Rowdies Defeat Florida Gulf Coast 3-1
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Midfielder Darel Russell wore the captain’s armband and scored a pair of first-half goals as the Tampa Bay Rowdies continued their preseason with a 3-1 win over Florida Gulf Coast University at Walter Fuller Park.
“It was a very satisfying workout for the players,” coach Ricky Hill said. “Obviously we’re still trying to get proper cohesion as a group, but I thought the players really equipped themselves very well in respect to everyone that was available to play tonight managed to get at least 30 minutes.”
With club captain Frankie Sanfilippo on the bench to start the match, Russell was given the captain’s armband and made the most of it.
He scored his first goal of the preseason in the 18th minute off a pass from Christophe Lallet on the right side of midfield. He volleyed his second goal home six minutes later after a pinpoint cross from Casey Townsend was headed down by Brian Shriver into his path.
“Two goals for anyone at any time in any game is a great achievement,” Hill said. “He’s a midfielder that can do a bit of everything. He can hold if we need him to and he can join in the attack and finish, which is an added bonus for us. I’m delighted for him to get two goals for us tonight. Our normal skipper owes me two goals now.”
After Florida Gulf Coast’s Isaiah Madrid scored in the 39th minute, Brian Shriver extended the Rowdies’ lead with his first goal of the preseason in the 80th.
In their three preseason matches, the Rowdies have combined for eight total goals from seven goalscorers.
“Offensively, we’ve got a lot of weapons,” Hill said. “We’ve got a lot of players who are very creative offensively. It’s not just two strikers and three midfielders. I think every one of the forward eight or nine players are quite adept at being creative and can score goals. That’s a great thing to have.”
Townsend, signed this week, made his Rowdies debut and played 64 minutes. He started on the right side of midfield and played some time on the left side as well.
“He’s got good quality,” Hill said of Townsend. “You can see he’s a hard-working kid. He showed some nice touches tonight. He’s generally a striker, but he said he can play on the outside as well so we had a look at him there tonight. In possession, he’s very calm. He simplifies his game. I’m very happy with that initial look at him.”
Tampa Bay: Darel Russell - 18th minute (Assisted by Christophe Lallet)
Tampa Bay: Darel Russell - 24th minute (Assisted by Brian Shriver)
FGCU: Isaiah Madrid - 39th minute (Assisted by Steven Oliveri)
Tampa Bay: Brian Shriver - 80th minute (Assisted by Keith Savage)
Rowdies: GK Ryan Thompson (Cody Mizell 64'); D Jordan Gafa, D J.P. Rodrigues (Frankie Sanfilippo 64'), D Willie Hunt (Trialist) (Takuya Yamada 64'), D Blake Wagner (Tanasheh Abrahams 64'); M Casey Townsend, M Darel Russell (Captain) (Anthony Wallace 64'), M Kyle Clinton (Keith Savage 64'), M Christophe Lallet (Evans Frimpong 64'); F Brian Shriver, F Georgi Hristov (Devin Del Do 64')
Florida Gulf Coast: GK Nathan Ingham; D Skylar Wilks, D Aaron Guillen, D Rodrigo Saravia, D Will Suedois; M Santiago Ortiz, M Steven Oliveri, M David Robledo; F Isaiah Madrid, F Derek Gebhard, F Santiago Echeverri
The Rowdies will continue their 2014 Preseason next weekend on Saturday, March 22, when they take on NPSL's Tampa Marauders at Naimoli Stadium in downtown Tampa, Fla. The match will kick off at 7 p.m. ET.
With the 2014 Season just around the corner, fans can save money by purchasing single game tickets in advance by contacting the Rowdies’ front office at 877.ROWDIES (877.769.3437) or by clicking here .