The Tampa Bay Rowdies dropped their second straight league match, losing 2-1 to the San Antonio Scorpions at Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg, Fla on Saturday night. Scorpions' forward Blake Wagner scored the go-ahead goal in the 37th minute off an indirect free kick from six yards out. The Rowdies would level it up in the 80th minute after a goal by forward Carl Cort, but the Scorpions would regain the lead in the dying minutes thanks to substitute Hans Denissen
"Similar to the Carolina match, we lost focus after scoring," explained Rowdies head coach Ricky Hill. "We dominated the entire match, and they had a couple of breaks and capitalized on it. We must work during the week to eliminate these defensive lapses."
With the Rowdies controlling possession for most of the half, it was the Scorpions who had the two most dangerous chances of the half. Rowdies forward Amani Walker had initially threatened the Scorpions with two heads but they weren't strong accurate enough to open up the scoring.
Scorpions’ midfielder Pat Phelan was close to opening the match in the 32nd minute with a 40 yard blast off a free kick. Rowdies’ goalkeeper Diego Restrepo dove to his right and knocked the ball away from the goal. Minutes later Rowdies defender Jay Needham looked to clear the ball from the box but his clearance was headed in for an own goal, forcing Restrepo to make another save. The referee blew his whistle and called a free kick for the Scorpions from six yards out. Scorpions’ defender Kevin Harmse played the indirect free kick to Wagner who powered the shot under the wall of Rowdies defenders to make it 1-0.
"The first half seemed to go our side, as we controlled the match," commented Hill. "They didn't have any dangerous chances and we were able to have a solid performance in the box. They scored late in the half and we went down a goal."
The intensity continued in the second half, as the Rowdies dominated play but were unable to score the equalizer. Forward Devin Del Do had the first chance of the half with a great individual run, but his shot was blocked by the Scorpions defense, sending it out for a corner kick. Mulholland took control of the offense, having several dangerous crossed throughout the second half.
After numerous attempts on goal, the break for the Rowdies arrived in the 80th minute when Cort headed home Del Do's cross. Cort scored his first goal of this season, placing his header in the far post and out of reach of Vuolo.
"Obviously, I was excited to get on the pitch," said Cort. "I was able to score but it didn't help the team win which is what we all want to do. For some reason when we get a goal, we lose focus and it has hurt us once again."
Tampa Bay pushed forward for the winning goal but it would be San Antonio who came away with the three points after a goal in the 88th minute. Denissen received a through ball from Harmse and placed his kick past Restrepo. Harmse picked up his second assist of the match, putting San Antonio up 2-1 with just minutes left.
Tampa Bay once again went in search of the equalizer, but the Scorpions defense would withstand the pressure and close the match out.
San Antonio: Blake Wagner - 37th minute (Assisted by Kevin Harmse)
Rowdies: Carl Cort - 80th minute (Assisted by Devin Del Do)
San Antonio: Hans Denissen - 88th minute (Assisted by Kevin Harmse)
Rowdies: Restrepo; Sanfilippo (Captain), Scott, Needham, Gafa (Clinton 76'); Mulholland, Campbell, Savage; Hristov; Walker (Cort 68'), Del Do (Ambersley 82')
Rowdies Exit U.S. Open Cup after 2-0 Loss to Timbers
The Tampa Bay Rowdies were knocked out of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup after a 2-0 loss to Major League Soccer's Portland Timbers at JELD-WEN Field in Portland, OR. An early goal by midfierlder Michael Nanchoff would put the Timbers up in the first half, while second half substitute Jack Jewsbury would score the insurance goal in the 56th minute. Tampa Bay exits the competition after reaching the fourth round for the first time in franchise history, including a historic victory of the Seattle Sounders in the first round.
The opening goal in the 9th minute came from a perfectly placed volley by Nanchoff after he picked up a bouncing rebound just outside the box. Rowdies goalkeeper Diego Restrepo was unable to get a touch on the low volley to stop the ball from going in.
"We began the match forcing Portland into their own half," commented Rowdies head coach Ricky Hill. "Their goal changed everything as now we were down one goal after starting the match in great fashion. Their first goal was a perfect strike and Diego could do nothing about it."
