Monday, 18 May 2015

Rowdies vs. Ft. Lauderdale Strikers

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (May 16, 2015) -- As the rain poured down at Al Lang Stadium on Saturday night, Robert Hernandez was in the right place at the right time.
Hernandez's first goal of the season carried a lot of weight, lifting the Rowdies over the rival Fort Lauderdale Strikers in front of 6,851 fans in a very tight match, but was nothing more than a tap-in at the back post. Chaos in front of Strikers goalkeeper David Meves saw the ball pop over to Hernandez all by himself to score the game-winner in the 55th minute.
The victory puts the Rowdies into second place alone in the NASL Spring Season standings, three points behind the league-leading New York Cosmos with three games to go. It also puts Tampa Bay in control of the Coastal Cup, with six points, ahead of Fort Lauderdale's three and Jacksonville's zero.
"It wasn't just another game, because I knew the importance of this game in terms of the standings, in terms of being at home and in terms of knowing that it would be in front of a great crowd," Rowdies Head Coach Thomas Rongen said. "A win for us, to stay in the hunt with three games left, was the most important thing."
Forward Maicon Santos had taken a shot which Meves saved but couldn't control. It bounced to the 5-foot-5 Hernandez for the defining moment of the match. 
“(Hernandez) can stretch defenses because of his dribble-penetration and speed,” Rongen said. “As a young player, he’s very gifted. There’s certain things I can’t teach, and his speed is sprinters speed. For him to get a goal was very cool. He’s not big, but he’s fast.”
For Hernandez, who had missed excellent scoring chances in previous games, getting his first goal for the Rowdies was huge.
“It was very emotional,” Hernandez said. “Now that I’ve scored, hopefully there are many more to come.”
Goalkeeper Matt Pickens didn't face a ton of shots from the Strikers, but was there at every time of need to keep his second-consecutive clean sheet in the win. Rongen credited the play of not only Pickens, but the four defenders in front of him and two defensive midfielders, for the fact that Tampa Bay’s goals-against-average has now dipped below one goal per game.

Scoring Summary:
Rowdies: Robert Hernandez - 55th minute (unassisted)

Rowdies: Pickens; King, Mkandawire, Antonijevic, Sweat; Saragosa (c), Menjivar, Hristov; Hernandez (Balchan 83'), Santos (Guerra 86'), Núñez (Hertzog 73')
Fort Lauderdale: Meves; Graye, Sanfilippo (c), Kling, Guerrero (Ramirez 73'); Sanchez (Hassan 73'), Freitas, Gonzalez, Angulo (Chin 57'), Pinho

Rowdies vs. Ottawa Fury FC

OTTAWA, Ontario, Canada (May 9, 2015) — The Tampa Bay Rowdies were unable to get on the scoresheet Saturday afternoon, but prevented Ottawa Fury FC from doing the same as the clubs played out a 0-0 draw in front of 3,461 at TD Place.
The draw leaves the Rowdies two points off the pace of first-place New York Cosmos, pending results around the league this weekend. This match wrapped up a stretch of four road matches in the opening six for the Rowdies, who now benefit from playing three of their final four Spring Season matches at Al Lang Stadium.
"It's a pretty good result at the end of the day," Rowdies Head Coach Thomas Rongen said. "A draw on the road is a good thing for us. We played well in stretches and created a few chances. We're not pleased, but we're lucky to get out of here with a draw and we'll take it."
Genuine scoring chances were few and few between in the opening 45 minutes. Ottawa had the best chance of the half in the 9th minute, when Sinisa Ubiparipovic’s free kick from just outside the box went through the Rowdies wall, but goalkeeper Matt Pickens dove to his left-hand side to make the save.
Tampa Bay could’ve scored once or twice in the first half, which was repeatedly stopped by injuries to Ottawa’s Romauld Peiser, Rafael Alves and Rowdies captain Marcelo Saragosa.
Saragosa took a cleat to the chin in the 34th minute which drew blood and forced him off the field for about six minutes. The wound repeatedly re-opened and eventually resulted in Saragosa exiting the match in the 76th minute.
As the match wound down, each team had one final brilliant scoring chance, but neither side could convert.
The Rowdies were first, with second-half substitute Robert Hernandez playing a perfect chip in to Corey Hertzog near the penalty spot in the 79th minute, but Hertzog’s first-touch shot looped well over the crossbar and out of play.
Ottawa’s chance came in the 89th minute when defender-turned-forward Brandon Poltronieri benefitted off an errant back pass and found himself one-on-one with Pickens. Poltronieri took one too many touches toward goal and Pickens was able to leave his line and collect the ball.
It was the Rowdies’ second clean sheet in six matches to start the season. Kamil Contofalsky recorded the other against Minnesota United FC on April 11.
"We have two number one (goalkeepers)," Rongen said. "Let the best man win the duel, so to speak. I'm very pleased for Matt. The back six, with the defenders in front of him plus the told holding midfielders, did a good job. I'm pleased for the team that we were able to keep the zero. I said at the beginning of the season that we should be a team that shouldn't concede much."
Newly-acquired Rowdies midfielder made his club debut in the match, playing all 90 minutes.

Ottawa: Peiser; Richter, Alves (Eustaquio 25') (Paterson 89'), Falvey, Trafford; De Guzman, Beckie, Ubiparipovic; Haworth (Paulo Jr. 67'), Weideman, Poltronieri
Rowdies: Pickens; King, Mkandawire, Antonijevic, Sweat; Saragosa (c) (Guerra 76'), Menjivar, Núñez (Shriver 80'); Boggs, Espinal (Hernandez 71'), Hertzog

Rowdies vs. Carolina Railhawks

CARY, N.C. (May 2, 2015) —The Tampa Bay Rowdies and Carolina RailHawks drew 1-1 on Saturday night at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, NC. The home team got on the scoreboard early as forward Nacho Novo scored in the 6th minute, but they would not hold the lead for long as midfielder Martin Nuñez equalized for the Rowdies in the 19th minute. Tampa Bay played with 10 men for the last 14 minutes of the match, as midfielder Georgi Hristov was issued a red card in the second half. 
Things didn't start out great for the Rowdies, as they went down 1-0 in the 6th minute. Midfielder Ty Shipalane beat Rowdies defender Ben Sweat on the right flank and crossed a low ball towards the far post. His cross found a wide open Novo, who tapped the ball in to give the RailHawks the lead.
Rowdies forward Maicon Santos would come close to equalizing the match in the 15th minute but after chipping his shot past Railhawks goalkeeper Hunter Gilstrap, the ball hit the crossbar and went out of play. 
In the 19th minute Tampa Bay would level the match via a strike from Nuñez at the far post. Hristov received a ball from defender Darnell King inside the 18-yard box and whipped in a low cross into the heart of the box. Nuñez was on the end of it, striking the ball into the back of the net to make it 1-1. The Uruguayan forward has now scored two goals in his last two matches.
The Rowdies gained momentum after scoring, elevating their pressure on the RailHawks back line. Tampa Bay almost took the lead in the 33rd minute after a series of shots inside the 18-yard box. Forward Maicon Santos had the initial shot on goal, which was saved by Gilstrap. It was then followed by a shot by defender Stefan Antonijevic and Hristov, but both were saved on the line by the RailHawks defenders. 
The second half started similar to the first, with the RailHawks controlling most of the possession. After not being able to create any dangerous chances in the first 10 minutes of the half, Carolina had three chances in the 55th, 58th and 59th minute. Midfielder Mark Anderson had the first chance but his shot trickled just wide of the net and minutes later it was midfielder Leo Osaki that had his goal robbed by Rowdies midfielder Marcelo Saragosa. Novo had the last of the three dangerous chances, smashing his volley into the side netting from six yards out. 
As the match progressed, the Rowdies were able to create chances in the RailHawks box, but they would be unable to capitalize on any of the opportunities. 
In the 76th minute, Hristov was sent off after fouling midfielder Wells Thompson around the center circle.
Despite being down to 10 men, the Rowdies had a clear chance to take the lead in the 80th minute. After defender Stefan Antonijevic flicked a header towards the far post, defender Wes Knight denied an incoming Nuñez his second goal of the night. 
In the second minute of added time, it was goalkeeper Matt Pickens who once again came up big for the Rowdies. Thompson found space just outside the 18-yard box and curled his shot on goal. Pickens dove to his left and stretched his arm out to send the ball out for a corner kick. 

