously played in the Premier League with the Blackburn Rovers, where he started out in their academy at the age of 16. Johnson has previously suited up for English teams such as Wolverhampton Wanderers, Leeds United and Milton Keynes Dons. Another forward to watch out for in the upcoming weeks is Devin Del Do, a California native who offers speed and skill in the attack. He also has experience playing in the North American Soccer League, having spent the last three seasons with the Minnesota Stars.
Featured at the right back position, former Arsenal FC youngster Anton Blackwood joins the Rowdies as a trialist. The defender began his career with the Gunner's youth system in 2007, winning the Premier Academy League and the FA Youth Cup. The speedster recently made his international debut for Antigua and Barbuda in February of 2012 in a friendly match against Trinidad & Tobago.
Rowdies Head Coach Ricky Hill
"I am really proud with the intensity at practice this week, as the players have worked very hard in preparation for tomorrow's match. DC United has been training for some weeks now, but on the field it is 11 versus 11 and the players know how important it will be to get a good result. With that being said, we know it is our first preseason game and we want to make sure no players come out of the game injured."
The Rowdies continue their participation in the 2013 Disney Pro Soccer Classic on Wednesday, January 13 at 3:00 p.m. when they face the Montreal Impact. For more information on tickets, click here.
The reigning NASL Soccer Bowl Champions will start the 2013 NASL Spring Season by hosting the Carolina RailHawks in its 2013 home opener on Saturday, April 6 at Al Lang Stadium. For information on 2013 season tickets contact the front office at 813-287-1539 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Single-game tickets will go on sale at a later date.