The Tampa Bay Rowdies advanced to the 2012 NASL Finals after playing to a 3-3 draw in the second leg of the semifinals against Carolina on Saturday night at Al Lang Stadium in Downtown St. Petersburg. With the 2-1 victory in the first leg on October 6th and the 3-3 draw tonight, the Rowdies defeated Carolina 5-4 on aggregate, advancing to the finals. Tampa Bay extended their undefeated streak to eight games, and are now unbeaten in their last 11 home games.
The RailHawks got in front early, with midfielder Floyd Franks scoring in the 14th minute after a feed from forward Matt Luzunaris. In the 18th minute, Carolina made it 2-0 after midfielder Ty Shipalane took advantage of a Rowdies defensive mistake and put the ball past Rowdies goalkeeper Jeff Attinella.
As the first half came to a close, forward Mike Ambersley was brought down in the box in the 39th minute. Midfielder Shane Hill took care of the penalty kick and decreased Carolina’s lead making it 2-1.
Forward Mike Ambersley scored in the 65th minute after Mulholland delivered a ball to him, leaving him wide open in front of Carolina’s goalkeeper Ray Burse. His powerful strike made the game 2-2, putting the Rowdies up 4-3 on aggregate.
In the 84th minute, Mulholland put the Rowdies up 3-2, making the aggregate score 5-3. He first struck the crossbar, but he was able to pick up his own rebound and score the go-ahead goal.
Carolina’s midfielder Nick Zimmerman scored the equalizing goal off a penalty kick in the 87th minute.
With the Stars win at Heroes Park in San Antonio on Sunday, Tampa Bay will travel to Minnesota to play the first leg of the NASL Soccer Bowl on Saturday, October 20. The match will be played at the National Sport Center in Blaine, Minnesota at 8:30 p.m. ET.
The Rowdies will host Minnesota in the second leg of the NASL Soccer Bowl on Saturday, October 27 at Al Lang Stadium at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available starting at $12. For more information and for discounted tickets, call our front office at 813.287.1539 or log on to RowdiesSoccer.com!