The Rowdies downed USF 1-0 Saturday night at USF Corbett Soccer Stadium as part of the Rowdies Rush 2012 Preseason Tour in front of an energetic crowd of both Rowdies and USF supporters.
Forward Matt Clare gave the Rowdies a quick lead just 35 seconds into the match as he chipped the ball over USF goalkeeper Eric Osswald after a long pass from Daniel Scott.
"It was a great start," said Rowdies head coach Ricky Hill. "Daniel Scott made a very nice through pass and Matt Clare had an excellent finish for the goal."
"Daniel played the ball over the top and it caught them off guard," said Clare. "The keeper came out and I was able to slip it over him."
The Rowdies controlled much of the possession in the opening half. USF got its only shot of the half at the 23rd minute as Ricardo Webb shot from the right side of the six-yard box and forced Rowdies goalkeeper and USF alum Jeff Attinella to make a great foot save.
Clare got his second shot in the 27th minute with a header that went wide left. In the 35th minute forward Tsuyoshi Yoshitake was denied a goal after an excellent save from Osswald. The last opportunity of the half was in the 42nd minute with Clare coming close to scoring after he powered a shot wide left of the net. The Rowdies held a 5-1 shot advantage over the Bulls in the first half.
"We had a lot of chances tonight, but we know we still have work to do to get ready for the regular season," said Clare. "Our momentum is starting to build and our backline is really starting to come together. Now we just have to keep working on finishing our chances and putting the ball in the back of the net."
Attinella kept the Bulls off the scoreboard in the second half with several saves from close range, preserving the fourth straight shutout for the Rowdies. In four matches during the Rowdies Rush Preseason Tour, the team has yet to allow a goal while outscoring its opponents by a combined score of 7-0.
"Jeff was called upon on several occasions to keep them off the scoreboard and he made some excellent saves," said Hill. "We haven't given up a goal yet and that should give us a lot of confidence. But from an overall perspective, I know we can still do a lot better in terms of our team play and how we manage the ball."
The Rowdies Rush Preseason Tour continues this Wednesday, March 28th, as Tampa Bay faces Saint Leo University at 7:00 p.m., presented by United World Soccer. The game will be played at the Countryside Sportsplex in Clearwater. This will be the last collegiate team that the Rowdies will face in the 2012 Rowdies Rush Preseason Tour. The address of the complex is 3060 McMullen Booth Rd., Clearwater, FL 33761. Admission is $2 per person for adults and children.
Rowdies: Matt Clare - 1st minute (assisted by Daniel Scott)
GK Jeff Attinella, D Frankie Sanfilippo (Captain) (JP Rodrigues 11'), D Daniel Scott, D Andres Arango, D Draymond Washington, M Stuart Campbell, M Shane Hill (Dan O'Brien 59'), M Takuya Yamada, F Matt Clare, F Luke Mulholland, F Tsuyoshi Yoshitake (Mike Ambersley 59')
GK Eric Osswald, D Ashani Fairclough (Captain), D Ricardo Webb, D Ben Sweat, D Brenton Griffiths, M Kyle Nicholls, M Stiven Salinas, M Luca Baldin, F Kevin Olali, F Isaiah Ferguson, F Wesley Charpie
Rowdies: Luke Mulholland - 79th minute
Rowdies: 9 shots, 3 save, 11 fouls, 4 corners, 1 offsides
USF: 6 shots, 4 saves, 10 fouls, 3 corners, 3 offsides