The Rowdies settled down after giving up the early goal, and would go on to contain more possession as the half unfolded. Even though Tampa Bay was unable to create any dangerous chances in the first 45 minutes, forwards Mike Ambersley and Georgi Hristov were constantly making great runs into the TImbers box. Midfielder Luke Mulholland was another player that pushed the Rowdies forward, setting up several Rowdies attacks down the flanks.
Restrepo made back-to-back saves in the 29th and 31st minute to keep the Rowdies down just one goal. Both Timbers forwards Frederic Piquionne and Kalif Alhassan were unable to get powerful shots off, allowing Restrepo to come up with two easy saves.
Portland would double the lead in the 55th minute, as Jewsbury would tap in the ball after an assist by Piquionne. An initial free kick came in from 35 yards out and was headed into the heart of the box by Piquionne. His header found an oncoming Jewsbury to make it 2-0.
The Rowdies goalkeeper denied forward Jose Adolfo Valencia in two chances, making two great saves in the 68th and 72nd minute to keep the Rowdies down two.
"We gave up two easy goals that could have been avoided," mentioned Restepo. "I felt we had a great match defensively, but we are disappointed that we had those two lapses where they scored. Our efforts weren't enought but we have a good chance to bounce back against San Antonio."
Mulholland nearly cut the Timbers lead in half after his free kick smashed off the crossbar in the 79th minute. Second half substitute Amani Walker made a great run down the right flank in the 83rd minute, sending a low cross to Ambersley but the ball was poked away from the forward before he got a shot off.
"It was unlucky that the free kick didn't go in," said Mulholland. "Luck just wasn't on our side tonight. If that would have gone in, we would have had 10 minutes to try to find the equalizer. With that being said, we can't sit and talk about what would have happened. We must bounce back and get the win on Saturday."
Tampa Bay would go a man down in the last minute of play after forward Georgi Hristov would be sent off after receiving his second yellow card of the match. The Rowdies were able to maintain long stints of possession throughout the match but they were unable to harm the TImbers in the final third.
Portland: Michael Nanchoff - 9th minute
Portland: Jack Jewsbury - 55th minute (assisted by Frederic Piquionne)
Rowdies Lose for the First Time on the Road this Season at Carolina
The Tampa Bay Rowdies lost on the road for the first time this season after the Carolina RailHawks scored two goals in stoppage time to make it 2-1 at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, NC. A goal in the 87th minute by forward Devin Del Do seemed to give the Rowdies the win, but the RailHawks came from behind with two unanswered goals. Tampa Bay played a man down for over 50 minutes, as a red card was issued to defender Andres Arango for taking down midfielder Ty Shipalane.
It was midfielder Luke Mulholland who created the first chance for the away team in the 18th minute. After midfielder Shane Hill played him the ball, Mulholland found space and fired a shot on goal. The strike would be deflected by a Carolina defender, forcing goalkeeper Akira Fitzgerald to make a save and send it out for a corner kick.
The speed of Shipalane and Ababio down the right flank were constant threats for the Rowdies defense, but for the first 30 minutes they were able to deny the RailHawks any scoring chances. It would be Shipalane who would be brought down outside the box by Arango and force the referee to show the Rowdies defender a red card in the 37th minute. With the Rowdies down a man, Carolina took advantage of the spaces in the final third but the Rowdies defense continued to be solid, denying the RailHawks the opening goal.
With the man advantage, Carolina pushed for the game-winning goal at the start of the second half. The Rowdies were on their heels in the start of the second half with the RailHawks attacking through the flanks. Rowdies Captain Frankie Sanfilippo was able to stop Shipalane in various moments of the second half, while goalkeeper Diego Restrepo also made several key saves to keep the visiting team level with RailHawks.
Tampa Bay would wait patiently for their chance to score, and it would come in the 78th minute with a curling shot by midfielder Keith Savage. The Florida native took a shot from outside the 18-yard box but it would be denied by the right post. Mulholland was able to pick up the rebound but his shot was deflected out for a corner kick.
Savage's shot off the post seemed to give the Rowdies confidence, and it would pay off as second-half substitute Devin Del Do would score the go-ahead goal in the 87th minute. Forward Amani Walker went up for a header and forced Carolina to misplay the ball, ending up at Del Do's feet. The forward was able to lob it over Fitzgerald and give the Rowdies the 1-0 lead.