Scoring Summary:
Carolina: Nacho Novo - 6th minute (assisted by Ty Shipalane)
Rowdies: Martin Nuñez - 19th minute (assisted by Georgi Hristov

RailHawks: Gilstrap; Knight, Low, Scott (C), Tobin; Shipalane, Hlavaty, Wagner, Osaki, Anderson (Thompson 73'); Novo (Baladez 81')

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Rowdies vs. Jacksonville Armada FC

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (April 25, 2015) — Tampa Bay Rowdies goalkeeper Matt Pickens didn’t start Saturday night’s 3-2 win over the Jacksonville Armada FC, but he certainly played a big role in ending it from the goalkeeper position.
Pickens entered the match in place of injured starting goalkeeper Kamil Contofalsky in stoppage time and made a handful in saves in short time to protect Tampa Bay’s lead and help the Rowdies to a huge Coastal Cup victory in front of 5,460 fans at Al Lang Stadium.
“While I was coming on, I realized that I had never entered a match as a substitute before,” Pickens said. “I hadn’t touched a ball for probably two hours, but I did what I could.”
Maicon Santos scored the first and last goals of the match, with Martin Nunez scoring the Rowdies’ second goal to tie the match in the second half.
The victory puts the Rowdies just one point behind the first-place New York Cosmos in the NASL Spring Season standings. It also ties the Rowdies with the Fort Lauderdale Strikers atop the Coastal Cup standings. 
“We never gave up,” Rowdies Head Coach Thomas Rongen said. “That was the mantra of our team in preseason and in the first two games. Man, did they respond to a little bit of (yelling) at halftime? I can’t be happier for this team. The work so hard and were finally able to give the home fans a win.”
The match had a frenetic start, a worthy precursor to the dramatic finish.
Santos put the Rowdies ahead just 12 minutes in with a penalty kick, his first goal of the season.
Less than two minutes later, Jacksonville was awarded a penalty kick of its own. Armada FC midfielder Marcos Flores’ shot was saved by Contofalsky, but Flores tapped in the rebound to even the match at 1-1 in the 14th minute.
After that, Jacksonville took control of the match, taking a 2-1 lead in the 32nd minute on a Jemal Johnson strike that caromed off both goalposts before trickling over the line.
Needing some magic in the second half, the Rowdies got a lifeline with Nunez’s blast from outside of the box to tie the match in the 59th minute.
Santos’ second goal of the night, a thundering header off Georgi Hristov’s cross from the byline in the 77th minute, set the stage for the dramatic finish.
Jacksonville finished the match with shot after shot on the Rowdies’ net. Pickens entered the match in the first of seven minutes of stoppage time and benefitted from a Rowdies team that put its body on the line time after time to block shots before they could reach Pickens.
When the Rowdies needed him though, Pickens made every save. He tipped pawed shots out of play with reflex saves and tipped the ball over the crossbar to help the Rowdies over the finish line with a 3-2 win in Tampa Bay’s 2015 Coastal Cup opener.

Scoring Summary:
Rowdies: Maicon Santos - 12th minute (Penalty Kick)
Jacksonville: Marcos Flores - 14th minute
Jacksonville: Jemal Johnson - 32nd minute
Rowdies: Martin Nuñez - 59th minute
Rowdies: Maicon Santos - 77th minute (Assisted by Georgi Hristov)

Rowdies: Čontofalský (Pickens 90'); Balchan, Mkandawire, Antonijevic, Sweat; Saragosa (c), Nuñez (King 72'), Hristov; Boggs (Hertzog 69'), Santos, Espinal
Jacksonville: Gallardo; Bahner, Ortiz, Trejo; Hoyos (Barrett 77'), Castrillon (c) (Nicklaw 73'), Scaglia, Flores (Rodriguez 79'); Millien, Keita, Johnson

Rowdies vs. New York Cosmos

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y.(April 18, 2015) —The Tampa Bay Rowdies suffered their first defeat of the season Saturday night, falling 2-0 to the New York Cosmos in the Cosmos’ home opener at James M. Shuart Stadium.
Marcos Senna helped the hosts to an early lead with a successful penalty kick in the 11th minute. New York’s Leo Fernandes doubled the lead just three minutes into the second half on a cross by Walter Restrepo.
Tampa Bay didn’t play well in the first half, thanks in part to the early New York goal. The Cosmos played a dangerous cross in from the right wing, which was cleared by the Rowdies defense, but the referee adjudged Rowdies right back Darnell King to have committed a handball and awarded New York a penalty kick.
Senna stutter stepped and shot to the right side of goal, beating Rowdies goalkeeper Kamil Contofalsky, who dove the opposite direction. It was Senna’s first goal of the season.
The rest of the half was a struggle for the Rowdies, who were outplayed by the Cosmos in front of a sellout crowd in Raul’s home debut.
The second half didn’t start well for Tampa Bay, with Senna winning a 50-50 challenge against Rowdies left back Ben Sweat and racing toward goal in space and finding Restrepo. The Rowdies defense over-pursued the ball, following it all the way to the byline and leaving plenty of space near the penalty spot for Restrepo to cross to Fernandes to finish for the 2-0 lead.
Tampa Bay played itself into the match after going down 2-0, but couldn’t find the finishing touch for a goal despite a few scoring chances.
In the 59th minute, King played a cross in from the right side to a couple of waiting Rowdies. Georgi Hristov took a shot, but lifted it over the crossbar.
Second-half substitute Darwin Espinal made a positive impact on the match, racing to the byline in the 71st minute. He beat his defender with the ball and turned toward goal before passing to Hristov, who was just wide of target with his shot.
Martin Nunez fired a first-time shot on goal in the 81st minute, but Cosmos goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer, who was not tested much on the night, made the save to preserve his clean sheet.

Scoring Summary:
New York: Marcos Senna - 11th minute (Penalty Kick)
New York: Leo Fernandes - 48th minute (Assisted by Walter Restrepo

New York Cosmos: Maurer;  Gorskie, Roversio, Mendes (c), Ayoze; Senna, Szetela; Restrepo, Raúl (Mkosana 90'), Fernandes (Moffat 86'); Stokkelien (Guenzatti 77')
Rowdies: Čontofalský; King, Mkandawire, Antonijevic, Sweat; Guerra (Nuñez 58') , Välimaa, Hristov; Hernandez (Boggs 86'), Santos, Hertzog (Espinal 58')

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Rowdies vs. Minnesota United FC

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (April 11, 2015)—The Tampa Bay Rowdies piled the pressure on Minnesota United FC on Saturday night, sending attack after attack forward, but couldn’t manage a goal and had to settle for a scoreless draw and a point in their home opener at Al Lang Stadium on Saturday night.
Playing in front of a soldout crowd of 7,010, the Rowdies didn’t start well, but found their way into the match and were the better team for long stretches, but just couldn’t put enough shots on target to beat Minnesota United goalkeeper Sammy Ndjock.
“The crowd was amazing,” Tampa Bay Head Coach Thomas Rongen said. “The guys just came up to me and said, ‘Coach, I’m sorry we couldn’t give the fans more.’ The house was rocking, the stadium was great. We’ll get wins at home. We’ll win much more than we lose. I think people will walk away saying we were a bit unlucky and worked hard.”
Rowdies forward Robert Hernandez wreaked havoc in the first half, receiving the ball and running at defenders from the right wing, but Tampa Bay’s communication and positioning was a touch off for most of the night. Many scoring threats broke down in Minnesota’s box before a shot could be taken.
“We didn’t play particularly well in the first half,” Rongen said. “That said, we had some good opportunities. In the second half, there were four or five occasions where the ball is bouncing around and we’ve got half chances, but we just couldn’t get to. We’re all disappointed that we couldn’t show the fans a few goals.”
After a scoreless first half, the Rowdies spent much of the second 45 minutes on the front foot, pressuring Minnesota’s defensive unit.
In the 48th minute, a Rowdies corner was cleared only to the edge of the box, where it landed at the feet of Corey Hertzog. Hertzog ripped a shot on target, but Ndjock, off his line near the penalty spot, made a reflex save to keep the Rowdies off the scoreboard.
Just after the 70th minute, it was second-half substitute Brian Shriver that hit side narrowly missed an open net.
Hertzog had one of the best scoring chances of the match, placing a header just inches wide of frame in the 89th minute off a pass from Martin Nunez.
“When you have a home opener and only get one point out of it, it’s frustrating,” Hertzog said. “I could have had two or three goals or made better decisions in the final third. That’s on me. As a team, the most important thing is that we kept them at zero and held strong.”
For now, it feels like the Rowdies dropped two points instead of picking up one, but Coach Rongen can still find positives in the result, particularly in keeping a clean sheet against one of the NASL’s best attacks.
“I thought it was a good game,” Rongen said. “Minnesota, in fairness, is a very good team. We kept it at zero, which was important for us. I’m pleased with the performance, but not happy with the result. We deserved three points.”

