The Tampa Bay Rowdies lost 4-0 in their Disney Pro Soccer Classic debut against D.C. United on Saturday night. Tampa Bay held D.C. United scoreless through 55 minutes, until the Black-and-Red forward Lionard Pajoy scored two quick goals in the 55th and 58th minute. D.C. United defender Taylor Kemp would go on to score the other two goals of the night in the 65th and 73rd minute, sentencing the final 4-0 score.
"Of course tonight's result was not what we were looking for," said Rowdies head coach Ricky Hill. "We do understand that it is a preseason match, but i know that none of the guys out there wanted to lose tonight."
The Rowdies went head-to-head against D.C. United in the first half, with goalkeeper Andrew Fontein having a stellar performance. Tampa Bay began the match holding possession of the ball, with D.C. United on the counter attack awaiting their opportunity to score. This tactic worked well for the MLS side, creating some great chances down both flanks.
Tampa Bay’s trialist Jemal Johnson had the first chance of the match in the 7th minute with a shot from 20 yards out that curled over the bar. D.C. United midfielder Dwayne De Rosario had a clear opportunity in the 10th minute, but Fontein, who would be vital in several moments of the first half, cut off his low cross.
Both teams shared possession of the ball for most of the first half, until the 37th minute, when Pajoy had a great run down the left flank. The forward powered a shot on goal, but Fontein stepped up once again making a spectacular save to his left.
"I felt as if the first half was evenly matched," commented Hill. "Both teams looked to implement their style of play, but we didn't find a way to create any dangerous shots on goal. Andrew was great for us at goalkeeper tonight, saving several chances during the match. If it wasn't for him the gap might have been larger."
The Rowdies looked to take control in the first minutes of the second half, but forward Pajoy halted Tampa Bay’s momentum with a goal in the 55th minute. Pajoy headed the ball into the bottom right corner of the net after a great cross by defender Chris Korb. Three minutes later Pajoy scored his second of the night, chipping the ball over Fontein as he was coming out to close the angle. Canadian international Kyle Porter picked up the assist, feeding Pajoy a through ball behind the Rowdies defense.
The Black-and-Red took control of the match after those two quick goals, adding a third one in the 65th minute from defender Kemp. The defender went on to make it 4-0 in the 73rd minute after receiving a great assist from midfielder/forward Ryan Richter.
"It was good to come out and play such a caliber opponent like D.C. United," stated Hill. "We did lose the match, but it is important that none of our players picked up any injuries. This week we will work hard at training to make sure we don't commit the same errors in the upcoming matches."
The Rowdies looked to maintain their passing style approach, creating several dangerous crosses in the last 15 minutes of play. D.C. United was able to contain Tampa Bays attack with a solid defensive performance.
D.C. United - Lionard Pajoy assisted by Chris Korb and Dwayne De Rosario - 55th minute
D.C. United - Lionard Pajoy assisted by Kyle Porter - 58th minute
D.C. United - Taylor Kemp assisted by Michael Seaton and Ryan Richter - 65th minute
D.C. United - Taylor Kemp assisted by Ryan Richter - 73th minute
GK Fontein; D Blackwood, D Scott, D Needham, D Arango; M Hill, M Savage, M Mulholland, M Cox; F Del Do, F Johnson
GK Hamid; D Korb, D Jakovic, D McDonald, D Woolard; M DeLeon, M Kitchen, M Nane, M Porter; F De Rosario, F Pajoy
The reigning NASL Champions continue their participation in the 2013 Disney Pro Soccer Classic on Wednesday, February 13 at 3:00 p.m. when they face the Montreal Impact.