Rowdies Score Twice from Penalty Spot to Defeat Atlanta 2-1
The Tampa Bay Rowdies came away with a 2-1 victory over the Atlanta Silverbacks on Saturday night at Atlanta Silverbacks Park in Atlanta, GA. Two penalty kicks early in the second half gave the Rowdies the 2-0 advantage as forwards Georgi Hristov and Mike Ambersley scored from the penalty spot. MInutes later, Atlanta would cut the lead to one after midfielder Pablo Cruz placed his free kick past Rowdies goalkeeper Diego Restrepo.
"I thought we came out in the second half and played very brightly," explained Rowdies head coach Ricky Hill. "I have to give our players credit for sticking with it and getting three points at the end. If they give me this much effort every week, I can’t complain."
With Atlanta pressuring Tampa Bay early on, Restrepo became one of the key players for the Rowdies making two great saves in the 15th and 17th minute. Initially, the Venezuelan goalkeeper first denied midfielder Borfor Carr, while minutes later he would go on to make another save, this time on forward Ruben Luna. Rowdies defender Takuya Yamada had misplayed the ball and Luna entered the box going one-on-one with Restrepo, but the goalkeeper was able to make the stop.
As the minutes went on, Tampa Bay seemed to settle down and would get their first chance off a strike from midfielder Keith Savage. The Florida natives shot in the 22nd minute found a diving Silverbacks goalkeeper, Joe Nasco, who picked up the shot easily. Thanks to a great defensive play by Rowdies defender Jordan Gafa, the NASL Champions denied defender Beto Navarro the first goal. Gafa found himself well-placed and headed out Navarro's attempt on goal.
Another shot from outside the 18-yard box almost put the Rowdies up, with midfielder Luke Mulholland setting up Shane Hill at the top of the box. His strike was headed to the back of the net, but Nasco would once again get in the way of it. Atlanta would have one more chance to go up one goal, with Carr blasting a shot as he entered the box. Restrepo would come up big with a fantastic save to send the ball out for a corner kick.
Minutes into the second half, Hristov would be brought down in Atlanta's box and the referee awarded the visiting team a penalty kick. The Bulgarian would bury his shot in the bottom right corner of the net to make it 1-0 in the 50th minute. With this goal, Hristov now lead the Rowdies with five goals in league play. In the 58th minute another penalty kick would be called in favor of the Rowdies, this time for a handball inside the box. It would be Ambersley who would score in the 59th minute, placing his kick in the back of the net for his first goal this season.
The Rowdies two-goal lead wouldn't last, as in the 62nd minute Atlanta would take advantage of a free kick just outside the Rowdies box to cut the lead to one. Cruz slotted his free kick over Tampa Bay's wall and out of the reach of Restrepo to make it 2-1.
Although Atlanta put on the pressure in the final 30 minutes, it was Mulholland who would come close to scoring in the 71st minute. The midfielder stepped up to take a free kick and blasted the ball of the right post and out of play, keeping the match 2-1.
With the match entering the final minutes of play, it was Restrepo who would play a huge part in the Rowdies win. After denying defender Martyn Lancaster's header, Restrepo seemed to gain confidence and made another game-changing save in the 84th minute. Second-half substitute Brad Stisser found himself with space and took a shot from the right flank, only to find a diving Restrepo at the end of his strike. Stisser would once again have a chance to tie it in the dying moments of the match, but Restrepo would deny him the goal, this time with a point-blank save.
Even though Rowdies forward Carl Cort would be sent off in stoppage time, the Rowdies would hold on to the 2-1 lead. Despite the Rowdies victory, Carolina defeated Minnesota 3-2 in Cary, NC and ended Tampa Bay's aspiration to hosting the NASL Soccer Bowl. Carolina's 19 points are now out of reach for the Rowdies, as the reigning NASL Champions have only one match remaining in the Spring Season.
Rowdies: Georgi Hristov - 50th minute (Penalty Kick)
Rowdies: Mike Ambersley - 59th minute (Penalty Kick)
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')
Rowdies Exit U.S. Open Cup after 2-0 Loss to Timbers
The Tampa Bay Rowdies were knocked out of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup after a 2-0 loss to Major League Soccer's Portland Timbers at JELD-WEN Field in Portland, OR. An early goal by midfierlder Michael Nanchoff would put the Timbers up in the first half, while second half substitute Jack Jewsbury would score the insurance goal in the 56th minute. Tampa Bay exits the competition after reaching the fourth round for the first time in franchise history, including a historic victory of the Seattle Sounders in the first round.
The opening goal in the 9th minute came from a perfectly placed volley by Nanchoff after he picked up a bouncing rebound just outside the box. Rowdies goalkeeper Diego Restrepo was unable to get a touch on the low volley to stop the ball from going in.
"We began the match forcing Portland into their own half," commented Rowdies head coach Ricky Hill. "Their goal changed everything as now we were down one goal after starting the match in great fashion. Their first goal was a perfect strike and Diego could do nothing about it."
