SANFORD, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Rowdies were knocked out of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup by a 4-1 loss to Orlando City SC in a third-round match at Seminole Soccer Complex on Wednesday night.
Kevin Molino netted twice to compliment goals by Austin Da Luz and Adama Mbengue to give the Lions their commanding lead at the break.
Molino opened the scoring in the 11th minute with a looping lob over Rowdies goalkeeper Cody Mizell. Da Luz doubled the lead with a tap-in at the back post in the 21st minute.
Mbengue added a third with a blast from the edge of the 17-yard box that Mizell pushed into the crossbar but couldn’t keep out of the net. Molino’s second goal gave Orlando a 4-0 lead in the 41st minute.
Blake Wagner scored the Rowdies’ lone goal in first-half stoppage time to give Tampa Bay a boost going into the locker room, but the Rowdies were unable to turn the result around with neither team scoring in the second half.
Orlando City: Kevin Molino - 11th minute (Assisted by Tyler Turner)
A poster from 1983, sponsored by Adidas.
Showing on lifeguard stand, from left to right: Peter Roe, Zequinha, Wes McLeod, Tatu, Refik Kozic, Carl Bennett, John Gorman and Mike Connell.
On ladder: Peter Gruber and Pedro DeBrito.
On ground: Coach Al Miller, Jurgen Stars, Peter Nogly, Assistant Trainer Lee Cummings, Trainer Ken Schields, Equipment Manager Alfredo Beronda, Luis Fernando, Don Droege, Jack Brand and Assistant Coach Kevin Keelan.
Kneeling: Carlos Babington, Perry Van Der Beck and Bruce Bates.
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Blake Wagner scored a dramatic extra-time winner as the Tampa Bay Rowdies completed a three-goal comeback to top the Fort Lauderdale Strikers 3-2 in the Florida Derby on Saturday night at Al Lang Stadium.
Fort Lauderdale led 2-0 at the 34 minute mark, but a goal from Willie Hunt in first-half stoppage time put the Rowdies on the comeback trail. Anthony Wallace equalized the affair with a stunning goal in the 62nd minute to set up Wagner’s late winner. All three goals came from the Rowdies’ backline as Tampa Bay scored multiple goals in a game for the first time this season.
“It was tremendous. I’m very happy,” Rowdies coach Ricky Hill said. “It’s a big three points, but it is only three points. Being 2-nil down with our difficulties at home, I must applaud our fans for sticking with the team and supporting them. The ovation we got at halftime, even though we were losing, must have lifted the team. I’m happy we were able to reward the fans.”
Mark Anderson and Shawn Chin scored goals to put the Strikers ahead in the 19th and 34th minute, respectively, but the Rowdies piled the pressure on in search of a goal as the half continued on.
Georgi Hristov earned a penalty kick for Tampa Bay in the 34th minute, but Fort Lauderdale goalkeeper Oka Nikolov made the save to keep the Rowdies off the board.
Nikolov was omnipresent in the opening half, saving from point-blank range on a number of occasions as Lucky Mkosana and Christophe Lallet wreaked havoc in the box. Nikolov recorded nine saves in the first half to keep the Rowdies off the board until late. He finished with 13.
“I have to commend the players for having the resilience to play for the whole game even when we were 2-nil down,” Hill said. “We missed a penalty when we were 2-nil down. A lot of teams could have dropped their heads and felt sorry for themselves, but this lot didn’t. Credit to our guys for showing great character and commitment.”
Fort Lauderdale’s Carlos Salazar was dismissed from the match after picking up a second yellow card in the 41st minute. Up a man, the Rowdies drove the Strikers legs to exhaustion.
Hunt started the rally with a headed goal in first-half stoppage time, his first goal of the season.
Wallace pulled the Rowdies even with a sharp right-footed shot from well outside the 18-yard box that dipped and curved between defenders before buzzing past Nikolov and into the net. Midfielder Shane Hill laid the ball off to Wallace about seven yards beyond the edge of the box. Wallace took his time and weighed his options before blasting home.
