Rowdies Spoil Scorpions Home Opener with 2-0 Win
The Tampa Bay Rowdies picked up their first win of the 2013 NASL Spring Season on Saturday night, defeating the San Antonio Scorpions 2-0 at Toyota Field. Forwards Amani Walker and Georgi Hristov guided the reigning NASL Champions to their first franchise win at San Antontio since the Scorpions entered the NASL in 2012.
“Obviously we’re delighted to come away with three points,” said Rowdies head coach Ricky Hill. “We were determined to come here and without being disrespectful, spoil the party.”
With the Rowdies pressuring early on, Walker scored the club's first goal this season in the 12th minute thanks to a perfectly placed header. The go-ahead goal came off a corner kick by midfielder Luke Mulholland, finding Walker wide open around the penalty spot making it 1-0.
"We played very well for our first away match of the season and our work ethic matched it," stated Walker. "We wanted to win each half and keep the shutout. We accomplished the goal we set out to have tonight. On the goal, it was a great ball in from Luke and the corner just worked how we wanted."
As expected, the Scorpions came out looking for the equalizer but ran into a solid Rowdies defense. The home team nearly scored the tying goal in the 42nd minute, but midfielder Edin Husic was unable to tap the ball in at the far post. The first half came to a close with the Rowdies up 1-0, with Walker scoring the lone goal.
After creating several chances early on in the second half, the Scorpions would be caught off guard defensively in the 55th minute. The Rowdies doubled the lead after forward Georgi Hristov capitalized a penalty kick in the 56th minute. The forward recieved a great through ball by second half substitute Shane Hill and was brought down in the box by Scorpions goalkeeper Pat Hannigan.
With the Scorpions down two goals, they began to step up in the field but found themselves with a prolific Rowdies goalkeeper.
“Our goalkeeper Andrew Fontein waited patiently last year for his chance to play and didn’t get any minutes,” commented Hill. “Now Andrew has two games and two clean sheets, which is not a bad way to start”
Fontein had a solid night making multiple saves to keep the Rowdies ahead in the match. This is his second shutout of the season, with the Rowdies yet to concede a goal in the 2013 NASL Spring Season. The 2-0 victory puts the Rowdies on top of the NASL standing, sharing first place with the Carolina RailHawks.
Rowdies: Amani Walker - 12th minute (Assisted by Luke Mulholland)
Rowdies: Georgi Hristov - 56th minute (Penalty Kick)
San Antonio: Hannigan; DeRoux, Janicki, Vucko, Harmse (Captain); Ramirez, Phelan, Husic, Denissen; Martin (Jordan 58') (Bayona 63'), Milicevic (Vasilic 58')
Rowdies: Fontein; Sanfilippo (Captain), Needham, Yamada, Arango (Savage 45'); Frimpong, Mulholland, Hill, Cox; Walker (Del Do 69'), Hristov