Rowdies: Čontofalský; King, Mkandawire, Antonijevic, Portillos; Saragosa (c) (Valimaa 76'), Chavez, Hristov; Hernandez (Nuñez 72'), Espinal (Shriver 60'), Hertzog
Minnesota United FC: Ndjock; Venegas, Calvano, Dias, Davis; Ibson, Pitchkolan, Mendes (Jordan 76'), Ibarra, Steele (Watson 86'); Ramirez (PCampos 77')

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Rowdies vs. San Antonio Scorpions

SAN ANTONIO, Tex. (April 4, 2015) – The San Antonio Scorpions threw a party at Toyota Field on Saturday night to celebrate their 2014 NASL Championship Final victory. Rings were given out and a championship flag was raised above the stadium.
Then the Rowdies left the visiting team locker room.
Once the whistle blew, it was the Rowdies throwing the party, powering to a 3-1 victory over the defending champions and starting their NASL campaign with three points.
Tampa Bay’s Stefan Antonijevic, Darwin Espinal and Corey Hertzog all scored in the comprehensive victory. San Antonio’s Omar Cummings scored in second-half stoppage time, long after the match had been decided.
Quick on the attack with an aggressive start, the Rowdies needed only 10 minutes to open the scoring and quiet the crowd of 6,723. Georgi Hristov’s perfectly-placed corner kick found the head of 6-foot-6 Antonijevic, who powered it past San Antonio’s Jon Kempin in net for Tampa Bay’s first goal of the season and an early 1-0 lead.
The Scorpions recovered and found their way back into the match after falling behind. San Antonio, led by midfielder Rafael Castillo, had several chances to score their first goal of the match, but a strong Rowdies defense would keep the score 1-0.
San Antonio nearly got out of the first half down only one goal, but Rowdies forward Darwin Espinal marked his professional debut with a goal in first half stoppage time to give Tampa Bay a 2-0 lead heading into the locker room.
Defender Darnell King made a speedy run down the right flank and into the box. After his cross was initially denied by a Scorpions defender, King slotted the rebound back to Espinal, who calmly placed his shot past Kempin to double the lead.
Desperate to turn the match around, San Antonio came out of the halftime break as the better side early in the second half.
Fifty-five minutes into the match, midfielder Marvin Chavez came very close to scoring the Scorpions’ first goal as his shot fired off the crossbar and out for a goal kick. Minutes later, Antonijevic came up big for the Rowdies blocking a shot inside the 18-yard box that was heading toward goal.
As the Scorpions continued to apply the pressure, it was Hertzog that extended the Rowdies lead to 3-0 just past the hour mark. In the 61st minute, the Rowdies forward received a pass from midfielder Marcelo Saragosa and curled his shot around Kempin and into the far netting to increase Tampa Bay’s lead to three goals.
With the match winding down, the Scorpions were able to pull a goal back and prevent Tampa Bay from recording a clean sheet. Rowdies goalkeeper Kamil Contofalsky had initially made a diving save on midfielder Castillo's shot, but Cummings was in the right place to score on the rebound.

Scoring Summary:
Rowdies: Stefan Antonijevic - 10th minute (Assisted by Georgi Hristov)
Rowdies: Darwin Espinal - 45+ minute (Assisted by Darnell King)
Rowdies: Corey Hertzog - 61st minute (Assisted by Marcelo Saragosa)
San Antonio: Omar Cummings - 90th minute

Scorpions: Kempin; Abdul-Salaam, Attakora, James, DeRoux; Castillo, Soto; Chavez, Forbes, Elizondo (Cruz 70'); Hassli (Cummings 67')
Rowdies: Čontofalský; King, Mkandawire, Antonijevic, Portillos; Saragosa (c), Savage (Guerra 33'), Hristov; Hernandez (Boggs 69'), Espinal (Chavez 84'), Hertzog

Monday, 30 March 2015

Rowdies vs. Jacksonville Armada FC (Exhibition Game)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (March 28, 2015) — The Tampa Bay Rowdies appear ready to open the 2015 North American Soccer League season following a 2-0 road win over Jacksonville Armada FC at EverBank Field on Saturday evening.
Keith Savage and Brian Shriver scored on either side of the halftime break to beat the Armada and run Tampa Bay’s preseason record to 7-2-2. The Rowdies open the NASL Spring Season next Saturday night in San Antonio against the defending champion Scorpions.
The Rowdies yielded a lot of possession to Jacksonville throughout the match, content to bend but not break defensively and then spring forward when the chance presented itself.
Jacksonville only forced Rowdies goalkeeper Kamil Contofalsky into one save in the opening 45 minutes.
In the 14th minute, Venezuelan winger Robert Hernandez flashed his speed and crossed a ball into the box for Maicon Santos, but the ball was just behind the big Brazilian forward and the chance went away.
Six minutes later, it was Santos crossing a ball in for Hernandez, but again the ball wasn’t quite perfect and Jacksonville was able to clear it away.
Santos very nearly broke the deadlock in the 26th minute, again off a cross by Hernandez, beating Sierra with his shot, but missing the far post by a matter of inches.
Savage scored his second goal of the preseason just before the halftime break when the Rowdies won a throw-in deep in Armada territory. Corey Hertzog delivered a long throw-in, which was glanced on by Stefan Antonijevic and straight to Savage a few yards out from the goal line. Savage tapped it past goalkeeper David Sierra and over the line to put Tampa Bay up 1-0 just before halftime.
Protecting a 1-0 lead in the second half, the Rowdies made mass substitutions and again seemed happy to let Jacksonville possess the ball and defend as a unit. Forward Brian Shriver’s entrance into the match immediately led the Rowdies doubling the lead.
Shriver checked in the 55th minute and scored with his first touch in the 58th minute, heading a perfect cross from Hernandez down and past Jacksonville goalkeeper Miguel Gallardo. It was Shriver’s second goal in as many matches this week.
Now up 2-0, the Rowdies really worked on protecting a lead and closing out the match.
Jacksonville couldn’t break through and only recorded one shot in the second half.

Scoring Summary:
Rowdies: Keith Savage - 43rd minute (assisted by Stefan Antonijevic)
Rowdies: Brian Shriver - 58th minute (assisted by Robert Hernandez)

Rowdies: Contofalsky; King (Fernandez 80'), Mkandawire (Michaud 87'), Antonijevic (Rusin 82'), Portillos (Sweat 63'); Saragosa (Guerra 61'), Savage (Chavez 75'), Hristov (Valimaa 59'); Hernandez (Nunez 62'), Santos (Espinal 43'), Hertzog (Shriver 55')

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Rowdies vs. FC Edmonton (Exhibition Game)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (March 25, 2015) — The Tampa Bay Rowdies picked up their sixth win of the preseason Wednesday night, topping FC Edmonton 2-1 at Jacksonville University in the Armada FC Four-Team Challenge.
Both Rowdies goals, scored by Georgi Hristov and Brian Shriver, were direct results of working hard to win the ball back from defenders in front of the opposition net.
The Rowdies didn’t field a full-strength team and battled through a physically demanding first half. Five players were cautioned in the opening 45 minutes for rough play. Neither side carved out many clear-cut chances in the opening period and neither scored.
For both teams, it was their first test against NASL-level competition this preseason.
The second half was much more fluid and featured all three goals.
Justin Chavez helped the Rowdies to their first goal of the match, chasing down a ball in Edmonton’s box and earning a penalty kick. Eddies defender Marko Aleksic thought he was alone, jogging toward a ball to clear it, but Chavez was just behind him, and when Aleksic swung his leg to clear the ball, he instead kicked Chavez’s body to concede the penalty.
Rowdies forward Georgi Hristov scored the penalty high into Edmonton’s net for a 1-0 Tampa Bay lead in the 65th minute.
The Rowdies ran into trouble in the 74th minute, when Edmonton played a long ball forward and caught Gale Agbossoumonde in a tough position. As he recovered, Agbossoumonde made too much contact with FCE’s Frank Jonke, conceding a penalty.
Eddies captain Ritchie Jones stepped up to take the penalty, but Rowdies goalkeeper Matt Pickens guessed right and saved it to preserve Tampa Bay’s lead.
Just a minute later, Sadi Jalali got into space to take another shot on goal, but again, Pickens was in the right spot to make the save.
In the 84th minute, more pressure from the Rowdies forwards forced an error in Edmonton’s defense.
Tampa Bay forward Darwin Espinal put heavy pressure on the Eddies and intercepted a pass between defenders 30 yards from goal. Espinal squared a ball into empty space for Brian Shriver to run onto. Shriver took a couple of touches before slotting it past John Smits in net to put the Rowdies up 2-0.
The Rowdies were just minutes from keeping a clean sheet, but a Lance Laing free kick in stoppage time found Jonke for a header past Pickens and into the net.

