May 16, 2017 USL Toronto FC II--Toronto FC II vs Tampa Bay Rowdies game preview (from

Know your opponent: Tampa Bay Rowdies
May 16, 2017
11:46AM EDT
Adam Krueger

Toronto FC II takes on the second-place Tampa Bay Rowdies this Friday at the Ontario Soccer Centre. 
To get you set here is everything you need to know about Friday’s opponents.

2017 Season:

The Rowdies could not have asked for a better start to their debut USL season. Tampa Bay currently 
sits in second place in the Eastern conference with a 5-2-2 record. The Rowdies have been strong 
at both ends of the pitch so far this season; they currently are in fourth in the USL with 13 goals 
scored and are tied for the league lead with six clean sheets. Stuart Campbell’s side is expected 
to contend for the USL title this season after making the switch from the NASL.

Current Form:

Win vs. Louisville City (2-0)
Draw at Ottawa Fury FC (0-0)
Win vs. Richmond Kickers (1-0)
Loss vs. Charleston Battery (2-3)
Draw at FC Cincinnati (1-1)  

Last time we met:

The Rowdies got the better of the Young Reds in the first ever meeting between the two clubs in early April. 
Tampa rushed out to an early three-goal lead and did not look back in handing the Reds their first defeat 
in 2017.

Key Player: Joe Cole

The three-time Premier League champion is in his second season with the Rowdies. The former English 
international made stops at West Ham, Chelsea, Liverpool, and Aston Villa before making the move stateside. 
Cole scored 62 goals across his 18-year EPL career. The London native scored nine goals in 24 appearances 
for Tampa last season. Cole scored the third goal in the Rowdies’ 4-0 victory over the Reds in April 
and he has since added another goal in his eight games played this season. 

Unsung Hero: Georgi Hristov

The 32-year-old Bulgarian is currently in his fifth season with the Rowdies. The forward has scored 
five goals in nine games played this season. He currently sits second in the USL golden boot race. 
On a team with the likes of Cole and former German international Marcel Schafer, Hristov is often forgotten. 
But make no mistake the Bulgarian veteran is a clinical finisher.

Canadian Content:

The only Canadian on the Rowdies 2017 roster is Toronto-born defender Kyle Porter. The 27-year-old has 
had a journeyman career since coming up with the Vancouver Whitecaps in 2010. After making just one 
appearance for the Whitecaps, Porter moved to FC Edmonton and then made his way to D.C. 
He made 32 appearances for D.C. United between 2013-2014. Porter made his senior international debut 
for Canada in 2013 against Denmark. He has made seven appearances for Canada since. Following his time 
in D.C., he then made stops in Richmond, Atlanta (Silverbacks) and Ottawa before signing with the Rowdies 
for the 2017 season. Porter has made just one appearance for the Rowdies so far this season.

Projected Lineup:

The Rowdies will play a mid-week match to open their 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup tournament. Therefore, 
the lineup on Friday could be a mixed bag depending on who plays in the Cup match. However, 
the Rowdies have run out a 4-2-3-1 formation this season.

Tickets to see your Toronto FC II take on Joe Cole and the Tampa Bay Rowdies are still available.  

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