Carolina had nothing to lose and went after the tying goal immediately. As the match entered stoppage time, a high cross into the Rowdies box found second-half substitute Cesar Elizondo's header to put the match level at 1-1. With the match once again tied, it was Shipalane who would score the game-winning goal moments before the final whistle. The midfielder was able to shake off Sanfilippo and fire a shot. As Restrepo dove to make the save, the ball took a deflection off a Rowdies defender and trickled into the back of the net.
After the 2-1, there was little time for the Rowdies to try to equalize the match. The Rowdies dropped their first road match of the season after starting the NASL Spring Season with a four-game unbeaten streak on the road.
Rowdies Come Away from Edmonton with a Scoreless Draw
The Tampa Bay Rowdies played to a scoreless draw against FC Edmonton despite the Canadian team playing a man down for over 30 minutes on Sunday afternoon at Clarke Stadium. Edmonton's defender Mallan Roberts was sent off in the 53rd minute after receiving his second yellow card of the match. The red card opened the match up creating spaces for the Rowdies in the final 30 minutes.
The NASL Champions began the first half unable to keep possession of the ball, something that Tampa Bay is known for. It was FC Edmonton that would have the first chance 30 minutes into the match with midfielder Shaun Saiko recieving a pass inside the box from forward Michael Cox. Saiko took a shot but it went straight to Rowdies goalkeeper Diego Restrepo, who was able to come up with the save.
As the half progressed, the Rowdies began to feel more comfortable and retained more possession. Defender Andres Arango almost gave the Rowdies the lead in the 41st minute with a strike from around the penalty spot but it was pushed out of play by goalkeeper John Smits.
"We started the game very well," commented Head Coach Ricky Hill. "During most of the first half I felt we weren't under much pressure and we were able to stop any dangerous chances from forming. I am happy with the manner we went about our work as we looked threatening at points during the match.
On the ensuing corner kick, Smits once again denied the Rowdies the lead with another save off the line. Tampa Bay's defense found itself well-situated in various moments of the first half, with Captain Frankie Sanfilipo making two key defensive blocks to not allow the Eddies to get a shot on target.
At the start of the second half, Rowdies defender Jordan Gafa came up big clearing the ball out for a corner kick before Cox could take a shot on Restrepo. After Roberts' red card, midfielder Luke Mulholland saw more spaces open up in the midfield giving him chances to set up forward Georgi Hristov and second-half substitute Mike Ambersley with several great passes.
Even though Tampa Bay had the man advantage, the Eddies still were able to shake things up in the Rowdies box through set pieces. However, like against Seattle, Tampa Bay responded well and cleared the ball away from the box without problems.
"With them going down to 10 men, they tried to stay within game and deny space in the defensive third," explained Hill. "We could have moved ball better in my opinion. At times we were on the ball to long and it enabled them to get set up and stop our attacks."
With Ambersley making a run into the heart of the box, Hristov was able to send a cross in the 67th minute but it would never reach the target as Smits would come off his line to cut the pass. Once again the Bulgarian was key in the Rowdies offense, making constant runs into the box trying to catch Edmonton's defense off guard.
In the 74th minute, Mulholland placed a perfect through ball into the right side of the box to find Hristov at the end of the pass. The Bulgarian took a powerful shot but Smits was able to send the ball out to a corner kick.
Rowdies Eliminate Three-Time U.S. Open Cup Champion Seattle
The Tampa Bay Rowdies eliminated the three-time champion Seattle Sounders FC 1-0 at the 2013 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Third Round at St. Petersburg's Al Lang Stadium. Forward Georgi Hristov put the Rowdies up 1-0 in the 75th minute after tapping in a rebound from Sounders goalkeeper Marcus Hahnermann. Goalkeeper Diego Restrepo made a game-changing save in the 86th minute, denying forward Obafemi Martins from the penalty spot.
With the win, the Rowdies will travel to play the Portland Timbers (MLS) on Wednesday, June 12 in the fourth round of the U.S. Open Cup.
"It was an amazing effort by the guys," commented Rowdies head coach Ricky Hill. "We came out and gave it our all tonight and it showed on the pitch. I am happy for our players, but I am also very happy for our fans who were supporting us along the way."
The encounter saw the Rowdies pressure early on as they looked to not let the Sounders keep the ball at any moment. Tampa Bay picked up several corners in the first half hour of play that Seattle's goalkeeper Hahnemann had no trouble cutting down on.
It was midfielder Shane Hill who had the first chance to put the Rowdies ahead. His strike came from 25 yards out in the 45th minute, but once again Hahnemann was able to comfortable come up with the save.
