Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Rowdies vs. FC Edmonton

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (July 18, 2015) -- For the first time in the Thomas Rongen era, the Tampa Bay Rowdies have lost a match at Al Lang Stadium. FC Edmonton will depart as 1-0 winners, courtesy of a Stefan Antonijevic own goal in the 56th minute.
The Eddies had a corner kick in the 56th minute, which found Mallan Roberts' head at close range. Rowdies goalkeeper Matt Pickens made a point-blank reaction save to deny Roberts, but the ball bounced directly to Antonijevic on the ground and caromed into the net to give the Eddies the decisive score.
"I haven't lost too many (like that,)" Rowdies Head Coach Thomas Rongen said. "You don't see that very often, it's not a play that happens anywhere in the world. We had a very good first half, but again, weren't able to put the team away. We have two or three good opportunities and don't capitalize it. We gave up a goal that could have been prevented."
Despite the loss, the Rowdies remain atop the NASL Combined Standings on 22 points, one ahead of the New York Cosmos in second place.
Tampa Bay dominated the first half possession and scoring chances, but couldn't find the finishing touch, finishing without a goal from the second consecutive match. The Rowdies could've opened the scoring just seven minutes into the match when midfielder Brian Shriver beat Eddie Edward one-on-one and got to the endline for a cross, but no Rowdies were available to tap it home.
Facing heavy pressure and tired from three matches in eight days, Edmonton sat deep in its own half to defend and Tampa Bay just couldn't find a way through.
The Eddies' goal, barely 10 minutes into the second half, lifted the visitors and gave them a second wind. 
"I did enough to get (Roberts) out of position and Matt made a great save, but the unfortunate happened," Antonijevic said of the only goal of the match. "It ricocheted off my face and into the goal. That's how soccer goes sometimes. You might be the better team on the field, statistically, but what matters is the end result. Today, we were the better team, but we didn't put away what we had to put away and they scored one and that's all they needed."
Tampa Bay's second half saw a flurry of chaotic scoring chances, but the only time the Rowdies actually found the back of the net, the goal was waived off due to offside.
Rowdies forward Maicon Santos appeared to have scored an equalizing goal in the 89th minute after a series of headers in the box, but he scored from an offside position and the goal was waived off.

Scoring Summary:
Edmonton: Mallan Roberts (56th minute)

Rowdies: Pickens; King, Mkandawire (c), Antonijevic, Sweat; Guerra, Shriver (Hristov 61'), Núñez (Boggs 80'); Hernandez, Hertzog (Santos 61'), Espinal
FC Edmonton: Van Oekel; Moses, Watson (c), Roberts, Edward; Grannito; Nonni (Cruz 74'); de Freitas (Zebie 81'), Raudales, Smith; Jalali (Jonke 74')

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Rowdies vs. San Antonio Scorpions

SAN ANTONIO, Tex. (July 11, 2015) – The Tampa Bay Rowdies saw their eight game unbeaten run snapped Saturday night with a 3-0 loss to the San Antonio Scorpions. An early goal by midfielder Marvin Chavez and a brace from forward Omar Cummings gave the home side the victory.
Despite the result, the Rowdies remain first in the Combined NASL Standings.
"We need to bounce back after tonight's loss," said Head Coach Thomas Rongen. "We're still first in the combined standings so I know this team has the quality to get back on a winning streak."
A great start by the Rowdies featured two quick chances for the visiting team as both midfielder Brian Shriver and forward Darwin Espinal had opportunities to score the first goal of the match, though neither chance was converted.
An 11th minute Chavez put the home team ahead early. As the clock passed the 10th minute mark, Chavez received a ball from Cummings and cut inside to get by a Rowdies defender and create space. His shot curled past a diving Rowdies goalkeeper Matt Pickens to conclude a perfect counter attack.
After going down 1-0, the Rowdies almost found the equalizer in the 16th minute as forward Corey Hertzog capitalized on a defensive mistake and went one-on-one with Scorpions goalkeeper Matt Cardone. Hertzog curled a shot as he entered the 18-yard box, but Cardone made a diving save to his left. 
As the Rowdies continued to try to find ways to score, Pickens denied Cummings in the 39th minute pn a shot from inside the 6-yard box. A perfectly executed counter attack left Cummings one-on-one with Pickens, with the Rowdies keeper going down fast to deny the forward the goal.
The second half started the same way as the first 45 minutes, with the Rowdies controlling possession and trying to create chances in the final third. Forward Robert Hernandez nearly tied it up in the 53rd minute after forcing Cardone to make a diving save to rob the Venezuelan the goal.
Despite controlling the ball, it was another counter attack that led to the Scorpions second goal of the night. In the 54th minute, Midfielder Billy Forbes beat defender Darnell King down the right side and fired a low cross into the 6-yard box. His perfectly placed cross found Cummings inside the box, who tapped it past Pickens to make it 2-0.
Minutes later, Cummings bagged his second of the night after receiving a through ball from midfielder Rafael Castillo and slotting his shot past Pickens.
With midfielder Georgi Hristov and forward Maicon Santos coming in off the bench, the Rowdies were able to create chances to cut the lead, but were unable to find the back of the net. In the 81st minute, Santos had a great individual run to send in a low cross into the box, but forward Zak Boggs skied his shot from six yards out. One minute later, it was Santos himself who had the chance, but Cardone dove to his right to keep the shutout alive.
"We look forward to playing in front of our amazing fans next Saturday," Rongen said. "We're unbeaten at home and I stressed to the team that it's important that it stays that way. Al Lang is a fortress for us and we enjoy playing there."

