Rowdies Defeat Spartans 3-1
On Tuesday March 19th, the Tampa Bay Rowdies earned their third win of the 2013 Preseason Tour on Tuesday night, after defeating the University of Tampa 3-1 at Pepin Stadium. The Rowdies opened the scoring in the 11th minute after midfielder Keith Savage's 20-yard strike. The NASL Champions saw their early lead disappear minutes later as UT forward Craig Laird leveled the match in the 14th minute. Two goals before the end of the first half led the Rowdies to a 3-1 win, with midfielder Shane Hill and forward Georgi Hristov scoring in the 40th and 43rd minute respectively.
The NASL side began the first half controlling possession of the ball, similar to the start against Eckerd College last week. Forward Carl Cort made two great runs in the first 10 minutes but he was unable to capitalize on his chances.
The Rowdies scored an early goal 11 minutes into the match, as Savage put the Rowdies up 1-0 with a strike from outside the 18-yard box that found the bottom right corner of the net. The Rowdies lead wouldn’t last, as the Spartans equalized in the 14th minute. The NASL side was unable to clear the ball off a Spartans corner kick, and after a series of rebounds Laird erased the Rowdies one-goal lead.
Cort had yet another chance in the 18th minute, as his powerful strike sailed wide left after a great series of one-touch passing with midfielder Luke Mulholland.
For the second consecutive match, both Hill and Hristov were able to get on the scoring sheet. Hill put the Rowdies ahead 2-1 in the 40th minute, receiving a great assist from Cort who left the midfielder with a clear shot from inside the box. Hristov would sentence the match in the 43rd minute after a great individual run, touching the ball past the goalkeeper and pushing it into the empty goal.
With the 3-1 score, the Rowdies entered the second half with several substitutions, but they continued to dominate possession. Second-half substitutes Devin Del Do and Amani Walker had several chances to extend the Rowdies lead throughout the second half, but the Rowdies were unable to finish in the final third.
After an early defensive mistake, Tampa Bay's back line improved as the game went on. Spartans leading goal scorer Tyler Blackwood was found himself uncomfortable throughout the match, as the Rowdies anticipated Tampa's offense constantly leading to a clean sheet in the second half.
Rowdies: Keith Savage - 11th minute
University of Tampa: Craig Laird - 14th minute
Rowdies: Shane Hill - 40th minute (assisted by Carl Cort)
Rowdies: Georgi Hristov - 43rd minute
University of Tampa: Niepel, Buehler, Clare, Washington, Knaggs; Buckley, Rodriguez, Barboto, Martinez; Laird, Blackwood
Rowdies: Fontein; Gafa (Blackwood 60'), Needham (Scott 27'), Yamada (Arango 60'), Cox; Mulholland (Johnson (T) 71'), Hill, Savage (Walker 45'), Frimpong; Cort (Del Do 45'), Hristov (Clinton 71')