ROWDIES AND COSMOS DRAW 2-2 AFTER LATE FRIMPONG EQUALIZER
HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. — The Tampa Bay Rowdies and New York Cosmos played to an entertaining 2-2 draw at James M. Shuart Stadium on Saturday night. Rowdies midfielder Evans Frimpong scored a brace, including a 90th minute equalizer that made it 2-2.
Tampa Bay midfielder Evans Frimpong gave the Rowdies a lead in the 25th minute, but it was very short-lived. Two minutes later, Hagop Chirishian capitalized on a Rowdies defensive mistake to pull the Cosmos level.
Midfielder Darel Russell delivered a free kick from far out in the right channel, but the diminutive Frimpong outleaped New York goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer to head it into the net and give the Rowdies a 1-0 lead. It was Frimpong’s first goal of the season.
"I was delighted with the start of the game in terms of taking the sting out of the game and making it difficult for the Cosmos, frustrating them slightly," Rowdies coach Ricky Hill said. "We had the bonus of Evans getting in and scoring a big header to put us 1-nil up."
Chirishian was the beneficiary of a failed pass in the Rowdies’ defensive ranks in the 27th minute, racing onto the ball and running to the endline before finding space to shoot between Rowdies goalkeeper Matt Pickens and his near post to score for New York.
"We shot ourselves in the foot to a degree," Hill said. "We had a chance to clear, we didn't clear and it ended up in the back of our net. Credit to the guys for regrouping and ensuring we wouldn't score again for the remainder of the half."
The Cosmos could have easily taken a lead in the 43rd minute, but forward Danny Mwanga missed a tap-in from close range.
The second half got off to a quick start as midfielder Marcos Senna gave the Cosmos the lead off a perfectly executed free kick. Goalkeeper Matt Pickens dove left in search of getting a touch on the shot but there was nothing he could do.
"When Marcos Senna is on the pitch, you always know that he's capable of doing what he's done tonight and what he did to us last year (with a similar goal,)" Hill said.
Minutes later, the Rowdies would have a chance of their own with a Shriver header but goalkeeper Maurer was quick to get to the ball and avoid the equalizer. It was the Cosmos who nearly doubled their lead in the 62nd minute, when Stokkelien redirected a cross from the right flank. His touch went off the far post and traveled across the goalline until Rowdies defender Jordan Gafa cleared it out of the box.
The match became very physical as the play continued but it would be the Rowdies who created several chances in the final minutes of play. Second-half substitute Lucky Mkosana had two chances in the span of one minute, starting with a shot just inside the 18-yard box that was saved by Maurer. On the ensuing corner kick, the Zimbabwe native had yet another shot, this time it went over the bar and out for a goal kick.
"We had a gameplan to gradually introduce new, more offensive players as the game went on to see if we could get a goal back," Hill said. "Once again, through the efforts of all the guys sticking at it and believing we may be able to force an equalizer, we had good situations."
Seconds after the fourth official signaled four minutes of added time, Frimpong found his second goal of the match, capitalizing on a Maurer error. The Cosmos goalkeeper was able to clear the initial cross but the ball immediately was sent back into the heart of the box. Maurer misplayed the bouncing ball and Frimpong was their to prounce on the rebound and equalize it for the visiting team.
Rowdies: Evans Frimpong - 25th minute (assisted by Darel Russell)
New York: Hagop Chirishian - 27th minute (assisted by Sebastian Guenzatti)
ROWDIES AND SILVERBACKS PLAY OUT 1-1 DRAW IN ATLANTA
ATLANTA, Ga. -- The Tampa Bay Rowdies drew 1-1 with the Atlanta Silverbacks on a chilly Saturday night at Silverbacks Park. Georgi Hristov's first-half goal put Tampa Bay ahead 1-0 at halftime, but Jaime Chavez's second-half goal pulled the Silverbacks level. Neither team would score again.
