Rowdies Fall To Carolina RailHawks 2-0
CARY, N.C. — The Tampa Bay Rowdies had chances to score against the Carolina RailHawks, but couldn’t quite manage to finish as they were beaten 2-0 on Saturday night at WakeMed Soccer Park in front of a record crowd on 7,856.
"It’s another game that’s lost and I’m very disappointed in that," Rowdies coach Ricky Hill said. "We’ve already lost three games this season and that’s way too many in my estimation."
Carolina took an early 1-0 lead, courtesy of forward Mike Grella in the 18th minute.
Grella’s goal, a clever finish after an inch-perfect lob from Jun Marques Davidson, gave the RailHawks a lead, but the Rowdies arguably had the better chances of the half as they fought to negate their deficit.
"On the balance of play, I’m not too displeased with how we performed over the course of 90 minutes," Hill said. "Our issues are in both boxes. We have to be a little bit better defensively. The first goal was a difficult one because it came out of the blue. It was a turnover from our throw-in and we find ourselves 1-nil down. It was against the run of play at that stage."
Tampa Bay’s barrage started in the 25th minute when midfielder Evans Frimpong poked a cross toward goal and clanked it off Carolina goalkeeper Akira Fitzgerald’s right-hand post and out of danger.
In the 30th minute, forward Casey Townsend had a shot on goal. Five minutes later, Townsend found himself one-on-one with Fitzgerald in the box, but was unable to beat the reigning NASL Player of the Week and equalize for the Rowdies.
Anthony Wallace tested Fitzgerald with a dangerous free kick in the 44th minute, but Carolina retained its 1-0 lead going into the break.
Carolina started the second half on the front foot, with Nazmi Albadawi ripping a shot off the crossbar a few minutes into the half.
Rowdies goalkeeper Cody Mizell came up big in the 54th minute, saving a penalty kick taken by Grella to keep the deficit 1-0.
Forwards Lucky Mkosana and Brian Shriver were inserted in to the match in the 63rd minute, but the Rowdies were unable to find an equalizer. It was Shriver’s first league appearance since spraining his ankle in San Antonio on May 3.
RailHawks winger Tiyi Shipalane doubled Carolina’s lead in the 72nd minute, finishing well after a pass from Cesar Elizondo to put his team up 2-0.
"When the penalty was given and Cody saved it, I thought that would have given us a lift, but when we defend in the manner that we did on the second goal, then we’re asking a lot to score two goals in 15 minutes," Hill said. "In the second half, we tried to forewarn our defenders to be aware of the fact that they make diagonal runs from out to in and not to try and play offside, but to instead track your runner. We didn’t heed that warning."
The Rowdies continued to put pressure on the RailHawks defense, including an 81st minute shot by Blake Wagner that was blocked before reaching goal, but were unable to find a goal.
Up next, the Rowdies return home on June 7 to play their Spring season finale against league-leading Minnesota United FC in the 2014. Fans in attendance will receive oversized yellow and red cards, courtesy of Florida Print Solutions, to help officiate the match. Tickets for that match are available by calling (877) ROWDIES or by clicking here.
Carolina: Mike Grella - 18th minute (Assisted by Jun Marques Davidson)
Carolina: Tiyi Shipalane - 72nd minute (Assisted by Cesar Elizondo)
Tampa Bay: Kyle Clinton - 48th minute
Tampa Bay: Willie Hunt - 54th minute
Carolina: Mike Grella - 67th minute
Carolina: Daniel Scott - 83rd minute
Tampa Bay XI (4-4-2): GK Cody Mizell; D Frankie Sanfilippo (C), D Kyle Clinton, D Willie Hunt, D Anthony Wallace; M Evans Frimpong (Lucky Mkosana 63'), M Shane Hill, M Darel Russell, M Blake Wagner; F Georgi Hristov, F Casey Townsend (Brian Shriver 63')
Carolina XI (4-4-2): GK Akira Fitzgerald; D Kupono Low, D Daniel Scott, D Austen King, D Connor Tobin; M Jun Marques Davidson (C), M Cesar Elizondo (Daniel Jackson 78') , M Nazmi Albadawi, M Tiyi Shipalane; F Mike Grella (Braian Cyrino 89'), F Zack Schilawski
Following this match, the Rowdies return home on June 7 to play their Spring season finale against league-leading Minnesota United FC in the 2014. Fans in attendance will receive oversized yellow and red cards, courtesy of Florida Print Solutions, to help officiate the match. Tickets for that match are available by calling (877) ROWDIES or by clicking here .