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')
Rodney Marsh loses a boot during a tackle on Vancouver Whitecaps' Buzz Parsons, during Soccer Bowl '79. With Barry Kitchener and Zeljko Bilecki in the background. Many thanks to Dave Morrison for this photo.
Rowdies Fall Short of Comeback Losing 3-2 Against Minnesota
The Rowdies dropped Saturday night's match against Minnesota 3-2 at Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg, Fla. The Rowdies had erased an early Minnesota lead, but United FC was able to score two quick goals to make it 3-1 by the 26th minute. Forward Georgi Hristov, who had scored the initial Rowdies goal, cut the lead back to one in the 30th minute, but Tampa Bay was unable to score any second-half goals to tie things up.
“I was slightly disappointed that we over used the wind because the ball ran away from us,” commented Rowdies head coach Ricky Hill. “I wanted us to play shorter balls into the strikers. I can’t fault the players for the effort that they always put into their game.
United FC picked up the match's first goal in the 10th minute after a header by defender Cristiano Dias lobbed over Rowdies goalkeeper Diego Restrepo. A goal in the 14th minute by forward Georgi Hristov leveled the match, as the Bulgarian scored his fifth goal this season to tie things up at one. Midfielder Keith Savage placed a perfect through ball into the box, finding Hristov on the right flank to drill the ball into the top part of the net.
It wouldn't be long until Minnesota regained the lead with two goals coming in the 23rd and 26th minute. Midfielder Geison Moura got on the end of forward Pablo Campos' back heel pass to put Minnesota up 2-1. It was Campos once again who set up the third goal for Minnesota. His feed found midfielder Simone Bracalello on the left flank, with the Italian putting it through Restrepo's legs for the goal.
The two-goal lead would once again cut in half in the 29th minute, as Hristov would score his second goal of the match. Midfielder Luke Mulholland volleyed a cross from the left flank, but Minnesota's goalkeeper Matt VanOekel denied his attempt on goal. It was Hristov who was on the end of the rebound to head the rebound into the net from inside the 6-yard box. The Bulgarian has now scored four goals in his last two matches.
“I’m really disappointed that we’ve again conceded three goals at home and three within the first 20 minutes, which is an elementary mistake,” explained Hill “Defensively we were all at sea. If we have to score four goals at home to win every time, we can’t do that. We have to stop it as a unit.”
A choppy second half saw forward Mike Ambersley come off the bench in the 62nd minute, as the St. Louis native picked up his first minutes of the season. Down a goal, Tampa Bay was forced to attack in order to equalize the match and pick up at least a point. While Del Do had a chance of his own in the 52nd minute, the most dangerous scoring chance for the Rowdies came minutes later, when Del Do fed a cross to Hristov. The Bulgarian lifted himself over Minnesota's defense, but his head went over the bar and out of play.
A late push by the reigning NASL Champions was well handled by a Minnesota defense, as they cleared the ball out of the box in various opportunities. The Rowdies remain winless at home this season, while unbeaten on the road with a perfect 3-0-0 record (W-T-L). With Atlanta's win over San Antonio, the Rowdies dropped to second place in the standing, where they are tied with Minnesota and Carolina.
Minnesota: Cristiano Dias - 10th minute
Rowdies: Georgi Hristov - 14th minute
Minnesota: Geison Moura - 23rd minute (Assisted by Pablo Campos)
Minnesota: Simone Bracalello - 26th minute (Assisted by Pablo Campos)
Rowdies: Georgi Hristov - 29th minute (Assisted by Luke Mulholland)
Rowdies: Restrepo; Gafa, Scott, Yamada (Captain), Arango; Mulholland, Hill, Savage, Cox (Ambersley 62'); Del Do, Hristov
Rowdies Advance to Face Seattle Sounders in Third Round of U.S. Open Cup
The Tampa Bay Rowdies advanced to the third round of the U.S. Open Cup on Tuesday night, after defeating VSI Tampa Bay FC 2-1 at Plant City Stadium in Plant City, Fla. With the win, the Rowdies will host Major League Soccer's Seattle Sounders FC on Wednesday, May 29 at 7:30 p.m. at Al Lang Stadium in downtown St. Petersburg.
"These cup games are all about focusing the entire match and going step by step," said Rowdies head coach Ricky Hill. "We know we can beat any team if we are on our best level that day and that is our goal for next Wednesday. We know our supporters will be out at Al Lang Stadium on Saturday and Wednesday to show why they are the best fans in the U.S."
Forward Georgi Hristov had initially opened the scoring off a penalty kick, but VSI quickly tied things up thanks to midfielder JT Noone. It was the Bulgarian forward who put the Rowdies ahead minutes before the half with a great individual run.
