Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Rowdies vs. Ft. Lauderdale Strikers

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (July 25, 2015) — The Tampa Bay Rowdies nearly pulled off an unlikely comeback Saturday night, losing 3-1 to the Fort Lauderdale Strikers in a result that tightened the race at the top of the NASL Combined and Coastal Cup standings.
Down 2-0 in second half stoppage time, Maicon Santos received a chip from Rowdies debutant Freddy Adu and scored to cut the deficit in half. Just minutes later, an Adu cross earned the Rowdies a corner that nearly leveled the match. Santos got a header on target from the corner, but it was directed straight to Strikers goalkeeper Josh Ford.
Moments later, Fort Lauderdale's Stefano Pinho scored on a counterattack to put the match out of reach at 3-1 deep in stoppage time.
The loss, paired with the New York Cosmos' 1-1 draw against the Indy Eleven on Saturday night, means the Rowdies and Cosmos are now tied atop the NASL Combined Standings with 22 points each, though New York has a game in hand. The Rowdies and Strikers are tied atop the Coastal Cup Standings with six points each.
"We have to score goals," Rowdies midfielder Georgi Hristov said. "We lost our third game in a row, but we have 16 more games. The season is really long. We've got to stick together. It's easy when you're winning, but when you lose, it comes down to character, friendship and respect. ... I can't even say we played bad, but we lost the game."
Fort Lauderdale's PC opened the scoring with a tap-in at the backpost just past the quarter hour mark of the match to put the Strikers ahead early. The Rowdies' scoring slump continued for much of the half and the Strikers' Bruno Nunes made them pay with a 78th minute goal to put Fort Lauderdale up 2-0 late in the match.
Freddy Adu, inserted in the 75th minute by Rowdies Coach Thomas Rongen, provided the spark that nearly keyed a late comeback. 
Apart from picking up the assist on Santos' goal, Adu had a couple of moments that put the Rowdies in a good position.
"We lost the game and we're disappointed about it," Adu said. "I'm personally disappointed about it, but it's sort of bittersweet because the reception was so awesome. Everytime I got close to the ball, the crowd was into it. ... It was nice to get the assist, but at the end of the day, the team lost. We've got to get better as a team and I've got to get better and work in with the rest of the guys."
Rongen made three changes to the starting lineup, inserting goalkeeper Kamil Contofalsky (first match since April 25), Georgi Hristov (first start since May 30) and Maicon Santos (first start since May 30.)

Scoring Summary:
Strikers: PC - 16th minute (Assisted by Marlon Freitas)
Strikers: Bruno Nunes - 78th minute (Assisted by Evans Frimpong)
Rowdies: Maicon Santos - 90+ minute (Assisted by Freddy Adu)
Strikers: Stefano Pinho - 90+ minute

Strikers: Ford; Sanfilippo, Kling, Smith, Guerrero (c); Marcelin, Freitas; Gabriel (Nunes 62'), PC (Frimpong 71'), Ramirez (Sanchez 84'); Pinho
Rowdies: Čontofalský; King (Adu 76'), Antonijevic (Agbossoumonde 40'), Mkandawire (c), Sweat; Guerra, Núñez, Hristov; Hernandez (Hertzog (60'), Santos, Espinal

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