Scoring Summary: 
Rowdies: Georgi Hristov - 65th minute (Penalty Kick)
Rowdies: Brian Shriver - 84th minute
FC Edmonton: Frank Jonke - 91st minute

Rowdies: Pickens (C); King (Boggs 46'), Rusin, Agbossoumonde, Sweat; Chavez, Guerra, Nuñez; Shriver, Michaud (Hristov 61'), Hernandez (Espinal 46')
Edmonton: VanOekel (Smits 61'); Edward (Smith 87'), Moses (Roberts 87'), Roberts (Aleksic 61'), Smith (Zebie 61'); Raudales, Hauksson (Burt 61'), Jones, Fordyce (Sadi 61'), Laing; Ameobi (Jonke 61')

Monday, 23 March 2015

Rowdies vs. University of South Florida Bulls (Exhibition Game)

TAMPA, Fla. (March 21, 2015) — For the second time this week, the Tampa Bay Rowdies picked up a 4-1 preseason win over local college competition, topping the University of South Florida Bulls at Corbett Stadium on Saturday night.
With 14 days left in the preseason, the Rowdies are now 5-2-2 this preseason. The Rowdies topped the University of Tampa 4-1 on Wednesday night. Tampa Bay has two matches left before the season opener against the San Antonio Scorpions in Texas on April 4.
Maicon Santos, Corey Hertzog and Martin Nuñez all scored for the Rowdies. Tampa Bay also benefitted from a Bulls own goal in the first half. Brendan Hines-Ike converted a second-half penalty kick to put the Bulls on the board.
The Rowdies got off to a flying start, with Santos scoring a tap-in just three minutes into the match. The big Brazilian forward stole the ball off a USF defender, calmly rounded the keeper and passed the ball into the net for the opening goal. Santos has now scored goals in four consecutive matches for the Rowdies.
Tampa Bay stayed on the front foot, taking the match to the Bulls and forcing USF to defend for much of the first half. Trialist midfielder Verneri Valimaa raced to the byline and slotted a pass back across the face of goal, where a Bulls defender accidentally put it into his own net to put the Rowdies up 2-0 in the 13th minute.
Two minutes before halftime, Hertzog added a goal on an assist by Darnell King. Hertzog has now scored in back-to-back matches.
In the 62nd minute, Hines-Ike converted his penalty kick to cut the deficit to 3-1, but the Rowdies weren’t done shooting yet.
Less than 10 minutes later, second-half substitute Nuñez bent a free kick around the USF defensive wall and into the net for a 4-1 lead in the 71st minute.

Scoring Summary:
Rowdies: Maicon Santos - 3rd minute (unassisted)
Rowdies: Own Goal - 18th minute
Rowdies: Corey Hertzog - 43rd minute (assisted by Darnell King)
USF: Brendan Hines-Ike - 62nd minute (penalty kick)
Rowdies: Martin Nuñez  - 62nd minute (unassisted)

Rowdies: Contofalsky; King (Fernandez 82'), Mkandawire (Agbossoumonde 71'), Antonijevic (Rusin 82'), Sweat; Savage (Guerra 71'), Valimaa* (Chavez 77'), Espinal (Nuñez 46'); Boggs  (Shriver 71'), Santos, Hertzog (Michaud 71')
*indicates trialist

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Rowdies vs. University of Tampa Spartans (Exhibition Game)

TAMPA, Fla. (March 18, 2015)  —  Patient and controlled team play helped the Tampa Bay Rowdies top the University of Tampa Spartans 4-1 on Wednesday night as preparations for the 2015 North American Soccer League season continued.
Maicon Santos grabbed a pair of first-half goals — including a stunning lob from 40 yards out — and  Corey Hertzog and Jeffrey Michaud added tallies to earn the Rowdies their fourth win of the preseason campaign.
The Rowdies were patient all night, content to control the ball and move it around while searching for an entry toward goal.
Santos put Tampa Bay on the board first, rising to meet a Hertzog header off a corner kick in the 10th minute. It was his third consecutive match with a goal.
After playing provider on the first goal, Hertzog both earned and converted a penalty kick in the 18th minute, scoring low to the keeper’s right-hand side to put the Rowdies up 2-0 inside 20 minutes.
Santos grabbed his fourth goal of the preseason with an opportunistic strike in the 42nd minute. He received the ball just over the halfway line and spotted the Spartans keeper well off his line. Santos quickly lobbed an effort 40 yards over the keeper and into the net, drawing loud “oohs” from the crowd for a 3-0 lead.
The Spartans came back into the match in the 63rd minute, with forward Chris Campbell ripping the ball off a defender and placing a shot perfectly into the corner of the net.
The match seemed destined to end 3-1, but for a moment of magic from Jeff Michaud in stoppage time. The Rowdies rookie blasted a shot from the corner of the 18-yard box into the far netting to make the score 4-1.

Scoring summary:
Rowdies: Maicon Santos - 10th minute (assisted by Corey Hertzog)
Rowdies: Corey Hertzog - 18th minute (penalty kick)
Rowdies: Maicon Santos - 42nd minute (assisted by Rich Balchan)
UT: Chris Campbell - 63rd minute
Rowdies: Jeff Michaud - 90th minute (assisted by Martin Nuñez)

Rowdies First Half: Contofalsky; Balchan, Mkandawire (c), Antonijevic, Portillos; Chavez, Savage, Espinal; Boggs, Santos, Hertzog
Rowdies Second Half: Pickens; Fernandez, Agbossoumonde, Rusin (c), Sweat; Valimaa*, Guerra, Nuñez; King, Shriver, Michaud
* Indicates trialist 

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Rowdies vs. FC Montreal (Exhibition Game)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (March 13, 2015) — Maicon Santos earned the Tampa Bay Rowdies a 1-1 draw against FC Montreal in a closed-door scrimmage at Al Lang Stadium on Friday afternoon.
FC Montreal is the reserve side for Major League Soccer’s Montreal Impact and competes in the USL.
The Rowdies started the match on the front foot, piling pressure on the visitors right away. Apart from an FC Montreal free kick in the 12th minute, the Rowdies had every scoring chance in the first 45 minutes. On the half hour mark, midfielder Jeff Michaud ripped a shot from outside the box that just climbed over the crossbar.
Four minutes later, Corey Hertzog beat his defender and raced into the box, where he drew significant contact but was not awarded a penalty kick. On the ensuing corner kick, Stefan Antonijevic directed a header just wide of the near post.
Martin Nuñez hit the goalpost with a free kick late in the half, but the score was still even at 0-0 at the break.
Montreal’s Victor N’Diaye gave the away side a quick lead in the second half, capitalizing on a mistake in the Rowdies backline in the 46th minute.
Santos had a chance at pulling Tampa Bay level in the 54th minute, but sent his free kick from the corner of the box into the wall.
In the 68th minute, Santos made good on another chance, running onto a Keith Savage through ball and rounding the goalkeeper before finishing with his left foot to tie the match 1-1.
Tampa Bay had a couple chances at winning the match late on, but had to settle for a draw.

