Saturday, 22 August 2015

Rowdies vs. Indy Eleven

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (August 19, 2015) — The Tampa Bay Rowdies’ Fall Season slump continued Wednesday night with a 2-0 loss to the Indy Eleven, but the Rowdies remain in position to qualify for The Championship, the NASL’s four-team playoffs, heading into Saturday’s home showdown against Minnesota United FC.
Tampa Bay and Minnesota are level on points with 26 each in the Combined Standings. Minnesota sits in third via a superior goal difference. The Rowdies sit in fourth.
Wednesday night against Indy, the Rowdies were playing on turf and conceded the first goal, both of which have been troubling circumstances for Tampa Bay this season in NASL play. Including the loss to Indy, Tampa Bay is 0-2-2 (W-T-L) on turf and 0-2-6 when conceding the first goal of the match.
After a scoreless first half, the Eleven’s Dane Richards opened the scoring on the hour mark with a low shot from a sharp angle past Rowdies goalkeeper Matt Pickens and into the far side netting. Erick Norales doubled Indy’s lead 10 minutes later from a free kick.
“We’ve had a few games like this where neither goalkeeper is under intense pressure, but we come up short,” Rowdies Coach Thomas Rongen said. “It was like that in the Fort Lauderdale game where there were three goals in the game, but neither goalkeeper had to make a save for the rest of the match. At halftime, we talked about how an individual mistake could turn the game and that’s what happened to us on both goals. … It was a fairly even game at halftime and we had the power to get three points, but I have to give credit to Indy as well. We’ve become our own worst enemy and that needs to change.”
The Rowdies looked dangerous going forward at times, winning eight corners in the match, but weren’t clinical in the 18-yard box as they were kept off the scoresheet for the third time in the Fall Season. Gale Agbossoumonde, Darwin Espinal had the best chances of the night, from a corner kick and long throw-in, respectively, but the Rowdies couldn’t find the scoring touch.
Rowdies Head Coach Thomas Rongen made six changes to his starting lineup from the team that had lost to Fort Lauderdale on Saturday and changed from a 4-3-3 to a 4-4-2, but Tampa Bay didn’t find the winning combination.
Goalkeeper Matt Pickens made his first start since July 18; Rich Balchan and Richard Menjivar each made their first start since May 30; Justin Chavez made his first start since April 11; and Darwin Espinal returned to the starting lineup after missing three games on international duty.

Scoring Summary:
Indy: Dane Richards - 60th minute (Assisted by Daniel Keller)
Indy: Erick Norales - 70th minute

Indy: Nicht; Franco, Norales (c) (Janicki 85'), Miller, Hyland; Stojkov (Smart 72'), Keller, Lacroix, Steinberger; Rugg, Richards (Ceballos 81')
Rowdies: Pickens; Balchan, Agbossoumonde, Mkandawire (c), Sweat; Shriver (Hernandez 70'), Chavez (Guerra 46'), Menjivar, Hertzog; Espinal, Santos (Hristov 74')

Rowdies vs. Ft. Lauderdale Strikers

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (August 15, 2015)—The Tampa Bay Rowdies’ Fall Season campaign hit another speed bump Saturday night as the Rowdies lost 2-1 to the Fort Lauderdale Strikers at Lockhart Stadium.
Fort Lauderdale took a lead in just the fourth minute of the night on a screamer of a goal scored from outside the 18-yard box by Stefano Pinho. James Marcelin scored the eventual game-winner in the 43rd minute after Maicon Santos had equalized for the Rowdies in the 19th minute.
“I felt we were a little better in the first half (than Fort Lauderdale,)” Rowdies coach Thomas Rongen said. “In the second half, neither team was really mustered anything going forward. We’re a little shorthanded with Stefan Antonijevic out, Freddy Adu out and Omar Salgado out, but that’s not an excuse. We have enough talent to do better than we did.”
Pinho’s spectacular strike in the fourth minute put the Rowdies behind the eight ball from the start. He took advantage of a turnover, took a few touches outside the box, before blasting a left-footed shot past Contofalsky for the opening goal.
The Rowdies fought back well, with Georgi Hristov collecting his NASL-best seventh assist of the season for Santos’s team-high seventh goal of the season. Hristov delivered a free kick from the right channel, to an unmarked Santos running across the near post to backheel past Fort Lauderdale goalkeeper Josh Ford.
The final goal of the night also came off a dead ball situation. Walter Ramirez took a free kick from just outside the corner of the 18-yard box, shooting on target. Contofalsky made the initial save, but couldn’t control the rebound and Marcelin was in the right spot to poke it past Contofalsky and put the Strikers ahead for good.
Tampa Bay’s best chance to equalize came in the 54th minute, when a Hristov corner kick found Rowdies defender Gale Agbossoumonde. Agbossoumonde powered his header on target, but Ford was in the right spot to make the catch.
The loss sees Fort Lauderdale pull level in the Coastal Cup Standings, presented by Verizon. Both Tampa Bay and Fort Lauderdale have nine points each in the competition.
“I’m still trying to find the right chemistry for us to get clicking,” Rongen said. “We play a good game, then a so-so game, then a bad game, or we play two good games, two poor games and then a tie. We’re still in the overall race with a lot of games left.”

