Rowdies Lose for the First Time on the Road this Season at Carolina
The Tampa Bay Rowdies lost on the road for the first time this season after the Carolina RailHawks scored two goals in stoppage time to make it 2-1 at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, NC. A goal in the 87th minute by forward Devin Del Do seemed to give the Rowdies the win, but the RailHawks came from behind with two unanswered goals. Tampa Bay played a man down for over 50 minutes, as a red card was issued to defender Andres Arango for taking down midfielder Ty Shipalane.
It was midfielder Luke Mulholland who created the first chance for the away team in the 18th minute. After midfielder Shane Hill played him the ball, Mulholland found space and fired a shot on goal. The strike would be deflected by a Carolina defender, forcing goalkeeper Akira Fitzgerald to make a save and send it out for a corner kick.
The speed of Shipalane and Ababio down the right flank were constant threats for the Rowdies defense, but for the first 30 minutes they were able to deny the RailHawks any scoring chances. It would be Shipalane who would be brought down outside the box by Arango and force the referee to show the Rowdies defender a red card in the 37th minute. With the Rowdies down a man, Carolina took advantage of the spaces in the final third but the Rowdies defense continued to be solid, denying the RailHawks the opening goal.
With the man advantage, Carolina pushed for the game-winning goal at the start of the second half. The Rowdies were on their heels in the start of the second half with the RailHawks attacking through the flanks. Rowdies Captain Frankie Sanfilippo was able to stop Shipalane in various moments of the second half, while goalkeeper Diego Restrepo also made several key saves to keep the visiting team level with RailHawks.
Tampa Bay would wait patiently for their chance to score, and it would come in the 78th minute with a curling shot by midfielder Keith Savage. The Florida native took a shot from outside the 18-yard box but it would be denied by the right post. Mulholland was able to pick up the rebound but his shot was deflected out for a corner kick.
Savage's shot off the post seemed to give the Rowdies confidence, and it would pay off as second-half substitute Devin Del Do would score the go-ahead goal in the 87th minute. Forward Amani Walker went up for a header and forced Carolina to misplay the ball, ending up at Del Do's feet. The forward was able to lob it over Fitzgerald and give the Rowdies the 1-0 lead.
Carolina had nothing to lose and went after the tying goal immediately. As the match entered stoppage time, a high cross into the Rowdies box found second-half substitute Cesar Elizondo's header to put the match level at 1-1. With the match once again tied, it was Shipalane who would score the game-winning goal moments before the final whistle. The midfielder was able to shake off Sanfilippo and fire a shot. As Restrepo dove to make the save, the ball took a deflection off a Rowdies defender and trickled into the back of the net.
After the 2-1, there was little time for the Rowdies to try to equalize the match. The Rowdies dropped their first road match of the season after starting the NASL Spring Season with a four-game unbeaten streak on the road.
Rowdies: Devin Del Do - 87th minute
Carolina: Cesar Elizondo - 90th minute
Carolina: Ty Shipalane - 90th minute
Carolina: Fitzgerald, Low (Captain), Hamilton, Graye (Ababio 24'), James; Da Luz, Greenfield (Ackley 83'), Millington, Shipalane; Shriver, Schilawski (Elizondo 69')
Rowdies: Restrepo; Sanfilippo (Captain), Needham, Yamada, Arango; Mulholland, Hill, Campbell (Walker 74'), Savage; Hristov (Del Do 82'), Ambersley (Gafa 42')