"On reflection, it's a good point won," Rowdies coach Ricky Hill said. "Atlanta deserved something from the game because Matt Pickens played really well tonight and they hit the post on a couple of occasions. I was pleased with the shape of the side tonight, our organization and our on-field management. The players were all engaged with each other and they were working for each other. I was pleased with the way we responded to what has been a difficult time. It would have been nice to get three points, but it's nice to arrest that losing feeling and mentality. The guys feel a little more confident now and it's something we can definitely build on."
The Silverbacks opened the match as the better team and nearly grabbed the opening goal on a couple of occasions.
Twelve minutes in, Silverbacks defender Alex Harlley shot past Rowdies goalkeeper Matt Pickens, but his shot caromed off the goalpost toward the penalty spot. Jaime Chavez's effort went over Pickens and was goal-bound, but Rowdies right back Jordan Gafa was in position to clear it off the line.
Six minutes later, Atlanta's Jesus Gonzalez rocketed a shot off Pickens' crossbar.
In the 23rd minute, a miscommunication between Pickens and Frankie Sanfilippo gave Pablo Cruz space for a bicycle kick two yards out from goal, but his effort looped over the crossbar.
Facing test after test, the Rowdies defense bent, but didn't break. Pickens recorded seven saves on the night.
"The defense showed great resilience not to concede when Atlanta was playing really well," Hill said. "(Pickens) was called upon on more than a few occasions and came up trump for us. Kyle Clinton, Frankie Sanfilippo, Jordan Gafa and Blake Wagner, as well as Darel Russell and Keith Savage, put their bodies on the line to ensure that there were people there contesting things. When crosses came in, they put their heads where boots were flying, which is all that I can ask for. When they step on the field, they try the best they can and they play with their heart and soul for 90 minutes."
Rowdies forward Luciano Olguin received the ball in the box in the 38th minute with enough time to collect, turn and shoot, but his shot was blocked by a defender before reaching goal. The deflection bounced directly to Hristov's feet, who slotted home his ninth goal of the season. It was his second goal this week and third in the last five matches.
"Georgi looks like he's rounding into some serious form at this time," Hill said. "He worked ever so hard tonight and got his reward by scoring a goal."
After the halftime break, Atlanta again started as the more potent attacking side, finally finding its goal in the 54th minute as Shaka Bangura's looping cross from the byline found Chavez at the backpost for the game-tying tap-in.
The Rowdies inserted Lucky Mkosana and Casey Townsend into the match midway through the second half, with both causing some disruption within Atlanta's defense. The Rowdies put six shots on target in the match, with Silverbacks goalkeeper Thomas Hunter also putting in an impressive shift.
Hristov nearly scored his second goal of the night in the 74th minute, but his effort was wide of Atlanta's net.
"On another night, with a little more attention and incision at the vital times, we might have had more than one goal to show for it."
Atlanta's Junior Sandoval had a golden chance to score a go-ahead goal with a free kick from just outside the box in the 80th minute, but his shot was inches wide of the post.
Rowdies:: Georgi Hristov - 38th minute
Atlanta: Jaime Chavez - 54th minute (Assisted by Shaka Bangura)
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Rowdies mounted a late comeback effort against league-leading Minnesota United FC, but ran out of time, losing 3-2 to the Loons.
The Rowdies had taken a 1-0 first-half only for Minnesota to equalize by halftime. A pair of Minnesota goals on either side of the hour mark gave the Loons a 3-1 lead. Rowdies forward Casey Townsend cut the deficit in half with a goal in the 90th minute, but referee Rubiel Vazquez ended the match before the Rowdies had time to score their third goal.
Tampa Bay forward Georgi Hristov put the Rowdies ahead in the 28th minute, but Loons forward Christian Ramirez leveled the score just before halftime in the 44th minute.
"Overall, it was a fairly good game," Rowdies coach Ricky Hill said. "I was happy with the discipline our guys showed within the tactical structure that we set out during the last couple of days. They implented that really well in the first half and I felt Minnesota weren't really a threat at all during that period. Instead of being 1-nil at half time, which would have given us extra confidence and lift, we came in at 1-all from a long throw-in into our box. I asked my guys to give me another 45 minutes of discipline the way they did in the first half, but we came out in the second period a little bit cold."
