Rowdies Give Up Late Goal, Lose 2-1 to Scorpions
The Tampa Bay Rowdies dropped their second straight league match, losing 2-1 to the San Antonio Scorpions at Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg, Fla on Saturday night. Scorpions' forward Blake Wagner scored the go-ahead goal in the 37th minute off an indirect free kick from six yards out. The Rowdies would level it up in the 80th minute after a goal by forward Carl Cort, but the Scorpions would regain the lead in the dying minutes thanks to substitute Hans Denissen
"Similar to the Carolina match, we lost focus after scoring," explained Rowdies head coach Ricky Hill. "We dominated the entire match, and they had a couple of breaks and capitalized on it. We must work during the week to eliminate these defensive lapses."
With the Rowdies controlling possession for most of the half, it was the Scorpions who had the two most dangerous chances of the half. Rowdies forward Amani Walker had initially threatened the Scorpions with two heads but they weren't strong accurate enough to open up the scoring.
Scorpions’ midfielder Pat Phelan was close to opening the match in the 32nd minute with a 40 yard blast off a free kick. Rowdies’ goalkeeper Diego Restrepo dove to his right and knocked the ball away from the goal. Minutes later Rowdies defender Jay Needham looked to clear the ball from the box but his clearance was headed in for an own goal, forcing Restrepo to make another save. The referee blew his whistle and called a free kick for the Scorpions from six yards out. Scorpions’ defender Kevin Harmse played the indirect free kick to Wagner who powered the shot under the wall of Rowdies defenders to make it 1-0.
"The first half seemed to go our side, as we controlled the match," commented Hill. "They didn't have any dangerous chances and we were able to have a solid performance in the box. They scored late in the half and we went down a goal."
The intensity continued in the second half, as the Rowdies dominated play but were unable to score the equalizer. Forward Devin Del Do had the first chance of the half with a great individual run, but his shot was blocked by the Scorpions defense, sending it out for a corner kick. Mulholland took control of the offense, having several dangerous crossed throughout the second half.
After numerous attempts on goal, the break for the Rowdies arrived in the 80th minute when Cort headed home Del Do's cross. Cort scored his first goal of this season, placing his header in the far post and out of reach of Vuolo.
"Obviously, I was excited to get on the pitch," said Cort. "I was able to score but it didn't help the team win which is what we all want to do. For some reason when we get a goal, we lose focus and it has hurt us once again."
Tampa Bay pushed forward for the winning goal but it would be San Antonio who came away with the three points after a goal in the 88th minute. Denissen received a through ball from Harmse and placed his kick past Restrepo. Harmse picked up his second assist of the match, putting San Antonio up 2-1 with just minutes left.
Tampa Bay once again went in search of the equalizer, but the Scorpions defense would withstand the pressure and close the match out.
San Antonio: Blake Wagner - 37th minute (Assisted by Kevin Harmse)
Rowdies: Carl Cort - 80th minute (Assisted by Devin Del Do)
San Antonio: Hans Denissen - 88th minute (Assisted by Kevin Harmse)
Rowdies: Restrepo; Sanfilippo (Captain), Scott, Needham, Gafa (Clinton 76'); Mulholland, Campbell, Savage; Hristov; Walker (Cort 68'), Del Do (Ambersley 82')
San Antonio: Vuolo; Jennings, Vucko, Janicki, DeRoux; Saavedra (Denissen 82'), Harmse (Captain), Phelan, Wagner; Zavaleta, Bayona (Husic 63')