ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (June 23, 2012) -- The Rowdies scored twice in the final minutes of the match for a dramatic 3-2 victory over first place San Antonio on a rainy Saturday night at Al Lang Stadium, snapping the Scorpions' nine-game unbeaten streak. Forward Tsuyoshi Yoshitake completed the comeback in second half injury time, scoring his second goal of the game after a pass from forward Daniel Antoniuk.
“The character of this team has shown all season, not just tonight,” said Rowdies head coach Ricky Hill. “And I hope that tonight will give them the bit of confidence they may need for the remainder of the season. The last time I experienced something like this I was on the field playing in the Cup final for Luton Town against Arsenal at Wembley. We were 2-1 down and going nowhere at the time and we managed to score the third one in injury time, and we lifted the Cup, so it’s the same kind of feeling, same kind of adrenaline rush when you get that break and I think the players earned that tonight.”
Tampa Bay handed San Antonio its first loss on the road this season in six matches, and the Rowdies scored three times against a Scorpions squad that had posted three consecutive shutouts entering the match. In fact, current San Antonio goalkeeper and former Tampa Bay netminder Daryl Sattler had allowed just three goals the entire season in more than 700 minutes of action heading into the match.
San Antonio struck first when midfielder Jonathan Greenfield found the back of the net from a tough angle inside the box in the 31st minute. It was Greenfield's second goal of the year and was assisted by forward Esteban Bayona, who tallied his team-high fourth assist of the season.
But the Rowdies did not take long to respond as forward Tsuyoshi Yoshitake connected on a beautiful header after a pass from midfielder Keith Savage in the 39th minute. It marked the second straight game with a goal for Yoshitake and Savage was credited with his team-leading third assist.
Both teams had other chances in the first half. Rowdies midfielder Luke Mulholland had a free kick in the 30th minute three yards outside the box on the left hand side that favored his right foot only to have his shot blocked by San Antonio. San Antonio's Bayona was released off a nice ball over the top that set him free to have a good shot on goal that was saved by Rowdies goalkeeper Jeff Attinella.
Following the halftime break, the Scorpions regained the lead less than 10 minutes into the second half. Bayona knocked home his second goal of the season in the 53rd minute after an assist from midfielder Hans Denissen.
The Rowdies pushed for the tying goal and it finally came following a foul on San Antonio. Mulholland evened the match with a perfectly placed free kick in the left corner of the net in the 88th minute past Sattler.
“I knew as soon as I struck it that it was on frame, but it was just up to the goalkeeper as to whether he could get a hand on it,” said Mullholland. “And luckily for us he didn’t and I was overjoyed for it to hit the back of the net.”
Moments later, Yoshitake gave the Rowdies their second straight comeback victory after last week's win at Minnesota.
Attinella made nine saves in the match, including several big stops to keep Tampa Bay in the game in the second half.
Tampa Bay continues the homestand next Saturday, June 30 when it hosts the defending NASL champion Minnesota Stars FC at 7:30 p.m. at Al Lang Stadium. For tickets, call 813-287-1539 or click here to purchase your seats now.
San Antonio: Jonathan Greenfield - 31st minute (assisted by Esteban Bayona)
Tampa Bay: Tsuyoshi Yoshitake - 39th minute (assisted by Keith Savage)
San Antonio: Esteban Bayona - 53rd minute (assisted by Hans Denissen)
Tampa Bay: Luke Mulholland - 88th minute
Tampa Bay: Tsuyoshi Yoshitake - 90+ minute (assisted by Daniel Antoniuk)
San Antonio: Aaron Pitchkolan - 59th minute
San Antonio: Kevin Harmse - 71st minute
Tampa Bay: 16 shots, 9 saves, 3 corners, 8 fouls, 4 offsides
San Antonio: 15 shots, 4 saves, 4 corners, 12 fouls, 1 offsides
Tampa Bay Rowdies
GK Jeff Attinella, D Frankie Sanfilippo (Captain), D JP Rodrigues, D Takuya Yamada, D Daniel Scott, M Stuart Campbell (Matt Clare 82'), M Keith Savage, M Luke Mulholland, F Fafa Picault (Daniel Antoniuk 71'), F Mike Ambersley, F Tsuyoshi Yoshitake
San Antonio Scorpions
GK Daryl Sattler, D Blake Wagner, D Greg Janicki, D Ryan Cochrane (Fabian Kling 79'), D Wes Knight, M Jonathan Greenfield, M Kevin Harmse (Captain), M Aaron Pitchkolan, M Hans Denissen, F Pablo Campos, F Esteban Bayona (Josue Soto 76')