Late Goal by Savage Gives Rowdies 3-2 Victory Over Minnesota
The Tampa Bay Rowdies earned their third straight away victory on Saturday afternoon, defeating Minnesota United FC 3-2 at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome. After Tampa Bay saw their lead disappear twice, midfielder Keith Savage drilled home the game-winner with a volley inside the box in the 90th minute. With the win, the Rowdies now have 11 points this season and are now tied for first place in the standings with Carolina.
"I’m really delighted to come to Minnesota and get all three points," commented Rowdies head coach Ricky Hill. "I think on the balance of play, they will be disappointed but I was delighted with my team’s resolve throughout the game. At 2-2 we still pushed for what turned out to be the winner."
Minnesota created the first dangerous chance of the match, after midfielder Miguel Ibarra set up Etienne Barbara with a perfect cross from the left flank. The Maltese forward volleyed the ball on net but Rowdies goalkeeper Diego Restrepo made a fantastic save to his right. At the other end, Shane Hill's volley from 20 yards out was struck well after a partial clearance, but his shot was right at Minnesota goalkeeper Daryl Sattler.
Even though both teams shared possession of the ball in the first 30 minutes, Minnesota began to pressure the Rowdies forcing Tampa Bay’s goalkeeper Diego Restrepo to make several saves. With Minnesota taking nine corner kicks in the first half, Restrepo was called to action in several opportunities to maintain the Rowdies level in the score.
As the first half entered injury time, United FC’s goalkeeper Daryl Sattler came off his line to punch the ball out of the box. Sattler’s clearance found Hill, who was just outside the 18-yard box to one-time the ball over United FC’s defense into the back of the net.
Tampa Bay entered the second half looking to take control of the match, pushing forward in search of their second goal of the night. Minnesota would tie things up in the 54th minute after midfielder Simone Bracalello found an open Michael Reed in the box, who put it past Restrepo for the goal.
Minnesota would not be able to celebrate for long, with midfielder Luke Mulholland scoring just moments after Reed's goal. United FC's defense had trouble clearing the ball at the edge of the box and Mulholland capitalized on the error, chipping Sattler from just outside the 18-yard box. Mulholland's goal in the 55th minute was his fourth of the season.
"I gave the ball away for their first goal so I had to make amends for that," explained Mulholland. "I was happy to be able to score the second goal of the night. Our away record is fantastic as now and we’re a lot more stable and protective of the goal."
With the 2-1 lead, the Rowdies saw a Minnesota side come look for the equalizer once again and after several attempts, Bracalello would get on the score sheet himself. The Italian fought through the Rowdies defense and saw himself one-on-one with Restrepo. Bracalello's strike hit the back of the net to put the match at a 2-2 tie.
As the match reached the 90th minute, both teams saw open spaces to create chances for the game winner. It was midfielder Keith Savage who propelled the Rowdies to a 3-2 victory in the dying moments of the match. As forward Georgi Hristov curled his cross into the box, Minnesota's clearance ended up at the feet of Savage. From around the penalty spot, the Florida native smashed the ball in for his first goal this season.
"I can’t put my finger on the good away form," said Hill. "We’re still disappointed not to take more points at Al Lang Stadium, but its fantastic to come away and stay in games and take something home from this game."
Minnesota once again was down in the match, but this time the Rowdies defense held the one-goal advantage and escaped from the Metrodome with a win.
Rowdies: Shane Hill - 45th+ minute
Minnesota: Michael Reed - 54th minute (Assisted by Simone Bracalello)
Rowdies: Luke Mulholland - 55th minute
Minnesota : Simone Bracalello - 65th minute (Assisted by Pablo Campos)
Rowdies: Keith Savage - 90th minute
Minnesota: Sattler; Davis, Friedland, Dias, Kallman (Captain); Ibarra (Wall 73'), Arguez, Pitchkolan (Reed 40'), Bracalello; Campos, Barbara (Venegas 89')
Rowdies: Restrepo; Sanfilippo (Captain), Scott, Yamada, Arango; Mulholland, Hill, Savage, Cox (Frimpong 71'); Hristov, Walker (Cort 71')