Rowdies Rout Strikers 4-0 in Final Match of Spring Season
The Tampa Bay Rowdies defeated in-state rivals 4-0 on Thursday night in front of a season-high 5,034 fans at Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg, FL. Two goals in each half propelled the Rowdies to a comfortable win, extending their win streak against the Strikers to four games.
In the 20th minute forward Georgi Hristov ran down the Strikers’ right flank and played a through ball to Savage who buried his shot from inside the eighteen yard box into the side netting of the far post. Strikers forward Hosman Ramos fired a shot towards Rowdies keeper Diego Restrepo’s in the 28th minute, which the keeper successfully blocked away.
“The first goal is important especially you are playing at home,” said Rowdies coach Ricky Hill. “I’m very pleased that we didn’t have any individual errors on the backline and our goalkeeper Diego did his job for us tonight.”
Savage’s second goal came as a result of a Luke Mulholland free kick. Mulholland played the ball into the box only to have it punched away by Strikers keeper Matt Glaeser, but Savage headed the ball into the now empty net from 8 yards away. Savage now has three goals on the season.
The second half began with a bang as Strikers left back Stephane Guillaume hit a rocket from distance off of Diego Restrepo’s crossbar which was cleared away by defender Jordan Gafa.
The Rowdies added to their lead in the 52nd minute when defender Jay Needham headed in a Luke Mulholland corner kick. Mulholland has four assists this season. The Rowdies made the scoreline 4-0 when Hristov placed another perfect through ball for fellow forward Mike Ambersley to slot home past Glaeser. Hristov now leads the team with 5 assists.
The Strikers had a great chance to get a goal back in the 70th minute when Jemal Johnson was free from 10 yards away but Restrepo came out and blocked Johnson’s shot. In the final minutes of play the Rowdies controlled possession and neither team had too many serious chances to change the scoreline.
“We have been the best team in the league with our consistency because of our level of performance,” explained Hill. “It has been our individual errors that have hurt us especially at home. We have dropped 13 points at Al Lang and that is just not us. We need to improve this in the second half of the season. We had one of the best records on the road and we need to maintain that along with improving our home record.”
Rowdies: Keith Savage - 20th minute (Assisted by Georgi Hristov)
Rowdies: Keith Savage - 32nd minute
Rowdies: Jay Needham - 52nd minute (Assisted by Luke Mulholland)
Rowdies: Mike Ambersley - 56th minute (Assisted by Georgi Hristov)
Rowdies: Restrepo; Gafa, Sanfilippo (Captain), Needham, Arango (Cox (R) 45'); Mulholland, Hill (Campbell 45'), Savage, Frimpong; Ambersley, Hristov (Walker 72')
Ft. Lauderdale: Glaeser; Guillaume, Chavez, Rubens (Gonzalez 59'), Guerrero; Pecka (Dietze 86'), Stahl (Captain), King, Johnson; Anderson, Ramos (Restrepo 59')