Rowdies Draw 1-1 Against Ottawa Fury FC
OTTAWA, Canada—The Tampa Bay Rowdies’ first trip to Ottawa was marked by an exciting first half against the Ottawa Fury.
Georgi Hristov put the Rowdies ahead with a penalty kick in the 27th minute, but 10 minutes later, Tony Donatelli equalized for the Fury. The second half didn’t live up to its predecessor, with neither side able to net a winner and the match ending 1-1.
On their two-match road trip, the Rowdies picked up four out of a possible six points.
“The guys gave everything they had and competed very well,” Rowdies coach Ricky Hill said. “We defended valiantly when they had dangerous set pieces flashing across our box. Overall though, we’re disappointed to not take all three points. We know we have a lot of work to do.”
Before Hristov had a chance to put the Rowdies ahead, Tampa Bay goalkeeper Matt Pickens provided the highlight of the match, saving a Fury penalty kick in the 25th minute. Defender Frankie Sanfilippo made a sliding clearance, but the ball caromed off his arm as he slid out of the 18-yard box, with the referee signaling the handball occurred before he crossed the line.
Ottawa forward Oliver shot to Pickens’ left, but the 6-foot-3 Pickens laid out at full extension to push it past the post.
“Matt came up big once again to save a penalty and keep us in the game,” Hill said.
On the other end, Lucky Mkosana flicked a ball on in the box, but was prevented from chasing after it, earning a penalty for the Rowdies. Hristov shot low and to the right for his second goal of the season.
The Fury leveled the match in the 37th minute at the end of a series of three corner kicks, with Donatelli present to slide the ball home from the back post.
The second half was much slower, though each team did have a decent opportunity or two to steal all three points.
In the 52nd minute, Mkosana chested a ball down to Russell on the edge of the box, but the midfielder’s shot was blocked before reaching the goalkeeper and sent out for a corner.
In the 69th minute, Ottawa caught Pickens between two minds on a deep delivery into the box, which found a Fury attacked near the far post. No shot came as the Ottawa player got his legs tangled.
With 10 minutes to play, Hristov nearly tapped a ball into the net from three yards out, but a last second effort by Gorrick prevented the goal.
Pickens made another excellent save in the 84th minute as Ottawa defender XXX Soria played a one-two with a teammate and set himself up on a one-on-one with the goalkeeper. Pickens closed the gap and made the save to preserve the 1-1 scoreline.
“Our execution in the final third can improve and it will improve,” Hill said. “Now we have to make sure we get all three points Saturday.”
The Rowdies now return home for a pair of blockbuster rivalry matches in back-to-back weeks as the New York Cosmos come calling on May 17 and the Fort Lauderdale Strikers visit Al Lang Stadium on May 24. Following the festivities on the field, a fireworks show will follow both matches. A “two-for-one” package will get you into each match for only $20 by calling (877) ROWDIES and mentioning “May Madness” or by clicking here.
Tampa Bay: Georgi Hristov - 27th minute (Penalty Kick)
Ottawa: Anthony Donatelli - 37th minute (Assisted by Richie Ryan)
Ottawa: Omar Jarun - 26th minute
Ottawa: Drew Beckie - 26th minute
Tampa Bay (4-4-2): GK Matt Pickens; D Willie Hunt, Frankie Sanfilippo (Captain), D Takuya Yamada (Jay Needham 94'), D Anthony Wallace; M Evans Frimpong (Christophe Lallet 65'), M Shane Hill, M Darel Russell, M Keith Savage; F Georgi Hristov, F Lucky Mkosana (Casey Townsend 65')
Ottawa Fury FC
Ottawa (4-3-3): GK Devala Gorrick; D Ramon Soria, D Mason Trafford, D Omar Jarun, D Drew Beckie; M Sinisa Ubiparipovic (Mauro Eustaquio 90'), M Richie Ryan (Captain), M Anthony Donatelli; F Oliver (Philippe Davies 68'), F Vinicius Dantas (Hamza Elias 83'), F Carl Haworth