The Rowdies and Puerto Rico played to a scoreless draw at Al Lang Stadium in downtown St. Petersburg on Saturday night. Goalkeeper Jeff Attinella picked up his eight shutout of the season and his thirteenth career clean sheet. Tampa Bay is now undefeated in six of its last seven league matches, including three wins. The Rowdies are unbeaten in their last eight at home, including five wins.
The Rowdies pushed to get on the scoreboard early on in the fourth minute, as forward Fafa Picault headed the ball towards the goal but it was cleared off the line by Puerto Rico’s defense.
Tampa Bay continued to pressure the Islanders goal, and in the 11th minute midfielder Luke Mulholland picked up a rebound from 12 yards out, but his shot hit the crossbar and went out of play.
The Islanders got their first chance in the 19th minute. Puerto Rico forward Hector Ramos was closing in on goal when Rowdies defender JP Rodrigues made an impressive diving challenge sending the ball out for a corner kick.
In the 27th minute, Rowdies midfielder Evans Frimpong was taken down in the penalty box by defender Christian Ibeagha. The penalty kick was taken by forward Mike Ambersley but the shot was saved by goalkeeper Richard Martin with a diving save to his right.
Attinella came up big in the 35th minute, when midfielder Gregory Richardson took a shot from 18 yards out. Attinella made a great save, sending the ball out for a corner kick.
Tampa Bay had the last chance of the half in the 44th minute, as Picault powered a header wide left from six yards out. Minutes into the second half, Picault delivered a great cross, but it was inches away from a diving Frimpong at the far post.
The Rowdies came close to scoring after Mulholland was brought down at the edge of the box in the 78th minute. His free kick went off the wall, and Martin came up with a save. The ensuing rebound was cleared out for a corner kick by the Puerto Rico defense.
Rowdies: GK Jeff Attinella, D Frankie Sanfilippo (Captain), D JP Rodrigues, D Takuya Yamada, D Andres Arango, M Evans Frimpong (Carl Cort 78'), M Stuart Campbell, M Luke Mulholland, M Raphael Cox (Draymond Washington 65'), F Fafa Picault, F Mike Ambersley
Puerto Rico Islanders: GK Richard Martin, D Edson Edward, D Christian Ibeagha, D Jay Needham (Captain), D Richard Martinez, M Gregory Richardson (Nicholas Addlery 67'), M Chris Nurse, M Justin Fojo, M Jarad Van Schaik (Alexis Rivera 71'), F Tyler Wilson (Yaw Danso 59'), F Hector Ramos