“They were a man down so they were just trying to pack everything in and sit back,” Wallace said. “I figured, ‘Why not step up and take that space?’ Shane fed me the ball with a lot of time, I lifted my head, put it back down and struck it.”
The Strikers looked to have secured a point before Wagner’s strike sent the fans home happy and sent the Rowdies into Wednesday’s U.S. Open Cup tie against Orlando City with some momentum.
Fort Lauderdale: Mark Anderson - 19th minute (Assisted by Marius Ebbers)
Fort Lauderdale: Shawn Chin - 34th minute (Assisted by Marius Ebbers)
Rowdies: Willie Hunt - 45th minute (Assisted Georgi Hristov)
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Rowdies were bested 3-0 by the rival New York Cosmos on Saturday night at Al Lang Stadium as the Rowdies’ two-match unbeaten streak was halted.
In seventeen minutes after the start of the second half, the Cosmos turned a 0-0 match into a lopsided affair with a trio of very quick goals.
Mads Stokkelien opened the scoring in the 48th minute on an assist from Marcos Senna. Rowdies goalkeeper Ryan Thompson rushed out to try and collect the ball before Stokkelien could get his shot off, but the Norwegian fired first, sliding the ball underneath Thompson from a sharp angle to give New York a lead.
The Cosmos’ second goal came just three minutes later, in the 51st minute, when the Rowdies defensive line was caught out and Thompson charged out of his 18-yard box to make a play and committed a foul just on the edge. Thompson was cautioned for the incident, which also gave the Cosmos a free kick. Ayoze and Senna stood over the ball, but it was Ayoze who took the kick, slotting it past the wall and just inside Thompson’s post to double the lead.
New York’s third goal came in the 62nd minute when Paulo Mendes picked the ball off Tampa Bay defender Jay Needham and coolly finished it.
“You cannot legislate for defensive errors,” Hill said. “We’ve conceded three goals tonight. Ryan Thompson has had no shots to save in the second half, yet we’ve conceded three goals. That tells a story. The three goals were avoidable.”
Tampa Bay had its chances in the second half, but couldn’t manage to find the back of the net.
Darel Russell laced a roaring shot from just outside the edge of the box in the 75th minute, forcing New York goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer to punch the ball above the crossbar and out.
Second-half substitutes Evans Frimpong and Lucky Mkosana combined well, with Frimpong hitting side netting in the 76th minute.
As stoppage time neared, Mkosana delivered a nearly-perfect cross across the face of goal to Georgi Hristov, who just missed tapping it home with his head.
Still, the 4,855 fans on hand continued to support the Rowdies.
“For me, the fans were the men and women of the match tonight,” Hill said. “Even when we’re 3-nil down, they persistently supported the team. Regardless of what the scoreline was, they were still chanting and singing and urging us on. All credit to the fans for that.”
The biggest news of the first half was Tampa Bay goalkeeper Matt Pickens exiting the match after only 24 minutes due a quad/thigh injury. Ryan Thompson replaced Pickens, marking the first NASL appearance for the Jamaican goalkeeper. Pickens featured in last week’s NASL Team of the Week, his second time being so honored.
Neither team had a clear cut scoring chance in the opening 45 minutes, though Marcos Senna did force a Pickens save with an impressive shot from distance before Pickens departed the match.
The Rowdies’ best scoring opportunity of the first half didn’t actually produce a shot, as Casey Townsend’s cross from the right wing in the 34th minute rolled across the 18-yard box for Keith Savage. Savage wasn’t quite able to get a foot on it and it ran past to end the opportunity.
New York: Mads Stokkelien - 48th minute (Assisted by Marcos Senna)
OTTAWA, Canada—The Tampa Bay Rowdies’ first trip to Ottawa was marked by an exciting first half against the Ottawa Fury.
Georgi Hristov put the Rowdies ahead with a penalty kick in the 27th minute, but 10 minutes later, Tony Donatelli equalized for the Fury. The second half didn’t live up to its predecessor, with neither side able to net a winner and the match ending 1-1.
