The Rowdies knocked off Eckerd College 3-0 Saturday night as the Rowdies Rush 2012 Preseason Tour continued at the Premier Sports Campus at Lakewood Ranch in a preseason contest hosted by Chargers Soccer Club.
The Rowdies opened the scoring on a goal by forward Luke Mulholland in the 17th minute. Mulholland received a perfect pass from midfielder Keith Savage and beat Eckerd goalkeeper Toni Virtanen in the bottom left corner of the net.
"I was very pleased with the overall level of performance," said Rowdies head coach Ricky Hill. "I was very happy with the way we managed to maintain possession of the ball. Our movement was quite sharp, especially considering we have just come together as a team in the last 10 days."
Trialist Zach Hofstetter added to the lead with a goal in the 65th minute, thanks to an assist from Daniel Gray. Gray then extended the Rowdies edge to 3-0 after a nice pass from Draymond Washington in the 68th minute.
"In order to win games, we have to score goals and the movement of the side overall was good," said Hill. "Considering we haven't done a lot of forward play this preseason, I thought the side as a cohesive unit looked good and quite sharp."
"But it is only the start of many games and we need to build on what we have done and take the next step."
The Rowdies outshot Eckerd 10-5 in the opening half as Virtanen made five saves. Several trialists saw action during the match, including goalkeeper Andrew Fontein, who joined the team this week and played the first 60 minutes of the game before being replaced by fellow trialist Will Dieterich.
"It is always good to win, especially the first game," said defender Andres Arango. "Overall I thought it was a great effort by the guys, the combination play looked good, but there is still a lot to improve on and we are looking forward to that."
The Rowdies Rush Preseason Tour continues this Wednesday, March 14 as the Rowdies take on the University of Tampa. The exhibition match will take place at the Walter Fuller Complex in St. Petersburg at 7:30 p.m. and will be hosted by the Azalea Youth Soccer League. The address to the Walter Fuller Complex is 2800 75th St N in St Petersburg (33710) and admission is free.
Rowdies 3, Eckerd 0
Rowdies: Luke Mulholland - 17th minute (assisted by Keith Savage)
Rowdies: Zach Hofstetter - 65th minute (assisted by Daniel Gray)
Rowdies: Daniel Gray - 68th minute (assisted by Draymond Washington)
Eckerd: Dean Hobbis - 45th minute
Eckerd: Matt Duffy - 59th minute
Rowdies: 15 shots, 3 saves
Eckerd: 5 shots, 8 saves
Rowdies: GK Andrew Fontein (Will Dieterich 60'), D Frankie Sanfilippo (Captain), D Daniel Scott (Thurstan Johnson 70'), D Andres Arango (Ryan Griffin 45'), D Draymond Washington, M Shane Hill (Jose Eduardo Herrera 60'), M Keith Savage (Dan O'Brien 45'), M Takuya Yamada, F Luke Mulholland (Matt Clare 60'), F Daniel Gray, F Zach Hofstetter (Joey Lopez 70')
Eckerd: GK Toni Virtanen, D Marcus Lohrmann, D Dean Hobbis, D Matt Duffy, D Seb Marley, M Turner Humphries, M Daniel Lopez, M Connor Montgomery, M Kyle Olmstead, F Nick Murawski, F Jack Walsh