Friday, 16 October 2015

Rowdies vs. San Antonio Scorpions

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (September 19, 2015) — Early adversity didn’t stop the Rowdies in their quest for a win Saturday night at Al Lang Stadium, where the Rowdies beat the visiting San Antonio Scorpions 2-0 in front of a lively crowd of 6,135 fans to take a huge step forward in the playoff race.
Rowdies goals in the third and ninth minutes were seemingly-incorrectly called offside to keep the match level through halftime. Corey Hertzog put the Rowdies ahead 1-0 in the 50th minute and Juan Guerra secured all three points for Tampa Bay with an insurance goal in the 88th minute.
Tampa Bay’s win, paired with a 2-0 Fort Lauderdale Strikers loss to the Ottawa Fury FC on Saturday night, lifted the Rowdies back above Fort Lauderdale and into fourth place in the North American Soccer League Combined Standings, a position which would see them qualify for The Championship, the NASL’s four-team playoffs. Tampa Bay leads Fort Lauderdale by two points in the standings with seven games left.
The Rowdies started the match flying high and playing aggressive and confidently, but after having two goals waived off in the opening minutes of the match, San Antonio settled down and found its footing. Before long though, the Rowdies were piling the pressure on again.
“One of the phrases I used at halftime was strength and adversity,” Rowdies Head Coach Stuart Campbell said. “We started the game as we liked, but we had two goals disallowed. It took the wind out of our sails, but we turned it around and dominated the game. Their goalkeeper made some very good saves and we’re happy to have taken all three points.”
With the rough patch behind them, the Rowdies moved forward in the match.
“It’s not easy when you score twice and they’re taken away,” Guerra said. “But this is what I love about our team. We have a lot of young players, but we’re very mature. We have guys that know how to manage their emotions well and that’s what we did. We stayed together, we waited for the spaces to open and when we had the opportunities to score, we did.”
Hertzog’s second goal of the season, on a penalty kick following a handball by Scorpions defender Zourab Tsiskaridze, gave the Rowdies a more-than-deserved lead just after halftime and forced San Antonio Head Alen Marcina to turn to his bench. The Scorpions abandoned their five-defender formation in favor of putting more forwards onto the field, but it failed to turn the match around.
In the minutes following the goal, Tampa Bay hammered the Scorpions net, but San Antonio goalkeeper Daniel Fernandes responded with save after save. He had eight saves on the night.
The win was secured late on with Guerra’s second goal of the season. Rowdies midfielder Darnell King took his defender on one-on-one before crossing to second-half substitute Darwin Espinal near the penalty spot. Espinal shot on target with his first touch, but Fernandes made the save and allowed a rebound. Guerra pounced on the rebound and scored to send Al Lang Stadium into a frenzied state.

Scoring Summary:
Rowdies: Corey Hertzog - 50th minute (Penalty Kick)
Rowdies: Juan Guerra - 88th minute

Rowdies: Pickens; Balchan, Mkandawire, Agbossoumonde, Sweat; King, Guerra, Saragosa (c), Hertzog (Espinal 88'); Hristov, Shriver (Menjivar 78')
San Antonio: Fernandes; Palacios, Attakora, Cann (c) (Hassli 75'), Tsiskaridze (Gentile 59'), DeRoux; Chavez, Gibson (Soto 87'), Castillo, Forbes; Cummings

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