On their two-match road trip, the Rowdies picked up four out of a possible six points.
“The guys gave everything they had and competed very well,” Rowdies coach Ricky Hill said. “We defended valiantly when they had dangerous set pieces flashing across our box. Overall though, we’re disappointed to not take all three points. We know we have a lot of work to do.”
Before Hristov had a chance to put the Rowdies ahead, Tampa Bay goalkeeper Matt Pickens provided the highlight of the match, saving a Fury penalty kick in the 25th minute. Midfielder Darel Russell made a sliding clearance, but the ball caromed off his arm as he slid out of the 18-yard box, with the referee signaling the handball occurred before he crossed the line.
Ottawa forward Oliver shot to Pickens’ left, but the 6-foot-3 Pickens laid out at full extension to push it past the post.
“Matt came up big once again to save a penalty and keep us in the game,” Hill said.
On the other end, Lucky Mkosana flicked a ball on in the box, but was prevented from chasing after it, earning a penalty for the Rowdies. Hristov shot low and to the right for his second goal of the season.
The Fury leveled the match in the 37th minute at the end of a series of three corner kicks, with Donatelli present to slide the ball home from the back post.
The second half was much slower, though each team did have a decent opportunity or two to steal all three points.
In the 52nd minute, Mkosana chested a ball down to Russell on the edge of the box, but the midfielder’s shot was blocked before reaching the goalkeeper and sent out for a corner.
In the 69th minute, Ottawa caught Pickens between two minds on a deep delivery into the box, which found a Fury attacked near the far post. No shot came as the Ottawa player got his legs tangled.
With 10 minutes to play, Hristov nearly tapped a ball into the net from three yards out, but a last second effort by Gorrick prevented the goal.
Pickens made another excellent save in the 84th minute as Ottawa defender Soria played a one-two with a teammate and set himself up on a one-on-one with the goalkeeper. Pickens closed the gap and made the save to preserve the 1-1 scoreline.
Rowdies: Georgi Hristov - 27th minute (Penalty Kick)
Ottawa: Anthony Donatelli - 37th minute (Assisted by Richie Ryan)
Ottawa: Gorrick; Soria, Trafford, Jarun, Beckie; Ubiparipovic (Eustaquio 90'), Ryan (Captain), Donatelli; Oliver (Davies 68'), Dantas (Elias 83'), Haworth
ROWDIES EARN FIRST WIN OF THE SEASON WITH 1-0 VICTORY OVER SCORPIONS
SAN ANTONIO, Tex. — A Shane Hill goal in the 51st minute spurred the Tampa Bay Rowdies on to a 1-0 win over the San Antonio Scorpions at Toyota Field on a cool Saturday night.
Hill's goal, assisted by Keith Savage, gave the Rowdies their first win of the 2014 NASL Season.
Tampa Bay survived the 77th minute dismissal of Blake Wagner for a second yellow card and held on earn the three points.
"Well played by everyone on our team," Rowdies coach Ricky Hill said. "I thought throughout the evening that Frankie Sanfilippo, Shane Hill, Matt Pickens, really everyone throughout the side turned in a good performance, but those three really put a decent shift in."
Shane Hill's goal was created by spectacular team buildup. Evans Frimpong crossed in a ball from the right wing which just barely passed over the head of a lunging Georgi Hristov. Savage, waiting on the left edge of the box, calmly collected and considered his options before slotting the ball to Hill near the arc. Hill one-timed it low to the right of San Antonio goalkeeper David Bingham for his first goal of the season. It was also Savage's first assist.
Wagner's dismissal threatened to turn the tide of the match late in the second half, but Ricky Hill made a 79th minute substitution that stabilized the ship, inserting JP Rodrigues to fill in for Wagner.
"Credit goes to all the squad members," Ricky Hill said. "It's difficult when you're not selected in the starting lineup, but the guys are a fantastic group and they're all engaged from the bench in willing the guys on. JP came on, he must have been disappointed that he wasn't starting, but Blake got sent off and we had to make an adjustment. JP came in as a left back and he was straight into the pace of the game because he was focused on the bench. He gave us a lovely performance."