In a first half that was back-and-forth, Tampa Bay's defense was able to overcome Seattle's pressure. The Rowdies handled the Sounders attack with a strong performance from the back line.
The second half began to open up as Seattle mounted an attack on the Rowdies’ goal. The Rowdies began to find more space when they were in possession of the ball. Things began to go back and forth as the teams traded possession of the ball and began to attack each other.
Tampa Bay opened the scoring in the 75th minute as midfielder Keith Savage broke into the box and unleashed a shot on Marcus Hahnemann’s net which forced the keeper to give up a rebound which landed perfectly for Hristov to tap in.
"We knew we would have our chances," said Hill. "Luckily Georgi was on the end of that rebound to push the ball in the net. Our defense was very solid today and we were able to withstand the final push from the Sounders. All credit to the players for showing everyone why they deserved to win."
Things ended crazily as Seattle was presented with a perfect chance to equalize when they were awarded a penalty kick in the dying minutes of the game after a scrum in front of Restrepo’s goal. Jordan Gafa received a red card in the process. Restrepo ultimately dove to his right and saved the kick. The Rowdies endured Seattle’s barrage of pressure to close the game and move onto the fourth round of the cup.
Rowdies: Georgi Hristov - 75th minute
Rowdies: Restrepo; Gafa, Scott, Yamada (C), Arango; Mulholland, Hill, Savage, Cox; Hristov, Del Do (Ambersley 64')
Rodney Marsh loses a boot during a tackle on Vancouver Whitecaps' Buzz Parsons, during Soccer Bowl '79. With Barry Kitchener and Zeljko Bilecki in the background. Many thanks to Dave Morrison for this photo.
Rowdies Fall Short of Comeback Losing 3-2 Against Minnesota
The Rowdies dropped Saturday night's match against Minnesota 3-2 at Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg, Fla. The Rowdies had erased an early Minnesota lead, but United FC was able to score two quick goals to make it 3-1 by the 26th minute. Forward Georgi Hristov, who had scored the initial Rowdies goal, cut the lead back to one in the 30th minute, but Tampa Bay was unable to score any second-half goals to tie things up.
“I was slightly disappointed that we over used the wind because the ball ran away from us,” commented Rowdies head coach Ricky Hill. “I wanted us to play shorter balls into the strikers. I can’t fault the players for the effort that they always put into their game.
United FC picked up the match's first goal in the 10th minute after a header by defender Cristiano Dias lobbed over Rowdies goalkeeper Diego Restrepo. A goal in the 14th minute by forward Georgi Hristov leveled the match, as the Bulgarian scored his fifth goal this season to tie things up at one. Midfielder Keith Savage placed a perfect through ball into the box, finding Hristov on the right flank to drill the ball into the top part of the net.
It wouldn't be long until Minnesota regained the lead with two goals coming in the 23rd and 26th minute. Midfielder Geison Moura got on the end of forward Pablo Campos' back heel pass to put Minnesota up 2-1. It was Campos once again who set up the third goal for Minnesota. His feed found midfielder Simone Bracalello on the left flank, with the Italian putting it through Restrepo's legs for the goal.
The two-goal lead would once again cut in half in the 29th minute, as Hristov would score his second goal of the match. Midfielder Luke Mulholland volleyed a cross from the left flank, but Minnesota's goalkeeper Matt VanOekel denied his attempt on goal. It was Hristov who was on the end of the rebound to head the rebound into the net from inside the 6-yard box. The Bulgarian has now scored four goals in his last two matches.
“I’m really disappointed that we’ve again conceded three goals at home and three within the first 20 minutes, which is an elementary mistake,” explained Hill “Defensively we were all at sea. If we have to score four goals at home to win every time, we can’t do that. We have to stop it as a unit.”
A choppy second half saw forward Mike Ambersley come off the bench in the 62nd minute, as the St. Louis native picked up his first minutes of the season. Down a goal, Tampa Bay was forced to attack in order to equalize the match and pick up at least a point. While Del Do had a chance of his own in the 52nd minute, the most dangerous scoring chance for the Rowdies came minutes later, when Del Do fed a cross to Hristov. The Bulgarian lifted himself over Minnesota's defense, but his head went over the bar and out of play.
