Photo: Steve Kingsman/Freestyle Photography/Ottawa Fury FC
OTTAWA, Ontario, Canada (May 7, 2017) — The Tampa Bay Rowdies are coming home with a point after a 0-0 draw on the road against the Ottawa Fury FC on Saturday afternoon. The Rowdies have now drawn each of their last two road matches.
Here’s Three Things from Saturday’s contest…
1. Georgi ties Yama
Georgi Hristov made his 120th official appearance for the Rowdies on Saturday, equaling the Modern Era club record held by Takuya Yamada.
Hristov, who joined the club in 2013, is also the Rowdies’ Modern Era scoring leader with 41 goals.
“I’m very happy and humbled to have played for the Rowdies so many times,” Hristov said. “I’m honored to be playing for the club for this long. It’s a good achievement for me and I’m looking forward to another 120.”
Hristov can break the record next weekend against Louisville City.
Rowdies midfielder Keith Savage entered the season with 119 appearances and will tie Yamada in his next match.
2. A goal disallowed controversially
Rowdies midfielder Justin Chavez gave Tampa Bay a perfect start to the match, scoring in just the fourth minute of play on a Michael Nanchoff corner kick. Thirty seconds into the Rowdies’ celebration, though, the center referee and one of his assistants had a conference and disallowed the goal.
The best guess as to why the goal was disallowed is because Leo Fernandes may have interfered with the play from an offside position. Chavez’s header was aimed directly at Fernandes just in front of the goal line, who ducked out of the way of the ball, allowing it to pass him and go into the net.
There’s a case to be made that Ottawa goalkeeper Callum Irving was nowhere near the ball to make the save, so Fernandes’ presence, even if it did constitute an offside position, was irrelevant to the result of the play.
“I didn’t really think Leo made any great attempt to play the ball, but the referee gave his decision,” Rowdies Head Coach Stuart Campbell said.
3. Keeping it clean
Saturday’s result saw the Rowdies keep their fifth clean sheet in eight matches to start the season, easily setting a new Modern Era club record. The previous record for fewest league matches needed to keep five clean sheets was 14 in the 2013 season.
In all of 2014, Tampa Bay kept just two clean sheets, so 2017’s pace is truly eye-popping.
Goalkeeper Matt Pickens, who missed the first three matches of the season, kept his second clean sheet of the year. Akira Fitzgerald kept the other three.