ROWDIES TOP CD FATIMA 1-0 ON LATE PORTILLOS GOAL
FATIMA, Portugal (March 1, 2015) — The Tampa Bay Rowdies’ preseason tour of Portugal is off to a flying start courtesy of an impressive shift by rookie left back Zac Portillos in Tampa Bay’s 1-0 win over CD Fatima on Sunday morning.
After a couple of days adapting to Portugal in training, Tampa Bay’s match against Fatima was the first of four friendlies the club will play this week.
As in the two preseason friendlies, Head Coach Thomas Rongen played a split-squad, making 10 substitutions at halftime to ensure everyone who dressed for the match 45 minutes of game time. Portillos was the only player to play 90 minutes.
The first half lineup was captained by midfielder Marcelo Saragosa, who was one of six signed players to make their preseason debut Sunday. Juan Guerra, Georgi Hristov, Maicon Santos, Brad Rusin and Darwin Espinal also got their first minutes of the preseason under their belt in the win.
Santos had the best chance at a goal in the first half, receiving an excellent ball from Hristov on the penalty spot, but his first-time shot went inches wide of the goal post. Fatima didn’t threaten much, with the Rowdies comfortably controlling the match for long stretches.
Keith Savage, now the longest-tenured Rowdies player, wore the captain’s armband in the second half, which the Rowdies played extremely aggressive with a nose for goal. If not for a couple of very close offside calls, Tampa Bay could have put a few goals on the board with 20-yard Darwin Espinal just a touch early on several runs through the defense.
Portillos won the match for the Rowdies with an 85th minute goal assisted by Jeff Michaud. Portillos raced down the left flank with the ball at his feet before passing it inside to Michaud and continuing his run. Michaud played a perfectly weighted through ball for Portillos, who kept his balance after contact from a defender. Portillos rounded the diving keeper and slotted his first professional goal home with his right foot to put an exclamation mark on an impressive showing all match.
Rowdies: Zac Portillos – 85th Minute (Assisted by Jeff Michaud)
Rowdies First Half: Contofalsky; Balchan*, Mkandawire, Antonijevic, Portillos; Guerra, Saragosa, King; Hristov, Santos, Nuñez
Second Half: Glodack; Fernandez, Agbossoumonde, Rusin, Portillos; Michaud, Savage, Wuthrich*; Shriver, Espinal, Boggs
* Indicates trialist
* Indicates trialist