Some news and notes about the Rowdies after the first five games of the 2012 season:
With their current four-game unbeaten streak, the Rowdies have already equaled their longest streak from a year ago. On their way to a third-place finish in the regular season standings and its first-ever playoff appearance, Tampa Bay had two different unbeaten streaks of four matches last season, from June 29 through July 17 and again from July 27 through August 13. The club record is seven, which was accomplished in 2010 from May 1-29.
Unbeaten streaks, Part Two
Dating back to last season, the Rowdies are undefeated in their last five regular season home matches at Al Lang Stadium, a new club record. The previous mark was four games, set from June 12 through August 13 in 2011.
Home Sweet Home
The Rowdies have found a home at Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg, arguably the toughest place to play in the league. Tampa Bay is unbeaten at home this season and has posted an impressive 9-4-4 (W-T-L) regular season record in the last two years under head coach Ricky Hill at Al Lang. In fact, the Rowdies have lost just once in their last nine matches (6-2-1 mark) at home in the regular season, dating back to 2011.
The Rowdies have allowed just four goals in the first five games, tied with Puerto Rico for the fewest in the NASL. Starting keeper Jeff Attinella, the NASL Defensive Player of the Week, has allowed one goal or less in all five matches, including a shutout in the home opener against FC Edmonton on April 14. Attinella is tied for first in the league with Puerto Rico’s Richard Martin with a 0.80 goals against average (min. 100 minutes played).
First Half Shutouts
Tampa Bay is off to a great start and a few trends that have continued from last year have certainly helped. The Rowdies have yet to allow a first half goal in 2012 and have also scored first in three of their last four matches. In 2011, Tampa Bay scored the first goal in 16 of its 28 matches, and earned points in all but two of those games. Last season, the team also scored at least one first-half goal in 11 of its last 15 regular season contests and posted an 8-3-4 (W-T-L) record over that span.
The Rowdies returned to practice on both Monday and Tuesday mornings at Shimberg Fields as preparations begin for this Saturday’s road match at San Antonio. The Rowdies play a home-and-home with San Antonio, beginning with a road contest at the Scorpions this Saturday, May 5, followed by a home match against San Antonio at Al Lang Stadium on Saturday, May 12. For ticket information, call 813-287-1539.
Head Coach Ricky Hill
On the last two days of practice
“It’s the first two days back after Saturday’s victory against the Strikers and the fellows are in good position physically. All in all we were all able to come out and have a few good practices.
On the season so far
“We are still developing as a team certainly this season, but we’ve gone four games without being beaten. It was great on Saturday that we could turn those chances into goal as we scored more than once for the first time within a game, where we managed to score three goals and it was fantastic. We created more chances which we could have turned into even more goals, which was very pleasing. We are looking to maintain what we have been doing as a group and keep the confidence high. We still want to develop further our cohesion as a team to get even better and we are still working on our defensive unit.”
Forward Mike Ambersley
“I am pretty happy; it’s good to be back on the pitch. It’s good to get back after a good win on Saturday. We come out every game and we play with confidence. We look to get possession of the ball and put the other team on their heels. We’ve done that pretty much every game and now it is just a matter of continuing that in the second half. We just need to improve a little bit in the second half and we are creating chances; we just need to start scoring them.”