ROWDIES FALL 1-0 TO FC EDMONTON
EDMONTON, Alberta, Canada — Lance Laing’s 64th minute goal lifted FC Edmonton over the Tampa Bay Rowdies 1-0 at Clarke Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Laing played a quick give-and-go with Neil Hlavaty just across the midfield line, with Laing taking a few dribbles before shooting past Tampa Bay goalkeeper Matt Pickens from about 15 yards out on the left side of the box.
"It's a lapse in concentration on our part," Rowdies coach Ricky Hill said. "Credit goes to Laing for exploiting that moment and being clinical with his finish. Unless we score goals, we're always vulnerable to concede goals and then get nothing. Today was another situation whereby we had more than enough opportunities to score a goal. Whether it would have been enough to win or they would have reacted, I can't say. At the moment, when we can't score, teams make us pay."
The Rowdies’ Keith Savage had the first great scoring chance of the match in just the fourth minute, volleying a ball toward John Smits in Edmonton’s net, but his shot went just over the crossbar before dipping down.
The match started to settle down a bit after that, with the Rowdies starting to establish a bit more possession as the half progressed.
Edmonton’s first chance came in the 20th minute with Horace James eyed up a shot from a sharp angle on the right side, but his effort went untouched all the way out for a Rowdies throw-in.
Blake Wagner had a brilliant scoring chance in the 26th minute when Eddies right back Beto Navarro misplayed a ball and allowed Wagner to race in on goal unopposed. His attempted chip over Smits wasn’t high enough and was pushed out for a corner kick.
Edmonton ended the first half well, with Tomi Ameobi finding space for a shot in the right channel, which was saved well by Matt Pickens. The rebound went directly to Lance Laing on the opposite side, but his effort went wide of net on the stroke of halftime.
The Rowdies controlled much of the second half, including a 59th minute shot by Shane Hill that was saved by Eddies goalkeeper John Smits. Smits had four saves on the afternoon.
Laing’s goal in the 64th minute put a little urgency into the Rowdies’ effort with forwards Brian Shriver and Luciano Olguin entering the match in the 66th minute. It was Olguin’s first appearance in an NASL match for the Rowdies.
The two fresh players nearly combined for a goal in the 69th minute, with Shriver taking a free kick from the right that nearly found Olguin at the back post for a tap-in. It was headed clear at the last moment by an Edmonton defender.
Rowdies coach Ricky Hill made his final substitution in the 74th minute, inserting Lucky Mkosana for Blake Wagner as the Rowdies chased a goal.
Olguin nearly scored the equalizer just before stoppage time, but Smits was in the right spot at the right time to make the save and preserve the Eddies lead.
An extra time free kick by the Rowdies was sent into the wall shortly before the referee blew the final whistle.
FC Edmonton - Lance Laing - 64th minute (Assisted by Neil Hlavaty)
FC Edmonton: Smits; Navarro, Watson, Roberts, Moses; James, Hlavaty, Edward (Blanco 77'), Laing (Mirabelli 86'); Burt (Boakai 79'); Ameobi
Rowdies: Pickens; Hunt, Rodrigues, Mkandawire (C), Wallace; Savage (Shriver 66'), Hill, Russell, Wagner (Mkosana 74'); Hristov, Walker (Olguin 66')