"It wasn't the best match we have played but these cup games have to be won in any way, shape or form," commented Hill. "I am proud of the team's effort tonight and I expect to continue on this winning streak. It is our duty to first win our match on Saturday and then go and face Seattle for the cup match at home next Wednesday."
With the match at a scoreless draw through the first quarter hour, VSI was awarded a penalty kick after Rowdies defender Andres Arango was called for a foul inside the box in the 16th minute. It was midfielder Tony Donatelli who stepped up and took the penalty shot, only to find goalkeeper Diego Restrepo's glove save to force the ball off the post and out of play.
"It is all about confidence," explained Restrepo. "I know I made some key saves tonight, and the penalty kick was on of them. Before coming to the Rowdies, my last official match had been in Novemeber, so now I am getting the hang of things and feeling comfortable in goal."
Entering the 20th minute, Hristov would be brought down in the box, as he went down the right flank toward VSI's goal. Hristov opened the scoring in the 21st minute on the ensuing penalty kick. MInutes later midfielder JT Noone recieved a low cross from midfielder Shawn Chin and leveled things up at Plant City Stadium.
It was Hristov once again who put the Rowdies up once again with his second U.S. Open Cup goal and his fourth this year with the Rowdies. A great run just before the half time whistle gave Hristov space to run and as he entered the 18-yard box he sliped the ball past VSI's goalkeeper for the go-ahead goal.
"It was great to go up at half time with a goal in the last minutes of the first half," said Hill. "I credit the players for really reacting to Diego's penalty kick save earlier in the half. They bounced back and reacted well."
The second half began with forward Amani Walker on the pitch, coming on for Carl Cort which added speed to the attack. Walker caused a constant arial threat, sending several headers just inches wide of VSI's net. The Rowdies defense acted well to VSI's attack, clearing the ball from the box in several opportunities.
With VSI focused on getting the equalizer, the Rowdies were able to find spaces and create chances. In several moments, the Rowdies controlled the match, but were threatened by VSI's long balls that would try to catch the Rowdies off guard. The Rowdies would hold on for the win, led by Restrepo who began the match with a game-changing save on the initial VSI penalty kick.
"We held our line fairly well in the second half," said defender Daniel Scott. "It is a great win personally and for my it gives me a chance to go up against my brother who plays on Seattle. These cup matches are special because it is one game that decides who goes through and next Wednesday's match we plan to go out and play with intensity."
Rowdies: Georgi Hristov - 21st minute (Penalty Kick)
VSI: JT Noone - 27th minute (Assisted by Shawn Chin)
Late Goal by Savage Gives Rowdies 3-2 Victory Over Minnesota
The Tampa Bay Rowdies earned their third straight away victory on Saturday afternoon, defeating Minnesota United FC 3-2 at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome. After Tampa Bay saw their lead disappear twice, midfielder Keith Savage drilled home the game-winner with a volley inside the box in the 90th minute. With the win, the Rowdies now have 11 points this season and are now tied for first place in the standings with Carolina.
"I’m really delighted to come to Minnesota and get all three points," commented Rowdies head coach Ricky Hill. "I think on the balance of play, they will be disappointed but I was delighted with my team’s resolve throughout the game. At 2-2 we still pushed for what turned out to be the winner."
Minnesota created the first dangerous chance of the match, after midfielder Miguel Ibarra set up Etienne Barbara with a perfect cross from the left flank. The Maltese forward volleyed the ball on net but Rowdies goalkeeper Diego Restrepo made a fantastic save to his right. At the other end, Shane Hill's volley from 20 yards out was struck well after a partial clearance, but his shot was right at Minnesota goalkeeper Daryl Sattler.
Even though both teams shared possession of the ball in the first 30 minutes, Minnesota began to pressure the Rowdies forcing Tampa Bay’s goalkeeper Diego Restrepo to make several saves. With Minnesota taking nine corner kicks in the first half, Restrepo was called to action in several opportunities to maintain the Rowdies level in the score.
As the first half entered injury time, United FC’s goalkeeper Daryl Sattler came off his line to punch the ball out of the box. Sattler’s clearance found Hill, who was just outside the 18-yard box to one-time the ball over United FC’s defense into the back of the net.
Tampa Bay entered the second half looking to take control of the match, pushing forward in search of their second goal of the night. Minnesota would tie things up in the 54th minute after midfielder Simone Bracalello found an open Michael Reed in the box, who put it past Restrepo for the goal.