Rowdies vs. Alcanenense (Exhibition Game)

RIO MAIOR, Portugal (March 6, 2015) — The Tampa Bay Rowdies will be coming home Sunday from the preseason tour of Portugal with two wins, a loss and now a draw following Friday’s 1-1 deadlock against Alcanenense in Rio Maior.
Maicon Santos scored his first goal of the preseason in the first half, nodding home a Georgi Hristov corner kick with his head in the 15th minute. Alcanenense tied the match with a penalty kick in the 66th minute. Neither team would score again.
Rowdies Head Coach Thomas Rongen selected a strong starting lineup for the match, picking an XI based on the best performers from the Rowdies’ first three matches in Portugal. Midfielder Marcelo Saragosa wore the captain’s armband.
The Rowdies started the match slowly, possessing the ball for long stretches but without a cutting edge to create viable scoring chances.
Hristov’s corner kick on the quarter hour mark broke the match open, with tall Brazilian forward Maicon Santos leaping to meet the ball with a glancing header toward the back post and beyond Alcanenense’s goalkeeper for a 1-0 lead.
The Rowdies made four changes at the half and were forced into a fifth very quickly when Tamika Mkandawire clashed legs with another player and was withdrawn from the match for precautionary reasons. He is not expected to miss practice Saturday.
With the team undergoing changes, it took some time for the Rowdies to settle into the second half.
Young forward Darwin Espinal provided a consistent outlet down the right wing after halftime, creating numerous scoring chances with his speed. A couple of times, Espinal would beat his defender one-on-one, dribble into the box and cross for a teammate to shoot. JeffMichaud and Hristov each had scoring opportunities created by Espinal, but both sent their efforts just over the crossbar.
With the final whistle, the playing portion of the Rowdies’ tour of Portugal ended. The team has one full day left in Rio Maior before returning home to Tampa Bay on Sunday night.

Rowdies: Contofalsky; King (Chavez 46’), Mkandawire (Agbossoumonde 53’), Antonijevic (Rusin 46’), Sweat; Saragosa (c) (Guerra 74’), Savage (Michaud 46’), Hristov; Boggs (Nunez 46’), Santos (Shriver 70’), Espinal

Friday, 6 March 2015

Rowdies vs. Sporting Lisbon B (Exhibition Game)

ALCOCHETE, Portugal (March 4, 2015) — A late free kick goal scored in the final minutes by Sporting B doomed the Tampa Bay Rowdies to a 3-2 loss Wednesday morning at Sporting Lisbon’s Academy. It was the Rowdies’ first loss in three preseason matches in Portugal.
Sporting B opened the match well, scoring just 12 minutes in on a nice piece of movement from the pacey right winger to get behind the Rowdies defensive line and create space for a shot, which he scored.
Sporting B is in midseason form, having already played 31 matches this year in the Segunda Liga, Portugal’s second division. The team currently sits in ninth place.
The Rowdies responded quickly though with committed team defense leading to offense. Sporting was awarded a throw-in deep in its own end and the Rowdies pinched in and put heavy pressure on the ball. Sporting turned it over and Tampa Bay’s Darwin Espinal received the ball with back to goal on the corner of the 18-yard box. Espinal spun and shot so quickly, Sporting’s goalkeeper was left flat-footed as he turned to watch the ball sail past him and into the far netting to tie up the matchin the 20th minute.
Tampa Bay’s starters continued to hold their own against Sporting before being replaced with a second unit of players on the hour mark. Chris Glodack, Ben Sweat and Espinal were the only players to play all 90 minutes.
Espinal nearly gave the Rowdies a lead in the 82nd minute, shooting hard on target and forcing Sporting’s goalkeeper to make a save. The goalkeeper was able to get a touch on the ball, but it popped high above him and appeared set to bounce over the line before a Sporting defender recovered to clear it away a yard in front of the goal line.
With the score still tied 1-1, Sporting once again took a lead in the 83rd minute on a cross from the right wing that found a friendly foot at the back post for a simple tap-in.
Still fighting hard for a result, the Rowdies didn’t have to wait long for the equalizer.
Zak Boggs tied the match just a minute later on an assist from Martin Nuñez in the 83rd minute. The goal looked very similar to one Keith Savage scored against Benfica U-20 on Tuesday, with Nuñez passing the ball from the byline back toward the penalty spot for Boggs to first-time past the goalkeeper.
It looked like the Rowdies would earn a draw until a Sporting free kick in the closing minutes bent around the wall and into the net to give Sporting a 3-2 win.

Rowdies Lineup: Glodack; Fernandez (King 60’), Mkandawire (Agbossoumonde 60’), Rusin (Antonijevic 60’), Sweat; Michaud (Nuñez 60’), Guerra (Saragosa 60’), Chavez (Savage 60’); Shriver (Boggs 60’), Espinal, Wuthrich* (Santos 60’)
* indicates trialist

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Rowdies vs. SL Benfica’s U-20s (Exhibition Game)

SEIXAL, Portugal (March 3, 2015)  —  Another match, another win.
The Tampa Bay Rowdies notched win number two on their preseason tour of Portugal on Tuesday morning with a 3-1 victory over SL Benfica’s U-20 team. The Rowdies are now 2-0-0 on the trip, having previously defeated CD Fatima on Sunday.
The match was played under perfect skies at a beautiful venue, SL Benfica’s Academy Complex in Seixal, just across the Rio Tagus from the capital city of Lisbon.
Coach Thomas Rongen changed the format of his team from the previous preseason matches, opting to let an 11-man unit play an hour, before being replaced by a second unit to play the last 30 minutes. In previous matches, each unit got 45 minutes.
The starting XI was captained by midfielder Marcelo Saragosa.
After a few minutes of uneasiness that allowed Benfica to settle on the ball and possess it, the Rowdies got themselves into the match and confidence started to soar.
Georgi Hristov gave Tampa Bay a great start, racing into the box in the 10th minute and earning a penalty kick after being brought down by the goalkeeper. Hristov converted the subsequent penalty to give the Rowdies a 1-0 lead early.
Ten minutes later, Hristov was the creator of another Rowdies goal. He chased a long ball over the top to the byline, cleverly sliding to get a foot around the ball before it rolled over the line for a Benfica goal kick. Hristov then slotted a pass back toward the penalty spot, where midfielder Keith Savage first-timed it hard into the net for a 2-0 Rowdies lead.
The rest of the first half was pretty even, though Benfica struggled to create scoring opportunities on its own. Its best chances came on free kicks around the box, though the Rowdies quickly organized to defend the free kicks and allow few shots on target.
Shortly after half time, the referee awarded Benfica a penalty kick of its own, which was converted to make the score 2-1 in favor of the Rowdies.
After the mass substitutions on the hour mark, the Rowdies were again the dominant team, creating chance after chance and peppering Benfica’s net.
Zak Boggs nearly made the score 3-1 tapping a rebound off the underside of the crossbar and over the line, but the assistant referee adjudged him to have been in an offside position on the initial shot and waived the goal off.
The Rowdies would get their third goal though, with 20-year forward Darwin Espinal taking advantage of a Benfica mistake and breaking away toward goal. After rounding the goalkeeper, Espinal stopped the ball on a dime to tap it around a defender that had recovered, leaving the defender on his back as Espinal confidently laced the ball into the net for a 3-1 win.
It was Espinal’s first goal as a member of the Rowdies.

Monday, 2 March 2015

Rowdies vs. CD Fatima (Exhibition Game)

FATIMA, Portugal (March 1, 2015) — The Tampa Bay Rowdies’ preseason tour of Portugal is off to a flying start courtesy of an impressive shift by rookie left back Zac Portillos in Tampa Bay’s 1-0 win over CD Fatima on Sunday morning.
After a couple of days adapting to Portugal in training, Tampa Bay’s match against Fatima was the first of four friendlies the club will play this week.
As in the two preseason friendlies, Head Coach Thomas Rongen played a split-squad, making 10 substitutions at halftime to ensure everyone who dressed for the match 45 minutes of game time. Portillos was the only player to play 90 minutes.
The first half lineup was captained by midfielder Marcelo Saragosa, who was one of six signed players to make their preseason debut Sunday. Juan Guerra, Georgi Hristov, Maicon Santos, Brad Rusin and Darwin Espinal also got their first minutes of the preseason under their belt in the win.
Santos had the best chance at a goal in the first half, receiving an excellent ball from Hristov on the penalty spot, but his first-time shot went inches wide of the goal post. Fatima didn’t threaten much, with the Rowdies comfortably controlling the match for long stretches.
Keith Savage, now the longest-tenured Rowdies player, wore the captain’s armband in the second half, which the Rowdies played extremely aggressive with a nose for goal. If not for a couple of very close offside calls, Tampa Bay could have put a few goals on the board with 20-yard Darwin Espinal just a touch early on several runs through the defense.
Portillos won the match for the Rowdies with an 85th minute goal assisted by Jeff Michaud. Portillos raced down the left flank with the ball at his feet before passing it inside to Michaud and continuing his run. Michaud played a perfectly weighted through ball for Portillos, who kept his balance after contact from a defender. Portillos rounded the diving keeper and slotted his first professional goal home with his right foot to put an exclamation mark on an impressive showing all match.

