ROWDIES FALL 1-0 TO FC EDMONTON
EDMONTON, ALBERTA, CANADA — The Tampa Bay Rowdies’ recent surge in form hit a stumbling block Sunday afternoon in Edmonton as Albert Watson’s first-half goal doomed the Rowdies to a 1-0 defeat.
The Rowdies entered the match in good form, coming off a dramatic 2-2 road draw in Ottawa against Fury FC and then a 2-0 home win over the New York Cosmos last week, but couldn’t get on the same page in Sunday’s match.
FC Edmonton captain Albert Watson scored the lone goal of the match in the 16th minute, redirecting a Dustin Corea corner kick to the far post, beyond the reach of a diving Matt Pickens.
Beyond conceding a goal to Edmonton, the Rowdies were poor in the first 30 minutes of the match, struggling to string passes together and maintain possession. Corey Hertzog had the first real scoring chance of the match in the ninth minute, first-timing a Georgi Hristov cross on target, but was denied by a nice Matt Van Oekel save. After the half-hour mark, Tampa Bay improved, but was unable to capitalize on any scoring chances.
“How we started the game wasn’t us,” Rowdies Head Coach Stuart Campbell said. “We didn’t play with any intensity. We didn’t play with good tempo. We turned it around though and finished the half pretty well.”
After the halftime break, the Rowdies looked much better than FC Edmonton, dominating possession in the middle third of the field and defending well as a unit. Offensively, when the ball approached the final third, the movement started to break down.
Just before the hour mark, Hertzog played Shriver into space toward goal, but Shriver’s cutback cross from the byline was caught by Van Oekel.
In the 66th minute, Rowdies midfielder Juan Guerra came close to scoring, chipping a ball over Van Oekel with the outside of his boot, but it dipped only far enough to clatter the crossbar and preserve Edmonton’s lead.
Darwin Espinal, Martin Nunez and Zak Boggs all entered the match off the bench in the second half as the Rowdies threw attackers onto the field to try to find a way back into the match, but it was to no avail.
Edmonton: Albert Watson - 16th minute (Assisted by Dustin Corea)
Edmonton: Van Oekel; Edward, Watson (c), Roberts, Zebie; Raudales (Grannito 78'); Cruz (Nyassi 71'), Corea, Laing, Smith; Fordyce (Jonke 81')
Rowdies: Pickens; Balchan, Agbossoumonde, Mkandawire, Sweat; Hernandez (Espinal 61'), Guerra, Saragosa (c), Hertzog (Boggs 84'); Hristov, Shriver (Nuñez 68')