Minnesota would not be able to celebrate for long, with midfielder Luke Mulholland scoring just moments after Reed's goal. United FC's defense had trouble clearing the ball at the edge of the box and Mulholland capitalized on the error, chipping Sattler from just outside the 18-yard box. Mulholland's goal in the 55th minute was his fourth of the season.
"I gave the ball away for their first goal so I had to make amends for that," explained Mulholland. "I was happy to be able to score the second goal of the night. Our away record is fantastic as now and we’re a lot more stable and protective of the goal."
With the 2-1 lead, the Rowdies saw a Minnesota side come look for the equalizer once again and after several attempts, Bracalello would get on the score sheet himself. The Italian fought through the Rowdies defense and saw himself one-on-one with Restrepo. Bracalello's strike hit the back of the net to put the match at a 2-2 tie.
As the match reached the 90th minute, both teams saw open spaces to create chances for the game winner. It was midfielder Keith Savage who propelled the Rowdies to a 3-2 victory in the dying moments of the match. As forward Georgi Hristov curled his cross into the box, Minnesota's clearance ended up at the feet of Savage. From around the penalty spot, the Florida native smashed the ball in for his first goal this season.
"I can’t put my finger on the good away form," said Hill. "We’re still disappointed not to take more points at Al Lang Stadium, but its fantastic to come away and stay in games and take something home from this game."
Minnesota once again was down in the match, but this time the Rowdies defense held the one-goal advantage and escaped from the Metrodome with a win.
Rowdies: Shane Hill - 45th+ minute
Minnesota: Michael Reed - 54th minute (Assisted by Simone Bracalello)
Rowdies: Luke Mulholland - 55th minute
Minnesota : Simone Bracalello - 65th minute (Assisted by Pablo Campos)
The Tampa Bay Rowdies and FC Edmonton battled it out to a 1-1 draw on Saturday night at Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg, Fla. An early goal by forward Georgi Hristov from the penalty spot put the Rowdies up front, but Edmonton would deny Tampa Bay their first home win of this season with the equalizer in the 35th minute.
"It is our goal to get the three points every time we come out," explained defender Jordan Gafa. "I came on last match for Jay who was injured, and every day I have been trying hard to prove that I deserve a spot in the starting XI. Although we wanted the win, we do take away the fact that we were able to withstand Edmonton's pressure in the second half."
Forward Georgi Hristov opened the scoring in the 16th minute after he converted from the penalty spot. This is the Bulgarian's second goal of the season, both coming from penalty kicks. April's NASL Player of the Month Luke Mulholland was once again involved in creating the goal as he was initially brought down in the box by the Eddies goalkeeper Lance Parker.
Even though the Rowdies looked for the insurance goal as the half developed, the Eddies leveled the score in the 35th minute after midfielder Shaun Saiko shot it through the legs of Rowdies goalkeeper Diego Restrepo. Last week's Player of the Week received a pass from midfielder Daryl Fordyce before netting the equalizer.
With the score 1-1 going into the second half, the home side and FC Edmonton shared chances for the go-ahead goal. Mulholland once again demonstrated his free kick abilities with a great shot from just outside the 18-yard box. His shot looked to curl into the upper right corner, but Parker dove to his left and sent it out for a corner.
Minutes later, the Eddies had a chance of their own off a low shot by midfielder Neil Hlavaty. The midfielder’s shot looked to go towards the back of the net but Restrepo sent the ball out for a corner kick, getting a touch on the ball.
Rowdies head coach Ricky Hill opted to enter forward Carl Cort in the 62nd minute in search of the winning goal, sliding Mulholland to the right side of the midfield. Cort, who returned after sitting out the first four games of the season due to an injury, had his first chance in the 70th minute. Mulholland fed a low cross to the forward who controlled the ball around the 6-yard box and took a shot. His strike found one of Edmonton’s defenders on the way and it went out for a corner.
"I was itching to get back on the pitch," Cort commented. "With the way last season ended, I could not wait to get my first minutes in this season. I felt great tonight but we always want a win, especially at home in front of our fans."
The second half continued with neither team able to get the winning goal. Restrepo faced several crosses that forced the Rowdies defense to be on top of their game to clear the ball out in multiple occasions. The Rowdies were unable to reach the final third as the 90th minute approached, but found one last chance in aggregate time as Mulholland took a strike from inside the box but it sailed over the crossbar.
Rowdies: Georgi Hristov - 16th minute (Penalty Kick)
Edmonton: Shaun Saiko - 35th minute (assisted by Daryl Fordyce)
Rowdies: Restrepo; Gafa, Sanfilippo (Captain), Scott, Arango; Frimpong (Cort 62'), Savage, Hill, Cox (Del Do 77'); Mulholland, Hristov