Blake Wagner earned an assist on the Rowdies goal, collecting the ball and dragged it away from his defender and onto his back foot. He then sneakily poked the ball through to Hristov, sending him one-on-one against Minnesota goalkeeper Matt Van Oekel. Hristov took a couple of dribbles to draw Van Oekel off his line, then slid the ball low past the goalkeepers' right hand to put the Rowdies up 1-0.
Hristov nearly had another one-on-one opportunity against Van Oekel in the 43rd minute, but Minnesota's last ditch defending did enough to prevent the Rowdies from taking a 2-0 lead.
Tampa Bay's lead nearly lasted until halftime, but a long throw-in by Brian Kallman deep in the Rowdies' half found Ramirez on the back post, who finished first-time past Rowdies goalkeeper Matt Pickens.
A Minnesota defensive error in the 51st minute nearly gave Corey Hertzog a shot on goal after stealing an attempted clearance, but the ball ran just far enough away from him for Minnesota to successfully clear it.
In the 56th minute, Hristov intercepted a pass near midfield and started a quick attack with Luciano Olguin for support. Hristov slid the ball over to Olguin, who shot with his left foot, but it was saved by Van Oekel.
Minnesota's second goal, in the 58th minute, came in controversial fashion. Rowdies defender Anthony Wallace shielded Brian Kallman to the endline, with the ball appearing to roll past the endline and out of play before Kallman crossed to Ramirez, who finished past Pickens. The goal was Ramirez's league-high 19th of the season.
"There's some dispute about whether the ball went over the line or not," Hill said. "At this level, you just continue playing to the whistle and that's it. We went 2-1 down and then, in quick succession, went 3-1 down without really being focused and intense enough in and around our box."
Eight minutes later, Juliano Vicentini extended Minnesota's lead to 3-1 with his first goal of the season. Ramirez and newly-minted United States Men's National Team member Miguel Ibarra combined well just outside the Rowdies' 18-yard box, but Tampa Bay defender Kyle Clinton stepped in and poked the ball away from Ibarra. The ball bounced directly to Aaron Pitchkolan, who slid it to Vicentini for a first-time finish and a 3-1 lead.
Tampa Bay made a pair of offensive-minded substitutions, sending Lucky Mkosana and Casey Townsend onto the field immediately after Vicentini's goal as it attempted to even the match once again. Those two would pair together for a goal in the 90th minute, as Mkosana's low cross from the left wing beat Minnesota's defenders. Townsend tapped it past Van Oekel from close range for his third goal of the season.
"The guys kept going and kept trying to prise things open," Hill said. "We didn't create enough opportunities to get back in the game, but we had a nice chance at the end that Casey converted well."
The Rowdies had one final chance to equalize before the end of the match, when Wallace took a free kick from 40 yards out, but his delivery was too long for the Rowdies to manage a shot.
Rowdies: Georgi Hristov- 28th minute (Assisted by Blake Wagner)
Minnesota: Christian Ramirez- 44th minute (Assisted by Brian Kallman)
Minnesota: Christian Ramirez- 58th minute (Assisted by Brian Kallman)
Minnesota: Juliano Vicentini- 66th minute (Assisted by Aaron Pitchkolan)
Rowdies: Casey Townsend- 90th minute (Assisted by Lucky Mkosana)
SAN ANTONIO, Tex. -- The Tampa Bay Rowdies were beaten 7-0 by the San Antonio Scorpions on Saturday night at Toyota Field.
The Rowdies trailed 2-0 at halftime, but a quick red card and a flurry of goals were the story of the second half. Rafael Castillo, Cesar Elizondo and Eric Hassli each bagged braces for the Scorpions, in addition to Walter Restrepo's goal.
Within a minute of the start of the second half, Rowdies defender Tamika Mkandawire was shown a straight red card and dismissed from the match for a handball in the box. Castillo's 48th minute penalty kick put the Scorpions up 3-0 and the Rowdies were tasked with playing the remaining 42 minutes with 10 men.
