ROCHESTER, N.Y. (May 24, 2017) — The Tampa Bay Rowdies’s four-match unbeaten run in the USL ended on Wednesday night with a 1-0 road loss to the Rochester Rhinos at Capelli Sport Stadium.
The Rhinos’ Wal Fall scored the only goal of the match in the 27th minute, putting in his own rebound after Tampa Bay goalkeeper Matt Pickens made the initial save.
“We’ve been on a real good run of late and it’s disappointing it’s come to an end tonight,” Rowdies Head Coach Stuart Campbell said. “I think the way we started the game cost us. We started the game too slow. Their first shot on goal they managed to get a goal ahead and it was hard for us to claw back.”
Tampa Bay conceded the first goal of the match last Friday to Toronto FC II, but turned the result around in the second half to win 3-1. Sadly, Wednesday’s match wouldn’t follow the same script.
“I think it was a game of very few chances,” Campbell said. “Neither team created that many clear-cut chances. Off the top of my head, I can think of only one clear-cut chance for us, when (Martin Paterson) couldn’t direct a header in the goal.”
For the Rowdies (6-2-3 (W-T-L), 20 points), it was their fourth game in 12 days. In comparison, the Rhinos (3-3-1, 12 points) were playing just their seventh game all year. Though the matches are piling up for the Rowdies with few rest days available, fatigue didn’t get the best of Tampa Bay on Wednesday night.
“We’re on a long stretch of games, but I don’t think that played a factor tonight,” Campbell said. “I think the way we moved the ball, we looked really fit and really strong, even in the final minutes when we pressed and pressed for the equalizer.”
Tampa Bay looked out of sync in the loss, recording just five shots all night, including only one on target. The Rhinos only recorded two of target, both of which were within five seconds of one another.
It was a staunch defensive performance for the Rowdies, not allowing a shot on except for those few seconds that created the goal, but the offensive unit was not on the same page. Martin Paterson had Tampa Bay’s best offensive chance of the night in the 76th minute, heading a cross from the left wing just wide of target.
“It’s very disappointing to lost tonight,” Rowdies center back Neill Collins said. “The manner of the defeat was probably the most disappointing thing. We came here with good intentions, but never quite got going in the first half. … I don’t think it was much of a game, in terms of quality of football. We tried to pass the ball in the second half, but couldn’t break them down. Credit to them, they were very well organized.”
Tampa Bay center back Damion Lowe, who has played every minutes of the Rowdies’ 12 matches this season in all competitions, received his fifth yellow card of the year in the second half, meaning he’ll be suspended from the Rowdies’ next match.
The Rowdies return home on Memorial Day Weekend to face Saint Louis FC at Al Lang Stadium on Saturday, May 27. Tickets for that match are available by calling (727) 222-2000 or by clicking here.
Rhinos: Wal Fall - 27th minute
Rowdies: Georgi Hristov - 33rd minute
Rhinos: Michael Garzi - 39th minute
Rowdies: Damion Lowe - 55th minute
Rowdies: Michael Nanchoff - 81st minute
Rowdies (4-2-3-1) – GK Matt Pickens (C); D Darnell King, Damion Lowe, Neill Collins, Luke Boden; M Marcel Schäfer, Martin Vingaard (Martin Paterson 68'); M Darwin Jones (Alex Morrell 63'), Michael Nanchoff, Georgi Hristov; F Deshorn Brown
Rhinos (5-2-2-1): GK Tomas Gomez; D Jordan Dover, Ryan Felix, Joseph Farrell, Todd Pratzner, Ryan James; M Wal Fall, Michael Garzi (Sergio Campbell 90'); M Rayane Boukemia (Sofiane Tergou 63') , Kenardo Forbes; F Jochen Graf (Antonio Correia 79')