ROWDIES PRESEASON KICKS OFF WITH 2-2 DRAW AGAINST USF
The Tampa Bay Rowdies and USF played to 2-2 draw on Saturday night at Corbett Soccer Stadium. A first-half goal by forward Carl Cort gave the Rowdies the lead, but back-to-back USF goals in the 69th and 71st minute gave the home team the lead. Rowdies midfielder Evans Frimpong found the equalizer with just under 15 minutes left to play but the NASL side was unable to find the late go-ahead goal.
The first chance of the match came within 60 seconds after kickoff, with Frimpong flying down the right flank and firing a shot inside the 6-yard box. His shot was saved by USF goalkeeper Spallay Stefanovic and sent out for a corner. The Rowdies had several chances during the first 30 minutes, two of them coming off long distance shots by newcomer Darel Russell. The Green-and-Gold would get the go-ahead goal in the 36th minute after Frimpong controlled a long ball at the edge of the box and set up Cort with a great pass in the heart of the box. The forward took his time to find space and smash his shot into the back of the net.
USF goalkeeper Stefanovic denied Rowdies forward Brian Shriver his first goal with the Rowdies jersey with a diving save to his left in the 40th minute. The Rowdies withheld a late push for the equalizer by USF in the final minutes of the first half. Rowdies goalkeeper Ryan Thompson was able to make several saves to keep the Rowdies ahead after the first 45 minutes.
The home side came out strong in the second half, pushing for the goal that would level up the match. Rowdies goalkeeper Ryan Thompson was forced to make several stops after USF was finding holes on the right flank. The Bulls would end up finding the equalizer in the 69th minute, when midfielder Lucas Baldin capitalized on a penalty kick placing his shot off the right post and into the back of the net.
Just two minutes later it was USF who would take the lead, as defender Wesley Charpie got past two Rowdies defenders and fired his shot past Thompson.
It didn't take long for the Rowdies to equalize the match, with Frimpong making it 2-2 in the 75th minute. Second-half substitute Georgi Hristov picked up a rebound inside the box and played it to Frimpong, who fired his shot past a helpless USF keeper.
In the final 15 minutes of the match, Shriver and Hristov were able to string up several passes creating mutliple dangerous chances for the Rowdies. USF's defensive line was pushed back into their own 18 but they withstood the pressure and the match ended 2-2, with Hristov being denied the final chance thanks to a great stop by USF's keeper.
Rowdies - Carl Cort - 36th minute (Assisted by Frimpong)
USF - Lucas Baldin - 69th minute (Penalty Kick)
USF - Wesley Charpie - 71st minute (Assisted by Edwin Moalosi)
Rowdies - Evans Frimpong - 76th minute (Assisted by Georgi Hristov)
South Florida Bulls: Stefanovic; Garcia, Charpie, Paunic, Brown; Muckette, Baldin, Mfeka; Delancy, Moalosi, Blackwood
Rowdies: Thompson; Sanfilippo (Captain) (Gafa 46'), Needham (Sanfilippo 46'), Rodrigues (Clinton 46'), Wagner (Yamada 46'); Frimpong, Russell, Savage (Hill 46'), Wallace (Lallet 46'); Cort (Hristov 46'), Shriver