A late push by the reigning NASL Champions was well handled by a Minnesota defense, as they cleared the ball out of the box in various opportunities. The Rowdies remain winless at home this season, while unbeaten on the road with a perfect 3-0-0 record (W-T-L). With Atlanta's win over San Antonio, the Rowdies dropped to second place in the standing, where they are tied with Minnesota and Carolina.
Minnesota: Cristiano Dias - 10th minute
Rowdies: Georgi Hristov - 14th minute
Minnesota: Geison Moura - 23rd minute (Assisted by Pablo Campos)
Minnesota: Simone Bracalello - 26th minute (Assisted by Pablo Campos)
Rowdies: Georgi Hristov - 29th minute (Assisted by Luke Mulholland)
Rowdies: Restrepo; Gafa, Scott, Yamada (Captain), Arango; Mulholland, Hill, Savage, Cox (Ambersley 62'); Del Do, Hristov
Rowdies Advance to Face Seattle Sounders in Third Round of U.S. Open Cup
The Tampa Bay Rowdies advanced to the third round of the U.S. Open Cup on Tuesday night, after defeating VSI Tampa Bay FC 2-1 at Plant City Stadium in Plant City, Fla. With the win, the Rowdies will host Major League Soccer's Seattle Sounders FC on Wednesday, May 29 at 7:30 p.m. at Al Lang Stadium in downtown St. Petersburg.
"These cup games are all about focusing the entire match and going step by step," said Rowdies head coach Ricky Hill. "We know we can beat any team if we are on our best level that day and that is our goal for next Wednesday. We know our supporters will be out at Al Lang Stadium on Saturday and Wednesday to show why they are the best fans in the U.S."
Forward Georgi Hristov had initially opened the scoring off a penalty kick, but VSI quickly tied things up thanks to midfielder JT Noone. It was the Bulgarian forward who put the Rowdies ahead minutes before the half with a great individual run.
"It wasn't the best match we have played but these cup games have to be won in any way, shape or form," commented Hill. "I am proud of the team's effort tonight and I expect to continue on this winning streak. It is our duty to first win our match on Saturday and then go and face Seattle for the cup match at home next Wednesday."
With the match at a scoreless draw through the first quarter hour, VSI was awarded a penalty kick after Rowdies defender Andres Arango was called for a foul inside the box in the 16th minute. It was midfielder Tony Donatelli who stepped up and took the penalty shot, only to find goalkeeper Diego Restrepo's glove save to force the ball off the post and out of play.
"It is all about confidence," explained Restrepo. "I know I made some key saves tonight, and the penalty kick was on of them. Before coming to the Rowdies, my last official match had been in Novemeber, so now I am getting the hang of things and feeling comfortable in goal."
Entering the 20th minute, Hristov would be brought down in the box, as he went down the right flank toward VSI's goal. Hristov opened the scoring in the 21st minute on the ensuing penalty kick. MInutes later midfielder JT Noone recieved a low cross from midfielder Shawn Chin and leveled things up at Plant City Stadium.
It was Hristov once again who put the Rowdies up once again with his second U.S. Open Cup goal and his fourth this year with the Rowdies. A great run just before the half time whistle gave Hristov space to run and as he entered the 18-yard box he sliped the ball past VSI's goalkeeper for the go-ahead goal.
"It was great to go up at half time with a goal in the last minutes of the first half," said Hill. "I credit the players for really reacting to Diego's penalty kick save earlier in the half. They bounced back and reacted well."
The second half began with forward Amani Walker on the pitch, coming on for Carl Cort which added speed to the attack. Walker caused a constant arial threat, sending several headers just inches wide of VSI's net. The Rowdies defense acted well to VSI's attack, clearing the ball from the box in several opportunities.
With VSI focused on getting the equalizer, the Rowdies were able to find spaces and create chances. In several moments, the Rowdies controlled the match, but were threatened by VSI's long balls that would try to catch the Rowdies off guard. The Rowdies would hold on for the win, led by Restrepo who began the match with a game-changing save on the initial VSI penalty kick.
"We held our line fairly well in the second half," said defender Daniel Scott. "It is a great win personally and for my it gives me a chance to go up against my brother who plays on Seattle. These cup matches are special because it is one game that decides who goes through and next Wednesday's match we plan to go out and play with intensity."
Rowdies: Georgi Hristov - 21st minute (Penalty Kick)
VSI: JT Noone - 27th minute (Assisted by Shawn Chin)