Scoring Summary:
Fort Lauderdale: Stefano Pinho - 4th minute
Rowdies: Maicon Santos - 19th minute (assisted by Georgi Hristov)
Fort Lauderdale: James Marcelin - 43rd minute

Fort Lauderdale: Ford; Sanfilippo, Graye, Marcelin, Guerrero (c); Freitas, Thomas; Gabriel, PC, Ramirez (Frimpong 78'); Pinho (Nunes 80')
Rowdies: Čontofalský; King, Agbossoumonde, Mkandawire, Sweat; Saragosa (c) (Boggs 79'), Guerra, Hristov; Shriver (Hernandez 68'), Santos, Núñez (Hertzog 73')

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Rowdies vs. Jacksonville Armada FC

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.

Scoring Summary:
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

Rowdies vs. Carolina Railhawks

CARY, N.C. (August 1, 2015) — The Tampa Bay Rowdies put an end to their losing streak Saturday night, grinding out a 1-1 draw against the Carolina RailHawks at WakeMed Soccer Park. The result keeps Tampa Bay above Carolina in the NASL Combined Standings and snaps a three-match pointless streak.
Tampa Bay held a brief lead in the first half after Georgi Hristov’s second goal of the night, scored in the 29th minute. Carolina equalized just three minutes later through Mark Anderson.
"In the end, it's probably a just result," Rowdies Head Coach Thomas Rongen said. "I'm disappointed that we gave up their goal. ... We had two or three other good scoring opportunities. Our goalkeeper (Kamil Contofalsy), didn't have to make many saves. Their goalkeeper had to come up big a couple of times."
Darnell King made an excellent play in the build-up to Tampa Bay’s goal, flashing his pace and running by both RailHawks defenders before firing a low cross into the heart of the box. Hristov first-timed it into the net to put the Rowdies ahead.
Carolina was the beneficiary of a little bit of chaos just three minutes later with the ball bouncing around in Tampa Bay’s six-yard box before Anderson quickly spun and fired his shot past Contofalsky for the goal.
Tampa Bay had a flurry of chances to break the deadlock and take all three points, but none came to fruition.
Corey Hertzog, celebrating his 25th birthday, had a chance in the 41st minute, but Carolina goalkeeper Akira Fitzgerald made one of his three saves on the night, collecting the ball at the near post. In the 67th minute, Hertzog took RailHawks defender Wes Knight on one-on-one and beat him, but his shot was off target into the outside netting.
In the 72nd minute, Maicon Santos put his head on a Hristov corner kick, but directed it just inches wide of the far post.
Tampa Bay's best chance to score the winning goal came in the 78th minute when King took advantage of Carolina playing a high defensive line and sprinted in one-on-one against Fitzgerald. He shot quickly, but Fitzgerald got one quick hand on it to direct it off target and out of danger.

Scoring Summary:
Rowdies: Georgi Hristov - 29th minute (Assisted by Darnell King)
RailHawks: Mark Anderson - 32nd minute

RailHawks: Fitzgerald; Knight, Danso, Tobin (C), Low; Shipalane, Hlavaty (Nurse 82'),  da Luz, Anderson (Bracalello 72'); Albadawi; Novo (Nyepon 90')
Rowdies: Čontofalský; King, Agbossoumonde, Mkandawire, Sweat; Guerra, Saragosa (C) (Chavez 87'), Hristov; Shriver, Santos, Hertzog

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