SANTOS STARS AS ROWDIES BEAT JACKSONVILLE ARMADA FC 3-2
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (August 8, 2015)—Maicon Santos and the Tampa Bay Rowdies put on a show Saturday night at Al Lang Stadium, picking up all three points in a tight 3-2 win over the Jacksonville Armada FC.
Santos scored two goals and assisted on the other as the Rowdies built a 3-0 lead over their new cross-state rivals in the Coastal Cup, presented by Verizon, before conceding two second-half goals to set up a nervy finish under considerable pressure from Jacksonville.”
“They didn’t make it easy on me and my heart,” Rowdies head coach Thomas Rongen. “We executed our gameplan very well. We didn’t change anything from our last game. We wanted to be compact and well organized with our block of six including Marcelo Saragosa, Juan Guerra and the back four.”
Santos, the Rowdies’ leading scorer with six goals this season, gave a hint at what would come with a goal in just the second minute of play, but it was waved off for offside. Just five minutes later, Santos scored a goal that counted.
Martín Núñez played a perfect through ball for Santos to collect behind the Armada’s defense. Santos took a few touches to round Jacksonville goalkeeper Miguel Gallardo and score the first goal of the night.
Gallardo was bested again on Tampa Bay’s second goal, beaten to the ball by Santos all the way near the Rowdies bench. Gallardo could only watch from afar as Santos took on Jacksonville defenders before scoring his second of the night in the 32nd minute.
“The important thing was getting three points at home,” Santos said. “The whole team needed to get back to winning. We got the three points, so it was a very good game for us.”
Brian Shriver added a third Rowdies goal in the 50th minute, receiving a switch from Santos, taking one touch and then firing into the upper corner of the goal from 18 yards out to put Tampa Bay ahead 3-0.
“Maicon was able to spin his defender and once I saw him get into space, I took off and tried to be an option for him,” Shriver said. “He clipped the ball over to me, I took a good first touch. I wanted to hit it after the first touch, so I hit it on the half volley. I struck it clean and it felt really good.”
Up three goals, the Rowdies committed a pair of defensive errors to let Jacksonville back into the match. First, Alhassane Keita drew and converted a penalty in the 54th minute. In the 67th minute, Keita took a free kick that split the Rowdies wall and left goalkeeper Kamil Čontofalský exposed for another Jacksonville goal.
Santos nearly completed his hat trick in the 65th minute, when he rounded Gallardo again, but his shot was cleared off the line by a sliding defender.
The Armada’s comeback bid was dealt a blow in the 79th minute when defender Lucas Trejo was shown a straight red card and ejected from the match for a nasty tackle on Juan Guerra. Despite playing down a man for 15 minutes, including stoppage time, Jacksonville put pressure on Tampa Bay’s defense until the final whistle.
Rowdies: Maicon Santos - 7th minute (Assisted by Martin Nuñez)
Rowdies: Maicon Santos - 32nd minute
Rowdies: Brian Shriver - 50th minute (Assisted by Maicon Santos)
Armada: Alhassane Keita - 53rd minute (Penalty Kick)
Armada: Alhassane Keita - 67th minute
Rowdies: Čontofalský; King, Agbossoumonde, Mkandawire, Sweat; Saragosa (c), Guerra, Hristov; Shriver (Salgado 78'), Santos (Hertzog 73'), Núñez (Chavez 87')
Jacksonville: Gallardo (c); Gafa (Perea 63')) , Trejo, Ortiz, Toby (Rodriguez 63'); Castrillon, Scaglia, Barrett (Gebhard 82'); Millien, Keita (c), Johnson