"We were ball-watching and suddenly it's 3-nil and we've had a man sent off," Rowdies coach Ricky Hill said. "From there on, it's an uphill battle. We struggled to stop San Antonio. Fair play to San Antonio for exploiting the situations that they had."
Up 3-0, Elizondo and Hassli traded two goals apiece as the Scorpions cruised to the finish and clinched their spot in The Championship.
In the first half, the Rowdies were burned by a couple of well-taken set pieces as Restrepo and Castillo scored the first-half goals.
Restrepo's goal came in the 28th minute when a Scorpions corner kick wasn't effectively cleared, dribbling weakly to the top of the box. Restrepo, charging forward, first-timed it past Matt Pickens in net for the opening goal.
Rafael Castillo doubled the lead just before halftime with a free kick that deflected off the top of the wall and into the net.
San Antonio: Walter Restrepo - 28th minute
San Antonio: Rafael Castillo - 42nd minute
San Antonio: Rafael Castillo - 48th minute
San Antonio: Cesar Elizondo - 53rd minute (assisted by Giuseppe Gentile)
San Antonio: Eric Hassli - 67th minute (assisted by Walter Restrepo)
San Antonio: Cesar Elizondo - 73rd minute (assisted by Billy Forbes)
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — A couple of wild minutes doomed the Tampa Bay Rowdies to a 3-2 loss to the visiting Fort Lauderdale Strikers under a full moon at Al Lang Stadium on Wednesday night.
The Rowdies had a 2-0 lead late in the first half and seemed to be cruising toward a fifth-consecutive Coastal Cup when a Strikers substitution changed the path of the match. Fort Lauderdale midfielder Mark Anderson had to be taken out of the match after picking up an injury and was replaced by Shawn Chin in the 42nd minute.
A minute later, Chin set up former Rowdie Fafa Picault for Picault’s 10th goal of the season.
A minute after that, Chin again set up Picault for the forward’s 11th goal of the season, evening the match at 2-2.
Early in the second half, it was Picault who took a shot for his hat trick, but Rowdies goalkeeper Matt Pickens was on the spot to make the save. The ball deflected to Chin, who kicked it into the net for a 3-2 Strikers lead in the 56th minute that the Rowdies wouldn’t recover from.
“It’s inexcusable for that to happen at home,” Rowdies coach Ricky Hill said. “For whatever reason, there seems to be a mental blockage when we play at Al Lang. It’s not through the efforts of the fans and those who come out to support us. The fans encourage the players all the way through the game. We have a lot of work to do.”
Tampa Bay started the match well and it was defender Tamika Mkandawire that put the Rowdies ahead in the 11th minute, finishing past Strikers goalkeeper Kamil Contofalsky after Keith Savage sent a header off the crossbar on Darel Russell’s free kick delivery. The goal was Mkandawire’s third of the season.
The Rowdies doubled their lead in the 38th minute when Savage took a free kick from the right channel, delivering it short to an unmarked Russell, who collected it with a touch before smashing it past Contofalsky for a 2-0 lead.
“We’ve had a few occasions this year where (that play) looked to be there, but we haven’t tried it,” Savage said. “It looked nice and there were two options, Darel Russell and one behind him. I was going for the one behind him and hoping for a little dummy, but (Russell) took a great touch and did it himself.”
This is the first time this season the Rowdies have lost a match after scoring first.
“When you give up a goal, you need to regroup and we didn’t,” Savage said. “They’ve got one guy (Picault) with a lot of pace. They didn’t even do anything special. They put it behind and he ran. That definitely hurt. We expected to come out and be the better team and we weren’t. (Picault) was up for the game and up for the challenge.”
The Rowdies aggressively sought an equalizing goal in the second half, sending wave after wave of attacks toward the Strikers defense, but Contofalsky made every save he needed to make.
In the 64th minute, Brian Shriver found space to take a shot from inside the 18-yard box and beat Contofalsky, but his effort caromed off the goal post and was eventually kicked out of play by the Strikers.
Ricardo Morris and Lucky Mkosana entered the match in the 65th minute as the Rowdies pushed forward, with Mkosana’s speed creating plenty of chances for Tampa Bay.