The Rowdies settled down after giving up the early goal, and would go on to contain more possession as the half unfolded. Even though Tampa Bay was unable to create any dangerous chances in the first 45 minutes, forwards Mike Ambersley and Georgi Hristov were constantly making great runs into the TImbers box. Midfielder Luke Mulholland was another player that pushed the Rowdies forward, setting up several Rowdies attacks down the flanks.
Restrepo made back-to-back saves in the 29th and 31st minute to keep the Rowdies down just one goal. Both Timbers forwards Frederic Piquionne and Kalif Alhassan were unable to get powerful shots off, allowing Restrepo to come up with two easy saves.
Portland would double the lead in the 55th minute, as Jewsbury would tap in the ball after an assist by Piquionne. An initial free kick came in from 35 yards out and was headed into the heart of the box by Piquionne. His header found an oncoming Jewsbury to make it 2-0.
The Rowdies goalkeeper denied forward Jose Adolfo Valencia in two chances, making two great saves in the 68th and 72nd minute to keep the Rowdies down two.
"We gave up two easy goals that could have been avoided," mentioned Restepo. "I felt we had a great match defensively, but we are disappointed that we had those two lapses where they scored. Our efforts weren't enought but we have a good chance to bounce back against San Antonio."
Mulholland nearly cut the Timbers lead in half after his free kick smashed off the crossbar in the 79th minute. Second half substitute Amani Walker made a great run down the right flank in the 83rd minute, sending a low cross to Ambersley but the ball was poked away from the forward before he got a shot off.
"It was unlucky that the free kick didn't go in," said Mulholland. "Luck just wasn't on our side tonight. If that would have gone in, we would have had 10 minutes to try to find the equalizer. With that being said, we can't sit and talk about what would have happened. We must bounce back and get the win on Saturday."
Tampa Bay would go a man down in the last minute of play after forward Georgi Hristov would be sent off after receiving his second yellow card of the match. The Rowdies were able to maintain long stints of possession throughout the match but they were unable to harm the TImbers in the final third.
Portland: Michael Nanchoff - 9th minute
Portland: Jack Jewsbury - 55th minute (assisted by Frederic Piquionne)
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 Come Away from Edmonton with a Scoreless Draw
The Tampa Bay Rowdies played to a scoreless draw against FC Edmonton despite the Canadian team playing a man down for over 30 minutes on Sunday afternoon at Clarke Stadium. Edmonton's defender Mallan Roberts was sent off in the 53rd minute after receiving his second yellow card of the match. The red card opened the match up creating spaces for the Rowdies in the final 30 minutes.
The NASL Champions began the first half unable to keep possession of the ball, something that Tampa Bay is known for. It was FC Edmonton that would have the first chance 30 minutes into the match with midfielder Shaun Saiko recieving a pass inside the box from forward Michael Cox. Saiko took a shot but it went straight to Rowdies goalkeeper Diego Restrepo, who was able to come up with the save.
As the half progressed, the Rowdies began to feel more comfortable and retained more possession. Defender Andres Arango almost gave the Rowdies the lead in the 41st minute with a strike from around the penalty spot but it was pushed out of play by goalkeeper John Smits.
"We started the game very well," commented Head Coach Ricky Hill. "During most of the first half I felt we weren't under much pressure and we were able to stop any dangerous chances from forming. I am happy with the manner we went about our work as we looked threatening at points during the match.
On the ensuing corner kick, Smits once again denied the Rowdies the lead with another save off the line. Tampa Bay's defense found itself well-situated in various moments of the first half, with Captain Frankie Sanfilipo making two key defensive blocks to not allow the Eddies to get a shot on target.
At the start of the second half, Rowdies defender Jordan Gafa came up big clearing the ball out for a corner kick before Cox could take a shot on Restrepo. After Roberts' red card, midfielder Luke Mulholland saw more spaces open up in the midfield giving him chances to set up forward Georgi Hristov and second-half substitute Mike Ambersley with several great passes.
Even though Tampa Bay had the man advantage, the Eddies still were able to shake things up in the Rowdies box through set pieces. However, like against Seattle, Tampa Bay responded well and cleared the ball away from the box without problems.
"With them going down to 10 men, they tried to stay within game and deny space in the defensive third," explained Hill. "We could have moved ball better in my opinion. At times we were on the ball to long and it enabled them to get set up and stop our attacks."
With Ambersley making a run into the heart of the box, Hristov was able to send a cross in the 67th minute but it would never reach the target as Smits would come off his line to cut the pass. Once again the Bulgarian was key in the Rowdies offense, making constant runs into the box trying to catch Edmonton's defense off guard.
In the 74th minute, Mulholland placed a perfect through ball into the right side of the box to find Hristov at the end of the pass. The Bulgarian took a powerful shot but Smits was able to send the ball out to a corner kick.