ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Rowdies and FC Edmonton shared the points after a 1-1 draw on a dramatic opening night of the 2014 North American Soccer League Spring Season on Saturday night.
“I felt that we worked hard and dug in,” Rowdies coach Ricky Hill said. “The second half opened a little bit more and I felt that half was a lot better. We managed to string a few passes together and make a few moves. We still have to be a little bit braver collectively in terms of keeping possession of the ball.”
The Rowdies pulled ahead in the 32nd minute on an own goal by Edmonton defender Kareem Moses. Tampa Bay midfielder Darel Russell floated a dangerous ball into the Edmonton box and Moses, under pressure, deflected the ball into his own net.
FC Edmonton looked beaten until a late equalizer created in large part by Daryl Fordyce. Fordyce raced down the right wing and looped in a perfect cross to second-half substitute Tomi Ameobi, who headed home to level the match in the 88th minute.
It was a choppy start to the match, with neither team really settling in to the first match of the 2014 season. FC Edmonton had the better of the early chances, with the first shot of the match coming in the 8th minute. New Rowdies goalkeeper Matt Pickens was there for an easy catch and the danger was averted.
Edmonton had another strong scoring chance with a two-on-one in the 28th minute, but Horace James’ pass across the face of goal was behind its target and cleared by the defense.
With the Rowdies up 1-0 at halftime, FC Edmonton came out the stronger side after the break. The match nearly turned when Pickens was adjudged to have committed a foul on Eddies forward Frank Jonke in the 54th minute and Edmonton was awarded a penalty kick.
Pickens stood strong on the kick, diving right to save Neil Hlavaty’s effort and preserving the Rowdies’ lead.
“We’ve still got a lot of work to do,” Pickens said of the result. “In any league, these are all dogfights. The first month of the season is going to be like this. We’re super disappointed not to get three points and to give away a pretty cheap goal late in the game. We got a point and we’ve got to move on.”
The final five minutes were played end-to-end with the Rowdies piling on pressure in their search of a match-winner and Edmonton replying on fast breaks. Neither team could find the goal and nab all three points before the full-time whistle.
“I’m happy with the effort and the commitment for sure, but can we do better offensively? Of course we can,” Hill said. “We changed it, we brought on Casey (Townsend) and we brought on Lucky (Mkosana) and they had an impact straight away, which was nice. It’s a shame we couldn’t hold out for that goal, but nevermind. We got a point. We’ll move on to next week.”
Rowdies: Kareem Moses - 32nd minute (Own Goal)
FC Edmonton: Tomi Ameobi- 88th minute (Assisted by Daryl Fordyce)
BRADENTON, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Rowdies closed out their 2014 preseason with a spirited 1-1 draw against Icelandic top-flight club Valur FC at IMG Academy Stadium.
The Rowdies took a 1-0 lead just before the halftime break on an own goal created by Tampa Bay midfielder Anthony Wallace. Wallace’s corner kick was directed to Keith Savage before Mads Nielsen stepped in front and accidentally headed into his own net.
Valur FC equalized in the 77th minute on a penalty kick converted by Magnús Lúðvíksson.
“In a lot of ways, we got what we were looking for,” Rowdies coach Ricky Hill said. “Overall, I was happy with the progression our defense has had this preseason. I still think there’s more room for improvement, particularly when we’re under pressure. We don’t really clear our lines well enough and regroup.”
Playing with a full-strength lineup, the Rowdies had a dynamic attack in the first half, led by the three-pronged front line of Georgi Hristov, Brian Shriver and Evans Frimpong.
Shriver nearly scored in the 18th minute, running onto a through ball from midfield, but was just beaten to it by Valur goalkeeper Fjalar Þorgeirsson. Shriver was active late in the half, taking a shot that was forced out for a corner kick that led to the Valur own goal.
The Rowdies applied more pressure in the second half, with Hristov setting up Frimpong for a great chance just after the hour mark, but Frimpong’s effort went high. In the 68th minute, Darel Russell played Lucky Mkosana in on goal, but Mkosana’s shot was saved.
Newly-signed goalkeeper Matt Pickens was active breaking up Valur’s attack before the visitors could create shots.
“(Pickens) held the play out of our box for long periods,” Hill said. “From that perspective, things have improved.”
