ROWDIES AND INDY ELEVEN DRAW 1-1 IN ST. PETE
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (September 30, 2015) — The Tampa Bay Rowdies picked up another crucial point in the race for The Championship on Wednesday night with a 1-1 draw against the Indy Eleven at Al Lang Stadium.
The point pulls the Rowdies even with FC Edmonton on points in fourth place in the NASL Combined Standings, but the Rowdies trail the Eddies by four goals in goal difference. As things stand, the top four teams in the Combined Standings will qualify for The Championship, the NASL’s four-team playoffs.
A pair of first-time Rowdies starters gave the Rowdies a lead in the second half, with Freddy Adu finding Long Tan at the back post on a looping corner kick, but the lead was short-lived. Just four minutes later, Jaime Frias took a shot that Matt Pickens went left to save, only for the shot to be deflected back to his right.
“(Long Tan and Freddy Adu) made a positive impact on the match,” Rowdies Head Coach Stuart Campbell said. “I’m happy Long Tan got his goal. With a little bit of luck, he might have had two or three, but it wasn’t to be.”
The Rowdies started the match quickly and piled the pressure on Indy in the opening 15 minutes, with Tan nearly putting Tampa Bay ahead just six minutes in. An Adu cross found Tan in space, but his glancing header toward the back post went wide of the target.
In the 10th minute, Georgi Hristov played a low cross for Juan Guerra, who blasted a first-time shot that was saved by Eleven goalkeeper Keith Cardona.
Indy replied to that chance with a great one of its own, with a Dylan Mares shot hitting post after a Rowdies turnover. Indy’s Brian Brown nearly got to the rebound for another shot on goal, but Darnell King won a footrace and cleared the ball.
Tampa Bay’s next great chance came in the 35th minute when Brian Shriver won a free kick 23 yards out from goal. Adu’s shot cleared the wall, but curved wide of the post at the last moment, ensuring neither team would score before halftime.
Adu’s connection with Tan on a corner kick in the 63rd minute was his second assist of the season. It was Long Tan’s first goal for the Rowdies since 2010, having arrived on loan last week.
Indy’s goal was the result of a contentious free kick decision. Dane Richards took a shot on goal and went down from contact after the shot was off his foot. A free kick was awarded on the line of the 18-yard box. Erick Norales took the free kick, but it didn’t pass the wall. On the rebound, Frias tried a shot from about 28 yards out from goal that took at least one deflection before passing the wrong-footed Pickens.
Rowdies: Long Tan - 63rd minute (Assisted by Freddy Adu)
Indy Eleven: Jaime Frias - 67th minute
Rowdies: Pickens; King, Mkandawire (c), Antonijevic, Balchan; Adu, Guerra, Menjivar, Shriver (Hertzog 60'); Tan, Hristov
Indy: Cardona; Franco, Miller, Norales (c), Frias (Stojkov 70'); Smart, Peña (Keller 85'), Steinberger, Lacroix; Mares, Brown (Richards 63')