Scoring Summary:
Rowdies: Zac Portillos – 85th Minute (Assisted by Jeff Michaud)

Rowdies First Half: Contofalsky; Balchan*, Mkandawire, Antonijevic, Portillos; Guerra, Saragosa, King; Hristov, Santos, Nuñez
Second Half: Glodack; Fernandez, Agbossoumonde, Rusin, Portillos; Michaud, Savage, Wuthrich*; Shriver, Espinal, Boggs
* Indicates trialist 

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Rowdies vs. Malmö FF (Exhibition Game)

BRADENTON, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Rowdies were second best Thursday night, falling 4-0 to Swedish powerhouse Malmö FF 4-0 in an exhibition match at IMG Academy Stadium.
Rowdies coach Thomas Rongen again played a trialist-heavy lineup to assess players early with nearly two months still remaining before the Rowdies’ 2015 North American Soccer League season opener on April 4 in San Antonio. Four trialists started the match and 10 of 12 players to appear in the second half were trialists.
The teams played a well-contested first 30 minutes, with the Rowdies standing toe-to-toe with the reigning Swedish champions. Malmö FF is the winningest team in Sweden, with 21 Allsvenskan league championships to its name. The club competed in the group stage of the 2014-2015 UEFA Champions League against Atletico Madrid (Spain,) Juventus (Italy) and Olympiacos (Greece.)
With the match scoreless through 30 minutes, Malmö’s Magnus Wolf Eikrem opened the scoring after a Rowdies defensive lapse in the 32nd minute. Malmö was awarded a free kick near the corner flag and took it quickly, delivering the ball in to Eikrem before the Rowdies had set up defensively. Eikrem turned and fired on goal. Trialist goalkeeper Chris Glodack got a glove on it, but was unable to stop the shot.
Malmö doubled the lead in the 42nd minute when Markus Rosenberg found space in the box for a shot. The Swedes were back at it just a minute later when Erik Johansson headed a corner kick past Glodack for Malmö’s third goal.
The second half was much choppier, but the Rowdies again held their own against the Europeans. Pawel Cibicki scored Malmö’s only goal of the second half in the 69th minute.
The Rowdies had several scoring chances themselves, but were ultimately unable to beat goalkeeper Robin Olssen on the night, falling 4-0.

Scoring Summary:
Malmo - Eikrem - 32 Minute (Assisted by Yotun)
Malmo - Rosenberg - 42 Minute (Assisted by Berget)
Malmo - Johansson - 43rd Minute (Assisted by Eikrem)
Malmo - Cibicki - 69th minute (Assisted by Rosenberg)

Malmo FF: Olsen; Tinnerholm (Konate 46'), Johansson, Helander, Yotun (Hammar 67'); Sana (Johansson 67'), Adu (Cibicki 46'), Lewicki, Eikrem; Rosenberg (Rakip '77), Berget (Mehmeti 77')
Rowdies First Half: Glodack*; King, Yamada*, Agbossoumonde, Portillos*; Chavez, Nuñez, Savage; Shriver, Barbara*, Hertzog
Rowdies Second Half: Glodack*; Balchin*, Yamada* (Gonzalez 67'), Antonijevic, Barrientos*; Michaud*, Fernandez*, Paez*; Hernandez, Walker*, Boggs*
* Indicates trialist 

Rowdies vs. Philadelphia Union (Exhibition Game)

CLEARWATER, Fla. (February 10, 2015) — Head Coach Thomas Rongen and the Tampa Bay Rowdies opened their preseason campaign the right way with a 1-0 win over Major League Soccer’s Philadelphia Union on a chilly Tuesday night at the Joe DiMaggio Sports Complex. Rowdies forward Corey Hertzog’s 67th minute penalty was the difference between the sides.
With nearly two months still to go before Tampa Bay opens the North American Soccer League season, the Rowdies used Tuesday night as a chance to look at as many players as possible. The Rowdies’ starting lineup featured eight trialists. Rongen substituted all 10 outfield players at halftime, with only four trialists playing the second 45 minutes. Trialist goalkeeper Kamil Contofalsky was the only player to play all 90.
“It’s preseason, but it’s still important to get off on the right foot and there’s a lot of positives we can take from tonight,” Rongen said.
The Union played a particularly strong lineup from the start with Maurice Edu, CJ Sapong and Sebastian Le Toux all included.
Centerbacks Tamika Mkandawire and Gale Agbossoumonde showed great chemistry in the first half. Philadelphia enjoyed much of the possession early on, but the Rowdies absorbed the pressure well to keep the Union off the board. A front line consisting of Zak Boggs, Amani Walker and Brian Shriver created its fair share of dangerous chances but was unable to break through.
“Playing against an MLS team, our two units more than held their own,” Rongen said. “It was their first time playing together and I think they deserve great credit.”
The night’s decisive moment came in the 67th minute when the Rowdies won a free kick in a dangerous spot. As the delivery was sent in, Justin Chavez was pulled to the ground by Philadelphia’s Michael Lahoud. The referee awarded Tampa Bay a penalty and Hertzog, originally from the Pennsylvania area, slotted it hard to the bottom right corner of the net for the go-ahead goal.
The Union responded well and had a couple of notable scoring chances late in the match, but the Rowdies closed it well to post a clean sheet.
“The team achieved the goals we set for them before the match,” Rongen said. “The players stuck to the points we made beforehand and it was a very pleasing performance. It’s pleasing to get a win under our belts.”

Scoring Summary:
Rowdies: Corey Hertzog - 67th Minute (Penalty Kick)

Union: McCarthy; Gaddis, Vitoria, White, Williams; Edu, Nogueira; Wenger, Maidana, Le Toux; Sapong.
Rowdies First Half: Contofalsky*; Yamada*, Agbossoumonde, Mkandawire, Barrientos*; Michaud*, Gonzalez*, Paez*; Shriver, Walker*, Boggs*
Rowdies Second Half: Contofalsky*; King, Chavez, Antonijevic, Portillos*; Savage, Fernandes*, Nuñez; Hertzog, Barbara*, Wagner
*Indicates trialist

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Rowdies Press Photos - Luis Fernando

Luis Fernando in full flight, during 1983 at Tampa Stadium.

Rowdies Press Photos - Rowdies vs. Cosmos Scuffle

Wes McLeod and Jan Van Der Veen act as peacekeepers, whilst Oscar Fabbiani picks himself up, during a game against the New York Cosmos at Tampa Stadium in 1980.

Rowdies Press Photos - Peter Anderson

Peter Anderson outjumps New York Cosmos' Werner Roth, at Giants Stadium in 1978. Watched on by Wes McLeod.

Rowdies Memorabilia - John Sissons 1970 My Favourite Soccer Stars Card

John Sissons' 1970 My Favourite Soccer Stars Card, whilst he was at Sheffield Wednesday.

Rowdies Press Photos - Kevin Eagan

Kevin Eagan in action during 1977.

Rowdies vs. Indy Eleven

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Rowdies closed out the 2014 season with a wild couple of minutes at Al Lang Stadium. Goals in the 88th and 89th minutes, first by the Indy Eleven and then the Rowdies, saw the season end with a 2-2 draw in front of 6,377 fans on a chilly night in St. Petersburg.
The Rowdies led 1-0 at halftime, only for Indy to equalize in the 47th minute and then take a lead in the 88th minute. The Rowdies stormed back to close the season with a point courtesy of Amani Walker's game-tying goal just a minute later.
"I'm disappointed with the outcome tonight of a 2-all draw," Rowdies coach Ricky Hill said. "We would have loved to send our great fans home with a victory which they deserved."
Rowdies midfielder Evans Frimpong put the Rowdies up 1-0 on the Eleven in the 17th minute. Frimpong scored both goals in last Saturday's 2-2 draw with the New York Cosmos, so at that point, Frimpong has scored each of the Rowdies' last three goals dating back to last week. Bulgarian forward Georgi Hristov collected his fourth assist of the season as he laid the ball off to Frimpong, advancing on goal from the right wing. Frimpong took one touch to set himself up for a shot, which bounced up and out of reach over Eleven goalkeeper Kristian Nicht before settling into the far netting of the goal.
The Rowdies' lead was nearly doubled in the 29th minute when Hristov sent in a cross from the right wing. Eleven captain Erick Norales met the cross at the far post and chested it just a few inches away from his own net to keep Tampa Bay's lead at 1-0.
Indy came out of the locker room fighting in the second half and it didn't take long for it to find its way back into the match. The Eleven sent in a corner kick in the 47th minute, which was initially cleared by the Rowdies defense, but only to just outside the 18-yard box. Indy midfielder Don Smart was quickest to react and blasted a first-time shot past Matt Pickens in Tampa Bay's net to level the match at 1-1.
The match stayed even at 1-1 for nearly the rest of the match before Jhulliam gave the Eleven a lead in the 88th minute. Victor Pineda's perfectly-timed pass saw Jhulliam beat the offside trap and find space behind the backline where he collected the ball and slid a shot underneath Pickens to put Indy ahead late.
"I'm delighted with the courage the players showed after going 2-1 down with three or four minutes left to go," Hill said. "They still were able to raise their game with Amani coming on and scoring a lovely goal for us to get us back in it."
Tampa Bay didn't give up though and Indy's lead didn't last long. 
Rowdies left back Blake Wagner took a free kick in the 89th minute that found Amani Walker at the back post, but headed past Nicht to tie the match up again at 2-2 just before stoppage time for the last Rowdies goal of the season as the match ended 2-2.

