Monday, 20 October 2014

Rowdies vs. Atlanta Silverbacks

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.

Scoring Summary:
Rowdies:: Georgi Hristov - 38th minute
Atlanta: Jaime Chavez - 54th minute (Assisted by Shaka Bangura)

Lineups:
Atlanta Silverbacks: Hunter; Harlley (Sousa 86'), Canovas, Bangura, Poltronieri; Gonzalez, Gavin, Burgos (McCaulay 73'), Cruz (Sandoval 68'); Chavez, Bangura
Rowdies: Pickens; Gafa, Sanfilippo, Clinton, Wagner; Hertzog (Mkosana 64'), Russell, Savage, Shriver (Frimpong 85'); Olguin (Townsend 72'), Hristov

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