ROWDIES DEFEATED 2-0 BY INDY ELEVEN IN MIDWEEK MATCH
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.
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')