Rowdies: Mads Nielsen - 45th minute (Own Goal)
Valur FC: Magnus Ludviksson - 77th minute (Penalty Kick)
ROWDIES EARN THIRD-STRAIGHT PRESEASON WIN, 4-2 OVER MARAUDERS
TAMPA, Fla — Twice the Tampa Bay Rowdies fell behind in their preseason match against the Tampa Marauders on Saturday night. Twice they equalized within five minutes before pulling away for a 4-2 win to remain unbeaten this preseason.
The Marauders scored the first goal of each half, but the Rowdies were quick to respond on both occasions, through goals from midfielder Evans Frimpong and trialist defender Willie Hunt. Forward Brian Shriver scored the Rowdies’ go-ahead goal and midfielder Kyle Clinton completed the scoreline ten minutes before fulltime.
“I don’t like the fact that we go behind, but obviously I like the fact that we don’t get too down when we go behind,” Rowdies coach Ricky Hill said. “The commitment of the guys showed on both occasions when we went behind to get us right back into the game. I’m hoping we can get our noses in front more often than not and make other teams come after us.”
Kareem Escayg gave the Marauders a lead in the 22nd minute, but Frimpong soared high to head in a cross from Casey Townsend in the 26th minute. It was Frimpong’s second goal of preseason.
“In terms of execution, it was tremendous,” Hill said. “You’d go a long way to see a header better than that for the remainder of the season and seasons before. Considering he’s 5-foot-6, that was a tremendous leap on a tremendous cross from Casey Townsend. We needed that. It spurred us on.”
The Marauders again took a lead through Kevin King two minutes into the second half, but Hunt scored a header off a free kick from Darel Russell to level the match in the 50th minute.
From there, the Rowdies dominated possession and created a series of offensive chances to pull away and win the match.
Shriver scored his third goal in two matches to put the Rowdies ahead 3-2 in the 55th minute via an assist from Keith Savage.
Clinton closed the night with a powerful blast from 10 yards outside the box in the 80th minute, his first goal of the preseason. In total, nine Rowdies players have combined for 12 goals in four preseason matches.
Marauders: Kareem Escayg - 22nd minute (Assisted by Kevin King)
Rowdies: Evans Frimpong - 26th minute (Assisted by Casey Townsend)
Marauders: Kevin King - 47th minute (Assisted by Cardel Benbow)
Rowdies: Willie Hunt - 50th minute (Assisted by Darel Russell)
Rowdies: Brian Shriver - 55th minute (Assisted by Keith Savage)
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Midfielder Darel Russell wore the captain’s armband and scored a pair of first-half goals as the Tampa Bay Rowdies continued their preseason with a 3-1 win over Florida Gulf Coast University at Walter Fuller Park.
“It was a very satisfying workout for the players,” coach Ricky Hill said. “Obviously we’re still trying to get proper cohesion as a group, but I thought the players really equipped themselves very well in respect to everyone that was available to play tonight managed to get at least 30 minutes.”
With club captain Frankie Sanfilippo on the bench to start the match, Russell was given the captain’s armband and made the most of it.
He scored his first goal of the preseason in the 18th minute off a pass from Christophe Lallet on the right side of midfield. He volleyed his second goal home six minutes later after a pinpoint cross from Casey Townsend was headed down by Brian Shriver into his path.
“Two goals for anyone at any time in any game is a great achievement,” Hill said. “He’s a midfielder that can do a bit of everything. He can hold if we need him to and he can join in the attack and finish, which is an added bonus for us. I’m delighted for him to get two goals for us tonight. Our normal skipper owes me two goals now.”
After Florida Gulf Coast’s Isaiah Madrid scored in the 39th minute, Brian Shriver extended the Rowdies’ lead with his first goal of the preseason in the 80th.
In their three preseason matches, the Rowdies have combined for eight total goals from seven goalscorers.
“Offensively, we’ve got a lot of weapons,” Hill said. “We’ve got a lot of players who are very creative offensively. It’s not just two strikers and three midfielders. I think every one of the forward eight or nine players are quite adept at being creative and can score goals. That’s a great thing to have.”
Townsend, signed this week, made his Rowdies debut and played 64 minutes. He started on the right side of midfield and played some time on the left side as well.
Rowdies: Darel Russell - 18th minute (Assisted by Christophe Lallet)
Rowdies: Darel Russell - 24th minute (Assisted by Brian Shriver)
FGCU: Isaiah Madrid - 39th minute (Assisted by Steven Oliveri)
Rowdies: Brian Shriver - 80th minute (Assisted by Keith Savage)
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!!