ROWDIES DEFEAT FLORIDA GULF COAST 3-1
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Midfielder Darel Russell wore the captain’s armband and scored a pair of first-half goals as the Tampa Bay Rowdies continued their preseason with a 3-1 win over Florida Gulf Coast University at Walter Fuller Park.
“It was a very satisfying workout for the players,” coach Ricky Hill said. “Obviously we’re still trying to get proper cohesion as a group, but I thought the players really equipped themselves very well in respect to everyone that was available to play tonight managed to get at least 30 minutes.”
With club captain Frankie Sanfilippo on the bench to start the match, Russell was given the captain’s armband and made the most of it.
He scored his first goal of the preseason in the 18th minute off a pass from Christophe Lallet on the right side of midfield. He volleyed his second goal home six minutes later after a pinpoint cross from Casey Townsend was headed down by Brian Shriver into his path.
“Two goals for anyone at any time in any game is a great achievement,” Hill said. “He’s a midfielder that can do a bit of everything. He can hold if we need him to and he can join in the attack and finish, which is an added bonus for us. I’m delighted for him to get two goals for us tonight. Our normal skipper owes me two goals now.”
After Florida Gulf Coast’s Isaiah Madrid scored in the 39th minute, Brian Shriver extended the Rowdies’ lead with his first goal of the preseason in the 80th.
In their three preseason matches, the Rowdies have combined for eight total goals from seven goalscorers.
“Offensively, we’ve got a lot of weapons,” Hill said. “We’ve got a lot of players who are very creative offensively. It’s not just two strikers and three midfielders. I think every one of the forward eight or nine players are quite adept at being creative and can score goals. That’s a great thing to have.”
Townsend, signed this week, made his Rowdies debut and played 64 minutes. He started on the right side of midfield and played some time on the left side as well.
Rowdies: Darel Russell - 18th minute (Assisted by Christophe Lallet)
Rowdies: Darel Russell - 24th minute (Assisted by Brian Shriver)
FGCU: Isaiah Madrid - 39th minute (Assisted by Steven Oliveri)
Rowdies: Brian Shriver - 80th minute (Assisted by Keith Savage)
Florida Gulf Coast: Ingham; Wilks, Guillen, Saravia, Suedois; Ortiz, Oliveri, Robledo; Madrid, Gebhard, Echeverri
Rowdies: Thompson (Mizell 64'); Gafa, Rodrigues (Sanfilippo 64'), Hunt (Yamada 64'), Wagner (Abrahams 64'); Townsend, Russell (Captain) (Wallace 64'), Clinton (Savage 64'), Lallet (Frimpong 64'); Shriver, Hristov (Del Do 64')