ROWDIES EARN CRUCIAL POINT WITH GUTSY 1-1 DRAW AGAINST OTTAWA
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (October 10, 2015) — The Tampa Bay Rowdies will live to fight another day after pulling off a gutsy 1-1 draw against Ottawa Fury FC despite being reduced to 10 men in the second half.
Tom Heinemann had given Ottawa a 1-0 lead in the 42nd minute with an unassisted goal and the Rowdies had to wait a long time to earn their equalizer, but were able to find a way in the end. Brian Shriver read a Freddy Adu chip over the defense perfectly, racing onto the ball and poking it past Ottawa goalkeeper Romuald Peiser to tie the match at 1-1 in the 88th minute.
“We wanted the three points, but even at halftime when we were 1-nil down, I believed that if we raised our level and raised our intensity that we were more than capable of getting a result,” Rowdies Head Coach Stuart Campbell said. “At halftime, I said no matter what happens in the second half, but me every ounce of energy you’ve got—do it for yourselves, do it for the fans and do it for the club. We were down to 10 men for about 15 minutes and you’d never have known it.”
The result keeps Tampa Bay in the thick of the race to The Championship, the NASL’s four-teams playoffs. Tampa Bay entered the night tied on points with the Fort Lauderdale Strikers and FC Edmonton. Fort Lauderdale lost 2-1 in Minnesota to Minnesota United FC, moving the Rowdies one point ahead of the Strikers. FC Edmonton visits the New York Cosmos on Sunday afternoon.
“We wanted three points, but at the same time, any points at this point in the season going to help us to our goal of making the playoffs,” Shriver said. “We live to fight another day and we’ve got a humungous road game next weekend and we have to focus on that now.”
Heinemann’s goal was a beauty, collecting a ball with his back to goal just outside the corner of the box before spinning quickly and firing a shot low and just inside Rowdies goalkeeper Matt Pickens’ right-hand post, but Tampa Bay’s goal was a masterclass in technique and touch.
Rowdies midfielder Darnell King had been sent off in the 77th minute after picking up his second yellow card of the evening, but Tampa Bay pushed hard until its moment of brilliance in the 88th minute.
With time on the ball and seeing space between Ottawa’s backline and Fury FC goalkeeper Romuald Peiser, Adu chipped a ball over the defenders for Shriver to run onto and poke beneath the goalkeeper who has kept 13 clean sheets this season to deny him a 14th.
Ottawa - Tom Heinemann - 42nd minute
Rowdies - Brian Shriver - 88th minute (Assisted by Freddy Adu)
Rowdies: Pickens; Balchan, Mkandawire, Antonijevic, Chavez; King, Guerra, Saragosa (c) (Valimaa 78'), Adu; Tan (Michaud 66'), Hristov (Shriver 75')
Ottawa: Peiser (c); Richter, Alves, Falvey, Trafford; Beckie, Guzman (Poltronieri 83'), Ubiparipovic; Wiedeman (Junior 69'), Heinemann, Oliver (Haworth 75')