The Tampa Bay Rowdies face current first place Louisville FC tonight at home and the game can be seen on TampaBay44.


The top of the table Louisville FC will host the Tampa Bay Rowdies in a big early season match tonight that can be seen on TampaBay44.


The marquee matchup of the weekend in the USL Championship is set to go down at Al Lang Stadium as the Rowdies host rivals Louisville City FC. Tampa Bay will be aiming to take all three points against Louisville, who enter the weekend as the frontrunner for top spot in the Eastern Conference standings and the Players’ Shield race. A Rowdies win this Saturday would help close the points gap between the two sides, who won’t meet again until the regular season finale in October.

“Obviously it’s a huge game for us, and for both teams,” said Rowdies Head Coach Robbie Neilson. “From our perspective, it’s an opportunity to gain some ground on them. They’re a few points ahead at the moment, so if we can get the result at Al Lang it’ll be huge for us, but I’m just looking forward to the game. I think it’ll be two really good teams that try and play soccer the right way and that have some top quality players. It’ll be a brilliant game to be involved in.”

This past weekend, Louisville picked up their 10th victory of the year in a 2-1 result over North Carolina FC at home while the Rowdies closed out their two-match trip to California with a 1-0 loss at Oakland Roots SC. Tampa Bay’s trip out west wasn’t all bad news, as they did hand Sacramento Republic FC their first loss of the season the week before.

“Obviously we didn’t get what we wanted,” said Rowdies Captain Aaron Guillen. “We wanted to come back with six points from two away games. But I think it’s a great learning lesson that we’re taking from it, especially with more games coming up on the road. Ultimately the Oakland game is one we’ll learn from.”

New Faces in the Rivalry

A new season brings opportunities for new players to make their mark in the Tampa Bay-Louisville rivalry. Louisville’s Adrien Perez, a former teammate of first-year Rowdies Blake Bodily and Nick Moon, is a new face among Louisville’s ranks but, like Bodily, he leads his squad with five assists.

Veteran goalkeeper Jordan Farr, who led San Antonio FC to victory over Louisville in the 2022 USL Championship Final, will get his first taste of the rivalry this Saturday at Al Lang Stadium.

“I’ve gotten to watch Louisville-Tampa Bay throughout the years, and it’s always a heated, intense match that has just a ton of quality on both sides of the pitch,” said Farr. “To be involved in it is nice, especially as part of an Eastern Conference title battle that is going to be tight at the end of the year. These are points that you should be desperate for if you’re on either side. I’m very excited to be a part of this one and I’m itching to get to Saturday.”

Neilson is also squaring off with Louisville for the first time since taking over in Tampa Bay. The recent win over Sacramento is one he hopes the team can replicate against Louisville this Saturday.

“It’s a good opportunity for us to get one over on them,” said Neilson. From our perspective, it’s about,we can test ourselves and can we get a victory against them. We went to Sacramento a couple weeks ago, probably the top team out west, and we managed to win that game. Can we do the same here?”

Home Cooking

The Rowdies made the most of home field advantage in their rivalry with Louisville. The last time they dropped a match to Louisville at Al Lang Stadium was on July 7, 2018. They also swept last year’s regular-season series against Louisville, winning both contests and outsourcing their rivals 5-3. The Rowdies will hope to take full advantage of the friendly confines of Al Lang this week. After Saturday, they’ll hit the road for three straight away fixtures.

Scouting Louisville

As you might expect when a team has 32 points through their first 13 matches, Louisville has excelled at both ends of the pitch this year. They lead the league in scoring by a wide margin with 37 goals. The Charleston Battery sit second with 27 goals. Louisville and Charleston are flipped when it comes to clean sheets, with the former ranking second in the league with six shutouts and Charleston sitting first with 8.

“They have quality players, the list kind of goes on and on.” said Farr. “ For us, it’s about doing what we’ve been doing. We’ve been on a bit of a shutout run outside of the Oakland game. I think we’re in a really good defensive set at the moment. The boys are pressing really hard and only giving up difficult chances to other teams. We need to tighten up a few things and we’ll see a really good defensive game.”

Injury Report:

OUT: Zane Bubb (Knee), Forrest Lasso (ACL), Nick Moon (Hamstring)

QUESTIONABLE: Blake Bodily (Hamstring)

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