The Rowdies remained unbeaten in the 2012 Rowdies Rush Preseason Tour with a 1-0 victory over Florida Gulf Coast University Saturday afternoon at the FGCU Soccer Complex in Fort Myers.
Midfielder Keith Savage scored his first goal of the preseason for the lone score and the Rowdies posted their third consecutive shutout while remaining unbeaten in the 2012 preseason.
"It was very difficult for both teams because of the heat in the middle of the afternoon," said Rowdies head coach Ricky Hill. "Jeff made some big saves in the first half and overall I was very pleased with the effort of the entire team."
The Rowdies put pressure on the Eagles early, leading to back-to-back corners in the 10th and 11th minutes.
Rowdies goalkeeper Jeff Attinella made a nice save in the 20th minute on a Florida Gulf Coast free kick from 25 yards out. Moments later, Keith Savage forced a save by Eagles goalkeeper Nathan Ingham off a free kick.
Midfielder Stuart Campbell, making his Rowdies debut, sent a corner into the box in the 28th minute, but defender Ryan Griffin's header sailed just wide.
In the 38th minute, forward Matt Clare hit the post and the Eagles came back to the other end and forced a save by Attinella. Just a few minutes later, defender Frankie Sanfilippo sent a great pass to Tsuyoshi Yoshitake but he hit the post with a header in the 41st minute.
Just before halftime, Savage gave the Rowdies a 1-0 lead with a beautiful left footed shot bent into the top corner from about 20 yards out.
"Keith took a nice pass from Matt Clare and whipped it into the top corner of the net for a fantastic goal," said Hill.
The Rowdies dominated the first 45 minutes of play, totaling 7 shots, 5 corners and two shots off the post. Ingham was forced to make four saves as well.
The Rowdies came out strong in the second half as well. Following a foul committed on Yoshitake, defender Andres Arango just missed wide on a header off a free kick from Campbell in the opening minutes of the second half. In the 61st minute, midfielder Shane Hill delivered a nice through ball to Matt Clare, but his shot went just wide. Yoshitake was given another chance after a pass from forward Luke Mulholland, but his shot missed just over the net in the 62nd minute.
In the final 10 minutes of the match, the Rowdies worked on two-touch possession play. For the match, the Rowdies outshot the Eagles 10-5, including holding FGCU without a shot in the second half.
The Rowdies Rush Preseason Tour continues this Wednesday, March 21st at 7:00 p.m. when Tampa Bay United North hosts a match between the Rowdies and UCF. The Knights reached the second round of last season’s NCAA Tournament before falling in overtime to USF. The exhibition match will be played at the Ed Radice Complex in Citrus Park. The complex is located on 14720 Ed Radice Drive, Tampa, FL 33626. Admission is free.
Rowdies - Keith Savage - 45th minute (assisted by Matt Clare)
GK Jeff Attinella, D Frankie Sanfilippo (Captain), D Ryan Griffin (Eishun Yoshida 45'), D Andres Arango, D Takuya Yamada, M Shane Hill (Dan O'Brien 73'), M Keith Savage, M Stuart Campbell (Thurstan Johnson 81'), F Tsuyoshi Yoshitake (Joey Lopez 73'), F Matt Clare, F Ogi Perucica (Luke Mulholland 45')