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 Tampa Bay Rowdies

Open Cup Preview: Rowdies vs FC Dallas

May 21, 2024 - United Soccer League Championship (USL)
Tampa Bay Rowdies News Release

The Tampa Bay Rowdies make their return to the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Round of 16 for the first time since 2013 this Wednesday at Al Lang Stadium. Standing in their way of a first-ever trip to the Quarterfinals round of the tournament is Major League Soccer's FC Dallas.

Wednesday will be just the fourth time the Rowdies have hosted an MLS team in the Open Cup. The Rowdies fell to eventual 2023 Open Cup champions Houston Dynamo FC 1-0 at Al Lang Stadium last year. In 2012, they were eliminated at home by Colorado Rapids 3-1. The next year, though, the Rowdies pulled off a memorable 1-0 victory over four-time Open Cup champions, the Seattle Sounders.

"Every player wants to play in the highest games possible, and I think getting a game against MLS opposition is big for us," said Rowdies midfielder Blake Bodily. "You'll see the quality that we have against an MLS team and how we'll do. It'll be a big game for us, but I think we're up for it."

Missing Manu

The Rowdies will be without the player who clinched their spot in the Round of 16 this Wednesday. Manuel Arteaga, who scored twice in extra time to lift the Rowdies over Birmingham in the Round of 32, is out due to red card suspension from the Birmingham match. Arteaga leads the Rowdies in goals in league play with 8 goals through 10 matches so far.

"Manu's been such a pivotal player for us this season," said Rowdies Head Coach Robbie Neilson. "Missing him will be difficult for us. However, it's an opportunity for guys to come in. We have a really good squad here. Those guys will have a great opportunity to come in against an MLS team in our stadium. They'll be up for it."

Club Connections

Wednesday's Open Cup clash will be the first competitive meeting between the Rowdies and Dallas. The Rowdies have a few connections to the MLS side from the Lone Star state, though. Rowdies captain Aaron Guillen and midfielder Eddie Munjoma both began their professional careers as MLS Homegrown signings for Dallas. Additionally, forward Cal Jennings was drafted by Dallas in the 2020 MLS Superdraft, although he ultimately did not end up signing a contract with the club.

Scouting Dallas

Dallas is led by Spanish manager Nico Estévez, who is now in his second season in charge after previously serving as an assistant coach with the U.S. national team and Columbus Crew. Dallas advanced to the Round of 16 after knocking off Memphis 901 FC 1-0 thanks to a goal from forward and U.S. international Jesús Ferreira at Toyota Field. In MLS, Dallas currently sits 12th in the Western Conference and 24th overall in the league standings.

"Dallas are a very good team," said Neilson. "They have a really strong front three, with a lot of pace throughout the team. We feel there are areas we can exploit, but there are areas we obviously need to be very wary of with them."

Availability Report

UNAVAILABLE: Zane Bubb (Knee), Leo Fernandes (Calf), Zachary Herivaux (Knee), Manuel Arteaga (Red Card Suspension), Nate Worth (Ineligible due to prior 2024 Open Cup appearance with FC Tulsa)

Matchday Info:

Tampa Bay Rowdies vs FC Dallas

Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Round of 16

Wednesday, May 22, 7:30 p.m. ET

Al Lang Stadium, St. Petersburg, FL

2024 League Records:

Rowdies (USL Championship): 4W-2L-4D, 16 pts, 5th East (3-1-2 at home)

Dallas (MLS): 3W-6L-3D, 12 pts, 12th West (0-4-2 on the road)

Last Time Out in the Open Cup:

Rowdies: 6-4 over Birmingham Legion FC after extra time

Dallas: 1-0 over Memphis 901 FC

Best Open Cup Finish

Rowdies: Fourth Round/Round of 16, 2013 U.S. Open Cup

Dallas: Open Cup champions (1997, 2016)

Tune in: Wednesday's match will be streamed live on the and

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The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

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