The Tampa Bay Rowdies earned their first win of the 2013 season, defeating USF 1-0 on Saturday night at Corbett Soccer Stadium in Tampa, Fla. The NASL side scored the winning goal in 20th minute after a great individual run by forward Jemal Johnson.
The NASL Champions got off on the right foot, scoring in their first clear chance of the match. In the 20th minute, Johnson picked up a pass outside the box and found himself with a clear shot on USF’s goal. USF’s goalkeeper Matthew O’Neal was able to get a touch on the ball but it wasn’t enough to avoid the Rowdies first goal.
Tampa Bay's momentum continued after the opening goal, as forward Georgi Hristov eluded several defenders reaching the top of the 6-yard box in the 23rd minute. O’Neal once again came up with the save, denying the Rowdies their second goal.
USF’s best chance of the first half came in the 28th minute off a shot from forward Lindo Mfeka. The USF forward curled his shot from 25 yards outs, but Rowdies goalkeeper Andrew Fontein was well positioned to send the ball out for a corner kick.
Tampa Bay had the last chance of the half, when forward Amani Walker deflected a head on goal. Once again, O’Neal came up big for the Bulls keeping the score 1-0 at the half.
The reigning NASL Champions continued to push for the second goal of the night, creating several chances in the second half. Johnson looked to score his second of the night in the 59th minute entering the box from the right flank, but his shot went inches wide of the left post. In an almost identical play, the Rowdies were close from getting the insurance goal, but Johnson’s shot in the 73rd minute went wide left once again.
The last opportunity of the night came in the 77th minute, as Johnson curled a cross into the 6-yard box from the right flank. Substitute George Tor was at the end of the cross, but his header smashed off the crossbar, keeping the score 1-0.
The Rowdies defense was able to hold the one-goal lead, denying any scoring chances in the final minutes. With the 1-0 score, the Rowdies picked up their first win of the 2013 Preseason.
GK Andrew Fontein; D Frankie Sanfilippo, D Daniel Scott, D Jay Needham, D Raphael Cox; M Jemal Johnson, M Evans Frimpong, M Stuart Campbell, M J.C. Mack; F Amani Walker, F Georgi Hristov
GK Matthew O'Neal; D Wesley Charpie, Tavares Thompson, Ricardo Webb, Ben Sweat; M Stiven Salinas, Lucas Baldin, Samuel Hosseini, Marcus Epps; F Edwin Moalosi, Lindo Mfeka