The Tampa Bay Rowdies earned their first win of the preseason Saturday night, topping the University of Tampa 3-0 at Pepin Stadium.
"Overall it was a very good 90 minutes from the players," head coach Ricky Hill said. "I think we approached the game in the right manner. Last week (against USF,) we were a week behind in terms of our physical capabilities. The players played to the right principles throughout the whole game and did some really nice things."
Midfielder Keith Savage staked the Rowdies to a lead inside five minutes off a cross from Evans Frimpong on the right wing. Savage's header hit the crossbar and ricocheted off the back of Spartans goalkeeper Norbert Bengyel and into the net.
The Rowdies dominated first-half possession with great combination play down the right wing between Anthony Wallace and Brian Shriver.
Hristov doubled Rowdies' lead in the 24th minute, deflecting a powerful Shane Hill shot from 30 yards out past Bengyel and into the net.
Hill made three substitutions at halftime and another six on the hour mark, but it didn't slow the Rowdies momentum.
"We try to share minutes as best we can," Hill said. "It was good that certain players got 60 in an effort to build toward playing 90 minutes in the first game of the season. It was a great exercise. Hopefully no one's got an injury tonight and that'll be another bonus for us."
Three minutes after entering the match, forward Devin Del Do scored his first goal of the preseason, showing excellent ball control to collect a cross from Jordan Gafa and beat two UT defenders before slotting home.
Hill praised his team's fluidity in changing formations and personnel on the fly.
"If we've got the ball, I don't mind people taking up different positions for the time being," Hill said. "I'd like them to play from their positions when they can, but in the normal flow of the game, I have no objections to them moving around. As long as we keep the ball well and execute well, I think it's great that anyone can pop up in any position. I saw (defender) Blake Wagner playing as a withdrawn striker in the second half and that's great, as long as we've got control of the ball.
Hill had 20 players play at least 30 minutes in the game, with only midfielders Evans Frimpong and Anthony Wallace playing the full 90 minutes.
Goalkeeper Ryan Thompson, playing against his alma mater, played the first 60 minutes before trialist Cody Mizell finished the clean sheet in net for the Rowdies.
Rowdies: - Keith Savage - 3rd minute (Assisted Evans Frimpong)
Rowdies: - Georgi Hristov - 24th minute (Assisted by Shane Hill)
Rowdies: - Devin Del Do - 63rd minute (Assisted by Jordan Gafa)
University of Tampa Spartans: Bengyel; Clare, Darkwa, Bentham, Knaggs; Barboto, Garcia, Rodriguez, Mondesir; Phipps, Laird
ROWDIES PRESEASON KICKS OFF WITH 2-2 DRAW AGAINST USF
The Tampa Bay Rowdies and USF played to 2-2 draw on Saturday night at Corbett Soccer Stadium. A first-half goal by forward Carl Cort gave the Rowdies the lead, but back-to-back USF goals in the 69th and 71st minute gave the home team the lead. Rowdies midfielder Evans Frimpong found the equalizer with just under 15 minutes left to play but the NASL side was unable to find the late go-ahead goal.
The first chance of the match came within 60 seconds after kickoff, with Frimpong flying down the right flank and firing a shot inside the 6-yard box. His shot was saved by USF goalkeeper Spallay Stefanovic and sent out for a corner. The Rowdies had several chances during the first 30 minutes, two of them coming off long distance shots by newcomer Darel Russell. The Green-and-Gold would get the go-ahead goal in the 36th minute after Frimpong controlled a long ball at the edge of the box and set up Cort with a great pass in the heart of the box. The forward took his time to find space and smash his shot into the back of the net.
USF goalkeeper Stefanovic denied Rowdies forward Brian Shriver his first goal with the Rowdies jersey with a diving save to his left in the 40th minute. The Rowdies withheld a late push for the equalizer by USF in the final minutes of the first half. Rowdies goalkeeper Ryan Thompson was able to make several saves to keep the Rowdies ahead after the first 45 minutes.
The home side came out strong in the second half, pushing for the goal that would level up the match. Rowdies goalkeeper Ryan Thompson was forced to make several stops after USF was finding holes on the right flank. The Bulls would end up finding the equalizer in the 69th minute, when midfielder Lucas Baldin capitalized on a penalty kick placing his shot off the right post and into the back of the net.
Just two minutes later it was USF who would take the lead, as defender Wesley Charpie got past two Rowdies defenders and fired his shot past Thompson.
It didn't take long for the Rowdies to equalize the match, with Frimpong making it 2-2 in the 75th minute. Second-half substitute Georgi Hristov picked up a rebound inside the box and played it to Frimpong, who fired his shot past a helpless USF keeper.
In the final 15 minutes of the match, Shriver and Hristov were able to string up several passes creating mutliple dangerous chances for the Rowdies. USF's defensive line was pushed back into their own 18 but they withstood the pressure and the match ended 2-2, with Hristov being denied the final chance thanks to a great stop by USF's keeper.
Rowdies - Carl Cort - 36th minute (Assisted by Frimpong)
Here is a strange one, a Rowdies jersey made by Peter Green Ltd., this company also made the jerseys for the 1986-87 AISA season. But I have no idea what year this is from, or even if it is a Tampa Bay Rowdies jersey.
Can anyone help me out? - Please email me if you can, Thanks!!
This edition of the KICK magazine is from the August 14th, 1976, game played at the Portland Timbers' Civic Stadium. An attendance of 17,199 saw the Rowdies win 3-2. With the goals coming from Derek Smethurst, Mark Lindsay and Stewart Scullion.
The team this day was: Mausser, Pringle, Cantillo, Jump, Austin, Smith, Scullion, Lindsay, Best, Marsh, Smethurst.