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Rowdies face difficult MLS schedule in Suncoast Invitational

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The Tampa Bay Rowdies are serious about joining the MLS. So serious, in fact, they’re giving themselves a taste during the 2017 Suncoast Invitational.

The Rowdies are in a field with five MSL teams, including league runner-up Toronto. Montreal was the Eastern Conference runner-up.

In addition, the tournament includes D.C. United, the Philadelphia Union and the Chicago Fire.

Four of the five MLS teams in this year’s edition of the Rowdies Suncoast Invitational qualified for the 2016 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs.

Along with their participation in the Rowdies Suncoast Invitational, the Impact will have an extended visit to St. Petersburg for their preseason training camp. During their time in the Sunshine City, the Montreal Impact will call Al Lang Stadium home, using the field, locker room and gym facilities alongside the Rowdies.

Tickets range from $15 to $20 in the main stadium bowl to $30 for the Midfielder’s Club and Reserve sections. A ticket includes all matches on a specific day. 2017 Tampa Bay Rowdies season ticket members will receive a complimentary ticket to one of the two match days of their choice (2/18 or 2/25).

Tickets to the Rowdies Suncoast Invitational will be available at Ticketmaster.com and will go on sale at 9 A.M. on Thursday, January 19.

Match Schedule

Saturday, February 18 – Al Lang Stadium (St. Petersburg)

Montreal Impact vs. D.C. United, 5 p.m.

Tampa Bay Rowdies vs. Philadelphia Union, 7:30 p.m.

Wednesday, February 22 – Joe DiMaggio Sports Complex (Clearwater)

Philadelphia Union vs. Montreal Impact – 7 p.m.

Saturday, February 25 – Al Lang Stadium

Toronto FC vs. Chicago Fire, 3 p.m.

Philadelphia Union vs. D.C. United, 5 p.m.

Tampa Bay vs. Montreal Impact, 7:30 p.m.

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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