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5 things to watch for as the Tampa Bay Rowdies take on Louisville City FC

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5 things to ponder about the Rowdies-Louiville game:

1. Does this show go on the road? After three straight home games – all victories – are the Tampa Bay Rowdies ready to play away from Al Lang Field? Louisville City FC is 2-0-1, right on the heels of the Rowdies. There are a lot of subtle differences to playing at home. Playing on the road is a different dynamic. The Rowdies need to win to keep pace with undefeated St. Louis.

2. Another clean sheet? If the Rowdies don’t give up a goal, the saying goes, they will never lose. Goalkeeper Akira Fitzgerald had a little more work last week against Ottawa, but he still walked away with his third clean sheet. Much of the reason for that has been the team defense in front of him. If the Rowdies play well on defense again, it’ll help. But Louiville has allowed only one goal (an own goal).

3. Do good guys wear black: Louisville will wear its third kit, an all-black number. Sounds villainous right?

4. Four in a row?: The Rowdies’ Georgi Hristov has scored three goals in three games, one with his right foot, one with his left foot and one on a header. Hristov led the Rowdies with 11 goals a year ago.

5. Luke’s no fluke: So far, newcomer Luke Boden – who spent the previous six seasons in Orlando – has been solid. He had the assist on last week’s goal, and he’s played a solid defense for the Rowdies. “I think Tampa (Bay) is a great team,” said Louisvile captain Paolo Delpiccolo. “They’ll win a lot of games  this year, but every game that we go into is an important one for us.”

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Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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