The Rowdies Rush 2012 Preseason Tour concluded Saturday night as the Rowdies dropped a 4-3 decision to the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers at the FYSA Auburndale Complex.
"We are obviously disappointed to lose," said head coach Ricky Hill. "We didn't start good enough and we conceded some very poor goals in the game, which we had not done in previous games."
The Rowdies got on the scoreboard first after some nice passing. Forward Mike Ambersley fed forward Tsuyoshi Yoshitake, who finished into the bottom left corner of the net for a 1-0 lead.
The Strikers equalized after they were awarded a penalty kick when forward Andy Herron was taken down in the box. Herron converted the penalty kick to tie the match at 1-1 in the 16th minute.
Ft. Lauderdale took its first lead of the game after midfielder Scott Lorenz deposited a header into the back of the net after a ball from midfielder Leopoldo Morales in the 27th minute. The Strikers took the 2-1 lead into halftime.
After Yoshitake hit the crossbar in the first minute of the second half, the Strikers quickly countered to extend their lead to 3-1. Midfielder Walter Restrepo sent a long through ball toward the end line and forward Aly Hassan beat Attinella to the far post from a sharp angle in the 46th minute.
The Rowdies cut the lead to 3-2, thanks to a beautiful pass from midfielder Keith Savage to Ambersley, who finished off the goal in the 64th minute.
The Strikers regained a two-goal lead in the 72nd minute, when Restrepo found second half substitute Mark Anderson, whose shot was deflected past Attinella for a 4-2 lead.
Ambersley came through again in the 84th minute, cutting the lead to 4-3 after a well-played pass from second half sub Daniel Antoniuk. The Rowdies continued to press in the final minutes for the tying goal, but could not even the score.
"We showed some good spirit to come back and score three goals," said Hill. "It was one of those games that could have gone either way."
"It was a good test for us tonight and we realize we are going to have to perform better if we want to contend for the league this season," said Ambersley. "But I thought we did well to get three goals tonight, especially against a tough Strikers team."
The Rowdies open the 2012 regular season on the road at Puerto Rico next Saturday, April 7 before hosting FC Edmonton in the home opener on Saturday, April 14 at 7:30 p.m. at Al Lang Stadium in downtown St. Petersburg. For ticket information for the 2012 season, call 813-287-1539.
"Preseason is hard work for the players so I know they will be happy that the regular season is upon us," said Hill. "We have had a good five weeks of preseason training and we are going to work on a few things this week to get ready for next Saturday in Puerto Rico."
Rowdies: Tsuyoshi Yoshitake - 11th minute (assisted by Mike Ambersley)
Strikers: Andy Herron - 16th minute (Penalty kick)
Strikers: Scott Lorenz - 27th minute (assisted by Leopoldo Morales)
Strikers: Aly Hassan - 46th minute (assisted by Walter Restrepo)
Rowdies: Mike Ambersley - 64th minute (assisted by Keith Savage)
Strikers: Mark Anderson - 72nd minute (assisted by Walter Restrepo)
Rowdies: Mike Ambersley - 84th minute (assisted by Daniel Antoniuk)
Strikers: Conor Shanosky - 59th minute
Rowdies: Takuya Yamada - 82nd minute
GK Jeff Attinella, D Frankie Sanfilippo (Captain), D Andres Arango, D JP Rodrigues, D Takuya Yamada, M Stuart Campbell, M Shane Hill, M Keith Savage, F Mike Ambersley, F Luke Mulholland (Daniel Antoniuk 65'), F Tsuyoshi Yoshitake (Matt Clare 76')
GK Matt Glaeser, D Toni Stahl (Captain), D Emilio Orozco (Abel Gebor 90'), D Lance Laing, D Jack Stewart, M Scott Lorenz (Yoximar Granado 82'), M Walter Restrepo, M Leopoldo Morales, M Conor Shanosky, F Aly Hassan (Patrick Otte 85'), F Andy Herron (Mark Anderson 70')
Rowdies: 13 shots, 8 fouls, 4 corners, 9 saves
Strikers: 14 shots, 6 fouls, 5 corners, 5 saves