San Antonio had a period of sustained pressure after the dismissal, created mainly by speedy winger Sainey Touray, but at every calling, Pickens and the Rowdies' makeshift backline was there to divert the ball just enough to keep the Rowdies' first clean sheet of the season.
"(That win) shows a lot of character from our guys," Pickens said. "We were coming off a game where we gave up a lot of goals at home. We were all disappointed with our start of the season. We go up a goal tonight and then go down a man, but the guys dug in and showed the kind of character we have. Defensively, we needed that zero on the board in tough circumstances. We battled. That's our first win of the season and we're not going to downplay it. This is a big win for us."
Willie Hunt and Keith Savage were included in the starting XI for the first time this year. Hunt assumed the right back role, with Sanfilippo moving to center back. Savage started on the left side of midfield.
The Scorpions had the better of the chances in the first half, spurred on by the work of Shaun Saiko down the left flank. San Antonio had numerous moves into the Rowdies’ 18-yard box, but couldn’t manage to record many real scoring chances, apart from a Saiko header that was pushed wide by Tampa Bay goalkeeper Matt Pickens.
Pickens had a fantastic performance, making several crucial saves in the second half. In the 73rd minute, Scorpions forward Sainey Touray had a clear chance to equalize as he flew into the box, but Pickens got a glove to Touray's shot and popped it high enough in the air for Sanfilippo to race back and clear it away. Minutes later, Touray had another chance to score one-on-one against Pickens, but the goalkeeper was in the right spot to catch Touray's shot and preserve the lead.
Rowdies: Shane Hill - 51st minute (assisted by Keith Savage)
ROWDIES FALL 3-0 TO ORLANDO CITY IN FIRST LEG OF I-4 DERBY
KISSIMMEE, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Rowdies have a 3-0 deficit to overcome at home at Al Lang Stadium on July 6 in the second leg of the I-4 Derby, presented by United World Soccer.
Tampa Bay played an experimental side with an NASL league match looming Saturday evening in San Antonio. Five players made their Rowdies debut on the night, with nine players making their first start of 2014. As a result, Orlando City raced to a 2-0 halftime lead largely against the run of play. The Lions added a third in second-half stoppage time.
“Orlando played well and up until the first goal it was very even,” Rowdies coach Ricky Hill said. “We conceded two goals before halftime which gave a false scoreline to the game. Psychologically, it probably gave them a lift and I felt even though we were 2-nil down, I think if someone came late to the game and saw the way our team was playing, they wouldn’t realize without looking at the scoreboard that we were losing.”
Rowdies forward Lucky Mkosana, who made his first start of the season, had the earliest chance to score, collecting a ball from Evans Frimpong and pushing his shot off the bar in the 24th minute.
Four minutes later, Orlando City midfielder Adama Mbengue scored the opener, shooting past debutant Ryan Thompson and into the far side of the goal to give the Lions a lead.
Just before halftime, Thompson made a point-blank save on an Orlando City shot, but the rebound bounced directly to Dennis Chin, who kicked it before Thompson had a chance to recover and make another save.
The forward combination of Mkosana and Casey Townsend was impressive in the first half, despite not having a goal to show for it.
“Both of them did excellently,” Hill said. “They combined with each other and worked across the full width of the pitch together. Ultimately, they both had a couple of looks at goal and, on a different day, might have scored one or two each.”
The formation fluidity continued in the second half, with regular left back Blake Wagner and regular left midfielder Anthony Wallace swapping spots on the field.
“We had our opportunities,” Hill said. “We had counterattacks and breaks but we weren’t clinical enough in regards to quality of possession and ensuring that we set our teammates up for goal opportunities. It broke down too easy when we had the ascendency and we had the opportunity to score.”
The Rowdies will chase an 0-3 deficit when Orlando City visits Al Lang Stadium on July 6 for the decisive second leg after Brian Span’s stoppage time goal.
Orlando: Adama Mbengue- 27th minute (Assisted by Brian Span)