ROWDIES DEFEAT PHILADELPHIA UNION 1-0 IN FIRST PRESEASON MATCH
CLEARWATER, Fla. (February 10, 2015) — Head Coach Thomas Rongen and the Tampa Bay Rowdies opened their preseason campaign the right way with a 1-0 win over Major League Soccer’s Philadelphia Union on a chilly Tuesday night at the Joe DiMaggio Sports Complex. Rowdies forward Corey Hertzog’s 67th minute penalty was the difference between the sides.
With nearly two months still to go before Tampa Bay opens the North American Soccer League season, the Rowdies used Tuesday night as a chance to look at as many players as possible. The Rowdies’ starting lineup featured eight trialists. Rongen substituted all 10 outfield players at halftime, with only four trialists playing the second 45 minutes. Trialist goalkeeper Kamil Contofalsky was the only player to play all 90.
“It’s preseason, but it’s still important to get off on the right foot and there’s a lot of positives we can take from tonight,” Rongen said.
The Union played a particularly strong lineup from the start with Maurice Edu, CJ Sapong and Sebastian Le Toux all included.
Centerbacks Tamika Mkandawire and Gale Agbossoumonde showed great chemistry in the first half. Philadelphia enjoyed much of the possession early on, but the Rowdies absorbed the pressure well to keep the Union off the board. A front line consisting of Zak Boggs, Amani Walker and Brian Shriver created its fair share of dangerous chances but was unable to break through.
“Playing against an MLS team, our two units more than held their own,” Rongen said. “It was their first time playing together and I think they deserve great credit.”
The night’s decisive moment came in the 67th minute when the Rowdies won a free kick in a dangerous spot. As the delivery was sent in, Justin Chavez was pulled to the ground by Philadelphia’s Michael Lahoud. The referee awarded Tampa Bay a penalty and Hertzog, originally from the Pennsylvania area, slotted it hard to the bottom right corner of the net for the go-ahead goal.
The Union responded well and had a couple of notable scoring chances late in the match, but the Rowdies closed it well to post a clean sheet.
“The team achieved the goals we set for them before the match,” Rongen said. “The players stuck to the points we made beforehand and it was a very pleasing performance. It’s pleasing to get a win under our belts.”
Rowdies: Corey Hertzog - 67th Minute (Penalty Kick)
Union: McCarthy; Gaddis, Vitoria, White, Williams; Edu, Nogueira; Wenger, Maidana, Le Toux; Sapong.
Rowdies First Half: Contofalsky*; Yamada*, Agbossoumonde, Mkandawire, Barrientos*; Michaud*, Gonzalez*, Paez*; Shriver, Walker*, Boggs*
Rowdies Second Half: Contofalsky*; King, Chavez, Antonijevic, Portillos*; Savage, Fernandes*, Nuñez; Hertzog, Barbara*, Wagner