ROWDIES DEFEAT FC EDMONTON 2-1 IN PRESEASON FRIENDLY
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (March 25, 2015) — The Tampa Bay Rowdies picked up their sixth win of the preseason Wednesday night, topping FC Edmonton 2-1 at Jacksonville University in the Armada FC Four-Team Challenge.
Both Rowdies goals, scored by Georgi Hristov and Brian Shriver, were direct results of working hard to win the ball back from defenders in front of the opposition net.
The Rowdies didn’t field a full-strength team and battled through a physically demanding first half. Five players were cautioned in the opening 45 minutes for rough play. Neither side carved out many clear-cut chances in the opening period and neither scored.
For both teams, it was their first test against NASL-level competition this preseason.
The second half was much more fluid and featured all three goals.
Justin Chavez helped the Rowdies to their first goal of the match, chasing down a ball in Edmonton’s box and earning a penalty kick. Eddies defender Marko Aleksic thought he was alone, jogging toward a ball to clear it, but Chavez was just behind him, and when Aleksic swung his leg to clear the ball, he instead kicked Chavez’s body to concede the penalty.
Rowdies forward Georgi Hristov scored the penalty high into Edmonton’s net for a 1-0 Tampa Bay lead in the 65th minute.
The Rowdies ran into trouble in the 74th minute, when Edmonton played a long ball forward and caught Gale Agbossoumonde in a tough position. As he recovered, Agbossoumonde made too much contact with FCE’s Frank Jonke, conceding a penalty.
Eddies captain Ritchie Jones stepped up to take the penalty, but Rowdies goalkeeper Matt Pickens guessed right and saved it to preserve Tampa Bay’s lead.
Just a minute later, Sadi Jalali got into space to take another shot on goal, but again, Pickens was in the right spot to make the save.
In the 84th minute, more pressure from the Rowdies forwards forced an error in Edmonton’s defense.
Tampa Bay forward Darwin Espinal put heavy pressure on the Eddies and intercepted a pass between defenders 30 yards from goal. Espinal squared a ball into empty space for Brian Shriver to run onto. Shriver took a couple of touches before slotting it past John Smits in net to put the Rowdies up 2-0.
The Rowdies were just minutes from keeping a clean sheet, but a Lance Laing free kick in stoppage time found Jonke for a header past Pickens and into the net.
Rowdies: Georgi Hristov - 65th minute (Penalty Kick)
Rowdies: Brian Shriver - 84th minute
FC Edmonton: Frank Jonke - 91st minute
Rowdies: Pickens (C); King (Boggs 46'), Rusin, Agbossoumonde, Sweat; Chavez, Guerra, Nuñez; Shriver, Michaud (Hristov 61'), Hernandez (Espinal 46')
Edmonton: VanOekel (Smits 61'); Edward (Smith 87'), Moses (Roberts 87'), Roberts (Aleksic 61'), Smith (Zebie 61'); Raudales, Hauksson (Burt 61'), Jones, Fordyce (Sadi 61'), Laing; Ameobi (Jonke 61')