CARY, N.C. (August 4, 2012) -- The Rowdies scored twice in the final minutes to rally from a 3-1 deficit and earn a 3-3 tie against the Carolina RailHawks Saturday night at WakeMed Soccer Park.
Forward Luke Mulholland's blast in the 86th minute cut Carolina's lead to 3-2 before defender Takuya Yamada notched the tying goal in second half stoppage time to complete Tampa Bay's comeback. Tampa Bay remains unbeaten in its last four matches and now has seven wins, one tie and just one loss over its last nine games.
With Yamada's late goal, the Rowdies have now scored the game-winning or game-tying goal in the 70th minute or later in six matches this season. It also marked the fourth time in the last nine matches that Tampa Bay rallied from a deficit to earn points.
"I am delighted that we were able to salvage a point here tonight," said Rowdies head coach Ricky Hill. "The comeback was tremendous and the players showed a lot of resolve, as they have all season."
In the 13th minute, forward Matt Clare took back-to-back shots, with the first being blocked by a defender before the second one is saved by RailHawks goalkeeper Ray Burse. Clare fired another shot on goal just a minute later but Burse was there for another save.
The Rowdies took a 1-0 lead a few minutes later after Clare fed Mulholland with a nice pass down the right side. Mulholland sent a perfect cross into the box to the feet of midfielder Shane Hill, who one-timed it into the bottom right corner of the net for his first goal of the year.
Tampa Bay continued to put pressure on Carolina in the 30th minute. Midfielder Keith Savage forced a diving save by Ray Burse and Shane Hill's header on the rebound was deflected for a corner kick.
Carolina evened the match just before halftime as midfielder Nick Zimmerman headed home a cross from defender Kupono Low. The goal was the first allowed by the Rowdies and goalkeeper Jeff Attinella since the first half on July 12 at Minnesota, a streak of more than 358 minutes.
"Overall we have to be happy to earn a point, but our form late in the first half and the beginning of the second half was not up to par," said Hill.
Carolina took control of the match early in the second half. Zimmerman scored his second goal of the match in the 49th minute after a pass from forward Jason Garey. Garey gave the RailHawks a 3-1 advantage moments later with a goal in the 51st minute.
Mulholland gave Tampa Bay life in the 86th minute when he buried a right-footed shot in the far left corner of the net for his fourth goal of the year. Defender JP Rodrigues started the play with a long pass across the field to forward Mike Ambersley, who headed a pass to Mulholland. With the assist, Ambersley now has at least one point in seven consecutive matches and leads the team with eight assists in 2012. During the streak, Ambersley has three goals and six assists in the last seven games.
"We only needed one goal to change the whole complexion of the game, and Luke's goal was well-created and well-executed," said Hill. "It was an excellent team goal and that gave us a major lift."
In the 90th minute, Carolina was called for a hand ball inside the box and Ambersley was called upon to take the penalty kick. But his shot was saved by Burse to preserve Carolina's 3-2 lead for the moment. But just minutes later, Yamada completed another Rowdies comeback with a goal in second half injury time off a corner kick from Mulholland.
"We have been in this position before and we were able to fight through it," said Rowdies defender Daniel Scott. "It just shows the resiliency of this team and how we have come together this season."
Tampa Bay returns home to face Atlanta on Saturday, August 11 at 7:30 p.m. at Al Lang Stadium in downtown St. Petersburg. The third annual Rowdies Buick/GMC Celebrity game will take place at halftime. For tickets, call 813-287-1539 or click here.
Tampa Bay: Shane Hill - 17th minute (assisted by Luke Mulholland)
Carolina: Nick Zimmerman - 43rd minute (assisted by Kupono Low)
Carolina: Nick Zimmerman - 49th minute (assisted by Jason Garey)
Carolina: Jason Garey - 52nd minute
Tampa Bay: Luke Mulholland - 86th minute (assisted by Mike Ambersley)
Tampa Bay: Takuya Yamada - 90+minute (assisted by Luke Mulholland)
Carolina: Austin Da Luz - 21st minute
Carolina: Sam Stockley - 59th minute
Tampa Bay Rowdies
GK Jeff Attinella, D Frankie Sanfilippo (Captain), D JP Rodrigues, D Daniel Scott, D Takuya Yamada, M Stuart Campbell, M Shane Hill (Daniel Antoniuk 45'), M Keith Savage (Fafa Picault 71'), F Mike Ambersley, F Matt Clare (Evans Frimpong 71'), F Luke Mulholland
GK Ray Burse, D Cory Elenio, D Sam Stockley, D Gale Agbossoumonde, D Kupono Low, M Amir Lowery, M Floyd Franks, M Austin Da Luz (Breiner Ortiz 73'), M Nick Zimmerman, M Mike Palacio (Ty Shipalane 88') , F Jason Garey (Zack Schilawski 73')
Tampa Bay: 19 shots (12 on goal), 1 save, 7 fouls, 7 corners, 3 offsides
Carolina: 7 shots (4 on goal), 9 saves, 13 fouls, 2 corners, 3 offsides