Scoring Summary:
Rowdies: Evans Frimpong - 17th minute (Assisted by Georgi Hristov)
Indy: Don Smart- 47th minute
Indy: Jhulliam- 88th minute (Assisted by Victor Pineda)
Rowdies: Amani Walker- 89th minute (Assisted by Blake Wagner)
Rowdies: Pickens; Sanfilippo (c), TMkandawire, Yamada, Wagner; Frimpong, Savage, Wallace, Shriver (Mkosana 72'); Olguin (Walker 72'), Hristov
Indy Eleven: Nicht; Franco, Miller, Norales (c) (Okiomah 77'), Frias; Smart, Pineda, Mares (Moore 90'), Smith (Jhulliam 71'); Rugg, Ambersley

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Rowdies Snap Shots - Tim Walters and Steve Wegerle

A snap shot from an 1986-87 AISA game against the Canton Invaders, showing Tim Walters and Steve Wegerle.
Many thanks To Dave Morrison for this photo.

Rowdies Press Photos - Jan Van Der Veen

Jan Van Der Veen holds off New York Cosmos' Giorgio Chinaglia, at Tampa Stadium in 1980.

Rowdies Press Photos - Wes Mcleod

Wes McLeod watches as New York Cosmos' Franz Beckenbauer head the ball out of defence, at Giants Stadium in 1978.

Rowdies Memorabilia - John Sissons Poster

A poster of John Sissons, whilst with West Ham United, taken from a 1968 edition of Jimmy Hill Football Magazine.

Rowdies Press Photos - Rodney Marsh

Rodney Marsh, directed by England trainer Harold  Sheperdson, runs out at Wembley to make his International debut in 1971.
Many thanks to David Hoebarth for this photo.

Rowdies vs. New York Cosmos

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. — The Tampa Bay Rowdies and New York Cosmos played to an entertaining 2-2 draw at James M. Shuart Stadium on Saturday night. Rowdies midfielder Evans Frimpong scored a brace, including a 90th minute equalizer that made it 2-2.
Tampa Bay midfielder Evans Frimpong gave the Rowdies a lead in the 25th minute, but it was very short-lived. Two minutes later, Hagop Chirishian capitalized on a Rowdies defensive mistake to pull the Cosmos level.
Midfielder Darel Russell delivered a free kick from far out in the right channel, but the diminutive Frimpong outleaped New York goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer to head it into the net and give the Rowdies a 1-0 lead. It was Frimpong’s first goal of the season.
"I was delighted with the start of the game in terms of taking the sting out of the game and making it difficult for the Cosmos, frustrating them slightly," Rowdies coach Ricky Hill said. "We had the bonus of Evans getting in and scoring a big header to put us 1-nil up."
Chirishian was the beneficiary of a failed pass in the Rowdies’ defensive ranks in the 27th minute, racing onto the ball and running to the endline before finding space to shoot between Rowdies goalkeeper Matt Pickens and his near post to score for New York.
"We shot ourselves in the foot to a degree," Hill said. "We had a chance to clear, we didn't clear and it ended up in the back of our net. Credit to the guys for regrouping and ensuring we wouldn't score again for the remainder of the half."
The Cosmos could have easily taken a lead in the 43rd minute, but forward Danny Mwanga missed a tap-in from close range.
The second half got off to a quick start as midfielder Marcos Senna gave the Cosmos the lead off a perfectly executed free kick. Goalkeeper Matt Pickens dove left in search of getting a touch on the shot but there was nothing he could do. 
"When Marcos Senna is on the pitch, you always know that he's capable of doing what he's done tonight and what he did to us last year (with a similar goal,)" Hill said. 
Minutes later, the Rowdies would have a chance of their own with a Shriver header but goalkeeper Maurer was quick to get to the ball and avoid the equalizer. It was the Cosmos who nearly doubled their lead in the 62nd minute, when Stokkelien redirected a cross from the right flank. His touch went off the far post and traveled across the goalline until Rowdies defender Jordan Gafa cleared it out of the box.
The match became very physical as the play continued but it would be the Rowdies who created several chances in the final minutes of play. Second-half substitute Lucky Mkosana had two chances in the span of one minute, starting with a shot just inside the 18-yard box that was saved by Maurer. On the ensuing corner kick, the Zimbabwe native had yet another shot, this time it went over the bar and out for a goal kick.
"We had a gameplan to gradually introduce new, more offensive players as the game went on to see if we could get a goal back," Hill said. "Once again, through the efforts of all the guys sticking at it and believing we may be able to force an equalizer, we had good situations."
Seconds after the fourth official signaled four minutes of added time, Frimpong found his second goal of the match, capitalizing on a Maurer error. The Cosmos goalkeeper was able to clear the initial cross but the ball immediately was sent back into the heart of the box.  Maurer misplayed the bouncing ball and Frimpong was their to prounce on the rebound and equalize it for the visiting team.

Scoring Summary:
Rowdies: Evans Frimpong - 25th minute (assisted by Darel Russell)
New York: Hagop Chirishian - 27th minute (assisted by Sebastian Guenzatti)
New York: Marcos Senna - 49th minute
Rowdies: Evans Frimpong - 90th minute

Cosmos: Maurer; Mulligan, Freeman, Gorskie, Ayoze; Senna, Nane (Murphy 85'); Guenzatti, Denissen, Chirishian (Diaz 67'); Mwanga (Stokkelien 46')
Rowdies: Pickens; Gafa, Sanfilippo (c), Clinton, Wallace; Frimpong, Russell, Savage (Townsend 83'), Wagner (Mkosana 77'); Shriver, Olguin (Hertzog 69')

Monday, 20 October 2014

Rowdies Snap Shots - Tom Fitzgerald Memorial

Former Rowdies II player Tom Fitzgerald's memorial plaque, Tom sadly lost his life in a motorcylce accident in 2004.

Rowdies Press Photos - Mark Wright

Mark Wright (top) in action for Lynn University, during his 1984-87 spell there.
Many thanks to Mark Wright for this photo.

Rowdies Press Photos - Frantz Mathieu

Frantz Mathieu during a training session with the Chicago Sting, in 1980.

Rowdies Press Photos - The Wowdies

1979 Wowdies Pam Seals and RC Leto, enjoy the Aquamania Water Slide.

Rowdies Press Photos - Mike Connell

Mike Connell loses out to New York Cosmos' Franz Beckenbauer, at Giants Stadium in 1978.