Mkosana’s best shot at tying the match came in the 72nd minute, when he lost his defender and received a cross from the right wing, redirecting it hard toward net with his first touch, but a last-ditch dive by Contofalsky kept it from crossing the line.
Second-half substitute Walter Ramirez nearly made it 4-2 in favor of the Strikers in the 79th minute, but Pickens made an excellent diving save to keep the Rowdies in the match.
After that, the Strikers dug deep in their own half with the Rowdies unable to find a way through the sea of defenders and start their comeback.
Picault was forced out of the match with an injury in the 86th minute. With the Strikers already out of substitutions, the Rowdies played the closing minutes with a man advantage but were unable to score an equalizing goal.
Rowdies: Tamika Mkandawire - 10th minute
Rowdies: Darel Russell - 38th minute (Assisted by Keith Savage)
Fort Lauderdale: Fafa Picault - 43rd minute (Assisted by Shawn Chin)
Fort Lauderdale: Fafa Picault - 44th minute (Assisted by Shawn Chin)
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Rowdies and FC Edmonton split the points at Al Lang Stadium on Saturday night with a 1-1 draw.
Chad Burt scored for Edmonton in the 43rd minute to give the Eddies a road lead. Neil Hlavaty’s initial shot was saved by Rowdies goalkeeper Matt Pickens, but the rebound bounced directly to Burt, who kicked it home from about 10 yards out to give the Eddies a lead just before halftime. Georgi Hristov equalized from the penalty spot in the 68th minute to break a 268 minute scoreless streak.
Burt is a St. Petersburg native and played for the Rowdies in 2010 and 2011.
“Today was very important and we needed a three point result,” Rowdies coach Ricky Hill said. “To not get the three points is disappointing, first and foremost. To concede the first goal again is disappointing in the manner of how we conceded it. We’ve gotten into reasonable situations and we just haven’t been clinical enough or composed enough at times. I’m disappointed for our fans because we want to give them three points every time they come out to support us because they support us so well.”
The Rowdies started the match aggressively, dominated much of the first half with a forward-thinking 4-3-3 formation determined to put pressure on Eddies goalkeeper Lance Parker. New Rowdies forward Corey Hertzog led the attack, playing as the center forward in his Green and Gold debut, flanked on either side by Hristov and Casey Townsend, who swapped wings at will.
Tampa Bay midfielder Keith Savage nearly opened the scoring in the second minute, but his shot went just wide of Parker’s left-hand post.
Edmonton’s best early chance came off a throw-in in the 17th minute when Tomi Ameobi chested the ball up to set up for a shot, but Pickens left his line quickly to break up the play.
The Rowdies answered two minutes later with a chance of their own as Townsend cleverly turned on a ball and moved toward goal, but his shot from the outside of his boot was well over Parker’s crossbar.
In the 26th minute, a Hristov free kick from 23 yards out nearly gave the Rowdies a 1-0 advantage, but Parker dove to make the save at his near post to keep Tampa Bay off the scoreboard.
Edmonton’s goal came just before halftime, but the Rowdies again started aggressively in the second half.
Hill made a pair of aggressive substitutions in the 65th minute, with forward Brian Shriver and attacking midfielder Evans Frimpong both entering the match in search of a quick goal.
Two minutes later, a ball into the box saw Eddies defender Kareem Moses whistled for a foul on Willie Hunt to give the Rowdies a penalty kick. Hristov shot to the left for his seventh goal of the season to pull the Rowdies level in the 68th minute.
Forward Luciano Olguin entered the match for the Rowdies in the 83rd minute as the Rowdies continued to push for a match-winning goal.
“We put on a team full of offensive players and I was hoping that something would happen and we would get a little magic from someone maybe,” Hill said. “We needed a little quality in the final third, but we were a little bit impatient at times.”
Edmonton midfielder Eddie Edward was shown his second yellow card of the match in the 90th minute for a foul on Hristov, but the Rowdies didn’t have enough time to capitalize, with the match ending 1-1.