After flying home on Monday from their two-game road trip, the Rowdies practiced for two hours at Shimberg Fields Tuesday morning with their minds focused on Saturday’s match at home against Puerto Rico.
Tampa Bay dropped the first game of the road trip, 2-1, at Minnesota on Thursday night, but stunned the home crowd by taking all three points at FC Edmonton on Sunday afternoon. Despite playing a man down for more than 56 minutes, Rowdies midfielder Luke Mulholland knocked home the game-winner in the 89th minute to give the Rowdies the 1-0 win at Clarke Stadium.
Rowdies head coach Ricky Hill said it was a great finish to the long road trip.
“We just returned this morning for the first day back in training after being on the road since last Wednesday to Minnesota and Edmonton,” said Hill. “It is a great feeling for the players and the whole team to get the three points at Edmonton under the circumstances we were put under for almost an hour. It was a great reward for their efforts that we came back to Tampa having something from the two-game road trip.”
Tampa Bay now has victories in five of its last six matches and has moved into third place in the NASL standings, just one point behind second-place Puerto Rico and two points behind league leaders San Antonio.
“If there is one thing we have improved in recent times, it is better understanding and execution at the times that matter,” said Hill. “I believe that if we take care of each game in its own merit and if we put our best foot forward on Saturday, we will come out with a positive result.”
The Rowdies return to Al Lang Stadium in downtown St. Petersburg for two consecutive home games, beginning this Saturday, July 21 against the Puerto Rico Islanders. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. The first 500 fans will receive an official Rowdies tote bag, courtesy of Emetrol. For tickets, call 813-287-1539 or click here.