Rowdies 1-0 Victory over Scorpions Maintains Soccer Bowl Hopes Alive
The Tampa Bay Rowdies defeated the San Antonio Scorpions 1-0 on Saturday night at Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg, Fla. A goal from the penalty spot by midfielder Luke Mulholland gave the Rowdies the three points that keeps them in the run for the NASL Fall Season title.
The first dangerous chance of the match came in the 11th minute, when Scorpions forward Sainey Touray made a run down the right flank and forced Rowdies goalkeeper Diego Restrepo to make a save on his shot. Minutes later defender Raphael Cox led a great counter attack but the Scorpions were able to regain control of the ball before the Rowdies could get a shot off.
In the 22nd minute, San Antonio threatened to score once again, as Touray picked up a rebound off a Restrepo save and smashed his shot off the crossbar. The Rowdies would retaliate with forward Lucky Mkosana driving his shot on goal in the 25th minute, only to find a diving Jeremy Vuolo on the other end to make the save.
The Rowdies continued to pressure the Scorpions in the second part of the half, but they would be unable to get any clear chances on goal. During an exciting first half, both teams had a goal disallowed due to offsides.
Tampa Bay continued to apply the pressure in the second half knowing that they needed to win in order to stay in the race for the Fall Season title. A great play by Mkosana led to the first chance of the second half as he backheeled a pass to Mulholland, who took a strike but his attempt went straight to Vuolo.
In what was his last play of the match, midfielder Evans Frimpong flew down the left flank and saw himself just yards away from Vuolo. With time to get a shot off, Frimpong was unable to get his strike on goal as it went wide right.
As the Rowdies inclined the pressure on the Scorpions’ goal, the break came in the 74th minute as defender Greg Janicki brought down Rowdies forward Etienne Barbara in the box. Mulholland capitalized on the penalty pick, placing it on the bottom right corner of the net. The English midfielder netted his ninth goal of the season, now just three away from the league leaders.
The Scorpions pushed for the equalizer in the final 15 minutes, but the Rowdies defense was able to clear away any dangerous chances.
Rowdies: Luke Mulholland - 76th minute (Penalty Kick)
Rowdies: Restrepo; Sanfilippo (Captain), Yamada, Arango, R. Cox; Savage, Campbell (Needham 90'), Mulholland; Mkosana, Barbara (Del Do 82'), Frimpong (Cort 65')
San Antonio: Vuolo; Martin (Bayona 82'), Vucko (Captain), Janicki, DeRoux; Saavedra, Husic (Jennings 68'), Ramirez; Chin (O'Brien 78'), Zahorski, Touray