Rowdies vs. Atlanta Silverbacks

ATLANTA, Ga. -- The Tampa Bay Rowdies drew 1-1 with the Atlanta Silverbacks on a chilly Saturday night at Silverbacks Park. Georgi Hristov's first-half goal put Tampa Bay ahead 1-0 at halftime, but Jaime Chavez's second-half goal pulled the Silverbacks level. Neither team would score again.
"On reflection, it's a good point won," Rowdies coach Ricky Hill said. "Atlanta deserved something from the game because Matt Pickens played really well tonight and they hit the post on a couple of occasions. I was pleased with the shape of the side tonight, our organization and our on-field management. The players were all engaged with each other and they were working for each other. I was pleased with the way we responded to what has been a difficult time. It would have been nice to get three points, but it's nice to arrest that losing feeling and mentality. The guys feel a little more confident now and it's something we can definitely build on."
The Silverbacks opened the match as the better team and nearly grabbed the opening goal on a couple of occasions. 
Twelve minutes in, Silverbacks defender Alex Harlley shot past Rowdies goalkeeper Matt Pickens, but his shot caromed off the goalpost toward the penalty spot. Jaime Chavez's effort went over Pickens and was goal-bound, but Rowdies right back Jordan Gafa was in position to clear it off the line.
Six minutes later, Atlanta's Jesus Gonzalez rocketed a shot off Pickens' crossbar.
In the 23rd minute, a miscommunication between Pickens and Frankie Sanfilippo gave Pablo Cruz space for a bicycle kick two yards out from goal, but his effort looped over the crossbar.
Facing test after test, the Rowdies defense bent, but didn't break. Pickens recorded seven saves on the night.
"The defense showed great resilience not to concede when Atlanta was playing really well," Hill said. "(Pickens) was called upon on more than a few occasions and came up trump for us. Kyle Clinton, Frankie Sanfilippo, Jordan Gafa and Blake Wagner, as well as Darel Russell and Keith Savage, put their bodies on the line to ensure that there were people there contesting things. When crosses came in, they put their heads where boots were flying, which is all that I can ask for. When they step on the field, they try the best they can and they play with their heart and soul for 90 minutes."
Rowdies forward Luciano Olguin received the ball in the box in the 38th minute with enough time to collect, turn and shoot, but his shot was blocked by a defender before reaching goal. The deflection bounced directly to Hristov's feet, who slotted home his ninth goal of the season. It was his second goal this week and third in the last five matches.
"Georgi looks like he's rounding into some serious form at this time," Hill said. "He worked ever so hard tonight and got his reward by scoring a goal."
After the halftime break, Atlanta again started as the more potent attacking side, finally finding its goal in the 54th minute as Shaka Bangura's looping cross from the byline found Chavez at the backpost for the game-tying tap-in.
The Rowdies inserted Lucky Mkosana and Casey Townsend into the match midway through the second half, with both causing some disruption within Atlanta's defense. The Rowdies put six shots on target in the match, with Silverbacks goalkeeper Thomas Hunter also putting in an impressive shift.
Hristov nearly scored his second goal of the night in the 74th minute, but his effort was wide of Atlanta's net.
"On another night, with a little more attention and incision at the vital times, we might have had more than one goal to show for it."
Atlanta's Junior Sandoval had a golden chance to score a go-ahead goal with a free kick from just outside the box in the 80th minute, but his shot was inches wide of the post.

Scoring Summary:
Rowdies:: Georgi Hristov - 38th minute
Atlanta: Jaime Chavez - 54th minute (Assisted by Shaka Bangura)

Atlanta Silverbacks: Hunter; Harlley (Sousa 86'), Canovas, Bangura, Poltronieri; Gonzalez, Gavin, Burgos (McCaulay 73'), Cruz (Sandoval 68'); Chavez, Bangura
Rowdies: Pickens; Gafa, Sanfilippo, Clinton, Wagner; Hertzog (Mkosana 64'), Russell, Savage, Shriver (Frimpong 85'); Olguin (Townsend 72'), Hristov

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Rowdies Press Photos - Wes McLeod

Wes McLeod in action against the New York Cosmos, at Giants Stadium in 1978.

Rowdies Memorabilia - Ray Vigliotti Signed Card

A signed 1982-83 Ray Vigliotti card, whilst with the Whitita Wings.
Many thank to Ray Knisley for this photo.

Rowdies Press Photos - Mark Karpun

Mark Karpun challenges Chicago Stings' Mike Twellman, during the game in Chicago, in 1983. Watched on by Manny Rojas.

Signed Cards - 1982 Rowdies II Matt Meyer

Matt Meyer's signed Rowdies II card.

Rowdies Press Photos - Cylde Best

Clyde Best in action for Feyenoord against FC Amsterdam, Holland in 1977.
Many thanks to David Hoebarth for this photo.

Rowdies vs. Minnesota United FC

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Rowdies mounted a late comeback effort against league-leading Minnesota United FC, but ran out of time, losing 3-2 to the Loons.
The Rowdies had taken a 1-0 first-half only for Minnesota to equalize by halftime. A pair of Minnesota goals on either side of the hour mark gave the Loons a 3-1 lead. Rowdies forward Casey Townsend cut the deficit in half with a goal in the 90th minute, but referee Rubiel Vazquez ended the match before the Rowdies had time to score their third goal.
Tampa Bay forward Georgi Hristov put the Rowdies ahead in the 28th minute, but Loons forward Christian Ramirez leveled the score just before halftime in the 44th minute.
"Overall, it was a fairly good game," Rowdies coach Ricky Hill said. "I was happy with the discipline our guys showed within the tactical structure that we set out during the last couple of days. They implented that really well in the first half and I felt Minnesota weren't really a threat at all during that period. Instead of being 1-nil at half time, which would have given us extra confidence and lift, we came in at 1-all from a long throw-in into our box. I asked my guys to give me another 45 minutes of discipline the way they did in the first half, but we came out in the second period a little bit cold."
Blake Wagner earned an assist on the Rowdies goal, collecting the ball and dragged it away from his defender and onto his back foot. He then sneakily poked the ball through to Hristov, sending him one-on-one against Minnesota goalkeeper Matt Van Oekel. Hristov took a couple of dribbles to draw Van Oekel off his line, then slid the ball low past the goalkeepers' right hand to put the Rowdies up 1-0.
Hristov nearly had another one-on-one opportunity against Van Oekel in the 43rd minute, but Minnesota's last ditch defending did enough to prevent the Rowdies from taking a 2-0 lead.
Tampa Bay's lead nearly lasted until halftime, but a long throw-in by Brian Kallman deep in the Rowdies' half found Ramirez on the back post, who finished first-time past Rowdies goalkeeper Matt Pickens.
A Minnesota defensive error in the 51st minute nearly gave Corey Hertzog a shot on goal after stealing an attempted clearance, but the ball ran just far enough away from him for Minnesota to successfully clear it.
In the 56th minute, Hristov intercepted a pass near midfield and started a quick attack with Luciano Olguin for support. Hristov slid the ball over to Olguin, who shot with his left foot, but it was saved by Van Oekel.
Minnesota's second goal, in the 58th minute, came in controversial fashion. Rowdies defender Anthony Wallace shielded Brian Kallman to the endline, with the ball appearing to roll past the endline and out of play before Kallman crossed to Ramirez, who finished past Pickens. The goal was Ramirez's league-high 19th of the season. 
"There's some dispute about whether the ball went over the line or not," Hill said. "At this level, you just continue playing to the whistle and that's it. We went 2-1 down and then, in quick succession, went 3-1 down without really being focused and intense enough in and around our box."
Eight minutes later, Juliano Vicentini extended Minnesota's lead to 3-1 with his first goal of the season. Ramirez and newly-minted United States Men's National Team member Miguel Ibarra combined well just outside the Rowdies' 18-yard box, but Tampa Bay defender Kyle Clinton stepped in and poked the ball away from Ibarra. The ball bounced directly to Aaron Pitchkolan, who slid it to Vicentini for a first-time finish and a 3-1 lead.
Tampa Bay made a pair of offensive-minded substitutions, sending Lucky Mkosana and Casey Townsend onto the field immediately after Vicentini's goal as it attempted to even the match once again. Those two would pair together for a goal in the 90th minute, as Mkosana's low cross from the left wing beat Minnesota's defenders. Townsend tapped it past Van Oekel from close range for his third goal of the season.
"The guys kept going and kept trying to prise things open," Hill said. "We didn't create enough opportunities to get back in the game, but we had a nice chance at the end that Casey converted well."
The Rowdies had one final chance to equalize before the end of the match, when Wallace took a free kick from 40 yards out, but his delivery was too long for the Rowdies to manage a shot.

Scoring Summary:
Rowdies: Georgi Hristov- 28th minute (Assisted by Blake Wagner)
Minnesota: Christian Ramirez- 44th minute (Assisted by Brian Kallman)
Minnesota: Christian Ramirez- 58th minute (Assisted by Brian Kallman)
Minnesota: Juliano Vicentini- 66th minute (Assisted by Aaron Pitchkolan)
Rowdies: Casey Townsend- 90th minute (Assisted by Lucky Mkosana)

Rowdies: Pickens; Gafa, Clinton, Yamada, Wallace; Hertzog (Frimpong 90'), Russell, Savage, Wagner (Mkosana 66'); Olguin (Townsend 66'), Hristov
Minnesota: Van Oekel; Kallman, Calvano, Dias, Davis; Vicentini (Reed 71'), Franks (Ibarra 59'); Venegas (Mendes 79'), Pitchkolan (c), Daley; Ramirez