ROWDIES FALL 2-1 TO FORT 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.”
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')