Scoring Summary:
San Antonio: Marvin Chavez - 11th minute (assisted by Omar Cummings)
San Antonio: Omar Cummings - 54th minute (assisted by Billy Forbes)
San Antonio: Omar Cummings - 61st minute (assisted by Rafael Castillo)

Scorpions: Cardone; DeRoux, Cann (c), James, Gibson; Forbes, Castillo, Nane, Chavez; Cummings (Hassli 81'), Elizondo (Soto 69')
Rowdies: Pickens; King, Antonijevic, Mkandawire (c), Sweat; Guerra, Shriver (Hristov 63'), Núñez; Hernandez (Santos 63'), Hertzog, Espinal (Boggs 78')

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Rowdies vs. Atlanta Silverbacks

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (July 4, 2015) — The Tampa Bay Rowdies started the 2015 North American Soccer League Fall Season the same way they ended the Spring Season three weeks earlier -- with a win over the Atlanta Silverbacks at Al Lang Stadium.
Each side benefitted from an own goal in the opening first half, but it was Darnell King's goal in the 30th minute that lifted the Rowdies to a 2-1 win over the Silverbacks on Saturday night in front of 7,002 fans in downtown St. Petersburg.
The win lifted the Rowdies into first place in the NASL Combined Standings, two points ahead of the New York Cosmos, who play the Indy Eleven on Sunday.
“We were superb in the first 30 minutes,” Rowdies Head Coach Thomas Rongen said. “One of the goals was an own goal, but we would have scored that one anyway. … We’re still unbeaten at home. We’ve got five wins and a tie. That’s pretty darn good, obviously. I keep saying we’re only going to get better, which is nice to see.”
Tampa Bay's first goal came in the 22nd minute, when Rowdies forward Corey Hertzog took advantage of a Silverbacks turnover to race in on goal. He passed to Brian Shriver on his right, who took a touch to collect the ball before firing a shot on goal. Atlanta goalkeeper C.J. Cochran got a hand to it, but it seemed to still be heading toward goal when centerback Rauwshawn McKenzie tried to clear it, but committed an own goal in the process.
The Rowdies doubled the lead just eight minutes later when right back Darnell King scored his first goal in green and gold. After receiving the ball on the right, King cut inside to his left and fired near post past Cochran for a 2-0 lead.
“(It was) pretty cool,” Rongen said. “At practice, we work on crossing. As soon as he got the ball, we were thinking, ‘O.K., Darnell, take a touch and whip it in,’ and then he cut inside on his left and we thought, ‘oh no.’ But then he scored and we all thought, ‘Darnell, great decision.’ As coaches, what do we know?
Darnell, a Tampa native, who plays in front of a home crowd filled with family and friends, was more than willing to break the rules a little bit to give his team an advantage.
“(The instruction to send in a cross) came into my head, because that’s what they’ve been telling me,” King said. “But from the position I was in, inside the box, take that touch and put it on frame. It worked out this time.”
After going up 2-0 — and perhaps affected by the summer afternoon heat — the Rowdies took their foot off the pedal. Atlanta’s goal came in the 36th minute when Rowdies defender Stefan Antonijevic headed into his own net on a Silverbacks corner kick.
“(After the second goal,) we stopped playing,” Rongen said. “We’re a little young, a little naïve and we thought the game was over. … They’re all learning lessons, but it’s great to teach when you’re still winning games.”
The Rowdies had a handful of chances to extend their lead in the second half, but didn’t end up needing a third goal to pick up all three points.

Scoring Summary:
Rowdies: Rauwshawn McKenzie - 22nd Minute (Own Goal)
Rowdies: Darnell King - 30th minute (Assisted by Corey Hertzog)
Atlanta: Stefan Antonijevic - 36th minute (Own Goal)

Rowdies: Pickens; King, Antonijevic, Mkandawire (c), Sweat; Guerra, Shriver, Núñez (Chavez 82'); Hernandez (Hristov 68'), Hertzog, Espinal
Atlanta Silverbacks: Cochran; Christian (Bangura 89'), McKenzie, Mensing (c), Black; Porter (Oppong 82'), Hughes, Mravec, Okafor; Bangura (Sousa 61'), Horth