ROWDIES DEFEAT JACKSONVILLE ARMADA 2-0
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (March 28, 2015) — The Tampa Bay Rowdies appear ready to open the 2015 North American Soccer League season following a 2-0 road win over Jacksonville Armada FC at EverBank Field on Saturday evening.
Keith Savage and Brian Shriver scored on either side of the halftime break to beat the Armada and run Tampa Bay’s preseason record to 7-2-2. The Rowdies open the NASL Spring Season next Saturday night in San Antonio against the defending champion Scorpions.
The Rowdies yielded a lot of possession to Jacksonville throughout the match, content to bend but not break defensively and then spring forward when the chance presented itself.
Jacksonville only forced Rowdies goalkeeper Kamil Contofalsky into one save in the opening 45 minutes.
In the 14th minute, Venezuelan winger Robert Hernandez flashed his speed and crossed a ball into the box for Maicon Santos, but the ball was just behind the big Brazilian forward and the chance went away.
Six minutes later, it was Santos crossing a ball in for Hernandez, but again the ball wasn’t quite perfect and Jacksonville was able to clear it away.
Santos very nearly broke the deadlock in the 26th minute, again off a cross by Hernandez, beating Sierra with his shot, but missing the far post by a matter of inches.
Savage scored his second goal of the preseason just before the halftime break when the Rowdies won a throw-in deep in Armada territory. Corey Hertzog delivered a long throw-in, which was glanced on by Stefan Antonijevic and straight to Savage a few yards out from the goal line. Savage tapped it past goalkeeper David Sierra and over the line to put Tampa Bay up 1-0 just before halftime.
Protecting a 1-0 lead in the second half, the Rowdies made mass substitutions and again seemed happy to let Jacksonville possess the ball and defend as a unit. Forward Brian Shriver’s entrance into the match immediately led the Rowdies doubling the lead.
Shriver checked in the 55th minute and scored with his first touch in the 58th minute, heading a perfect cross from Hernandez down and past Jacksonville goalkeeper Miguel Gallardo. It was Shriver’s second goal in as many matches this week.
Now up 2-0, the Rowdies really worked on protecting a lead and closing out the match.
Jacksonville couldn’t break through and only recorded one shot in the second half.
Rowdies: Keith Savage - 43rd minute (assisted by Stefan Antonijevic)
Rowdies: Brian Shriver - 58th minute (assisted by Robert Hernandez)
Rowdies: Contofalsky; King (Fernandez 80'), Mkandawire (Michaud 87'), Antonijevic (Rusin 82'), Portillos (Sweat 63'); Saragosa (Guerra 61'), Savage (Chavez 75'), Hristov (Valimaa 59'); Hernandez (Nunez 62'), Santos (Espinal 43'), Hertzog (Shriver 55')