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')
Sounders: Hahnemann; Remick (Martins 80'), Hurtado, Scott (C), Burch; Caskey (Ochoa 68'), Carrasco, Rose, Estrada; Neagle, Martinez