ROWDIES CONCEDE TWO SECOND HALF GOALS IN 3-1 LOSS TO MINNESOTA
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (August 22, 2015) — Counterattacks doomed the Tampa Bay Rowdies to another defeat Saturday night as the Rowdies dropped a 3-1 decision to Minnesota United FC in front of 5,059 fans at Al Lang Stadium.
The Rowdies had taken a 1-0 lead midway through the first half on Juan Guerra’s first goal for the club, but Minnesota equalized through an Ibson goal in the 36th. After the break, the Rowdies dominated possession and pace of play, but were twice caught on a Loons break for goals by Justin Davis in the 65th minute and Daniel Mendes.
Minnesota’s third goal came in stoppage time when the Rowdies had numbers forward going for an equalizer. Tampa Bay left back Ben Sweat was in pursuit of the ball on the attack, but cramped on the play and last a step before resuming his chase. That step was all the time Minnesota needed to score.
The result sees Tampa Bay fall three points behind Minnesota, but remain in fourth place in the NASL Combined Standings with 26 points. If the playoffs began today, the Rowdies would play the New York Cosmos in the semifinals.
“I feel a bit unfortunate and disappointed that we got caught by two counterattacks in the second half,” Rowdies Head Coach Stuart Campbell said. “It’s something we spoke about before the game and at halftime. We know Minnesota are very quick on the counter and they caught us twice.”
Overall, Campbell was pleased with the team in his first match in charge. Tampa Bay looked poised to score a goal or two in the second half, only to see the Loons take possession deep in their half and move forward quickly.
“I can’t fault the guys’ effort and commitment,” Campbell said. “It was great. We played some pretty decent stuff and we created enough opportunities to win the game, but it wasn’t our night tonight. I’d have liked to see us move the ball a little bit quicker, but I understand it’s our third game in (eight days,) so I’ll accept that they had heavy legs. If we got outplayed and lost, I’d be the first one to hold my hands up, but tonight, it’s a gutting feeling.”
Guerra’s 28th minute goal gave the Rowdies an early lead on Georgi Hristov’s NASL-high eighth assist of the season.
Rowdies: Juan Guerra - 28th minute (Assisted by Georgi Hristov)
Minnesota: Ibson - 36th minute (Assisted by Kalif Alhassan)
Minnesota: Justin Davis - 66th minute (Assisted by Ibson)
Minnesota: Daniel Mendes - 90th minute (Assisted by Justin Davis)
Rowdies: Pickens; King, Mkandawire, Antonijevic, Sweat; Shriver, Guerra, Saragosa (c) (Menjivar 79'), Espinal (Nuñez 67'); Hristov, Santos (Hertzog 59')
Minnesota: Hildebrandt; Venegas, Calvano, Pitchkolan (c), Davis; Vicentini; Alhassan (Mendes 69'), Ibson, Jordan (Banks 89'), Yago (Gotsmanov 75'); Ramirez