BLAINE, Minn. (August 17, 2016) — The Tampa Bay Rowdies were defeated by Minnesota United FC 2-0 on Wednesday night at NSC Stadium in Blaine, Minnesota. The Loons scored a goal in each half, capitalizing on two costly mistakes by the Rowdies backline.
Both teams failed to created dangerous chances early on until midfielder Ben Speas capitalized on a Walter Ramirez defensive mistake, which left him one-on-one with goalkeeper Matt Pickens. Speas fired his shot past a hopeless Pickens to make it 1-0 for the home team in the 18th minute.
“It was a good overall performance by us, but it was individual mistakes that cost us the match,” said Rowdies head coach Stuart Campbell. “After their first goal, we created multiple scoring opportunities to equalize, but it was our errors that ultimately sentenced the match. We can’t keep performing well on the road and come away with zero points.”
The Rowdies settled down after the goal, creating most of the chances in the remainder of the half. Right after the half-hour mark, forward Carlos Preciado had the opportunity to equalize but he whiffed his attempt to shoot from just outside the 6-yard box. Forward PC was quick to jump on the ball, but right before he could get the shot off, it was cleared by Minnesota.
Tampa Bay continued to apply the pressure, looking to equalize the match. Two minutes after the previous chance, PC got another opportunity to score, this time only to be denied by the crossbar. Just as his long-range shot looked to have gone past Minnesota goalkeeper Sammy Ndjock, it was the frame of the goal that denied PC and the Rowdies the equalizer.
As the half was coming to an end, the combination of PC and Preciado created one of the most dangerous chances in the match. PC shook off his defender and sent in a low cross into the 6-yard box, finding an incoming Preciado. His shot went just inches wide of the net, keeping the match 1-0 in favor of the Loons.
With 45 minutes left to turn the match around, the Rowdies continued to apply the pressure on Minnesota. Forward Georgi Hristov had the chance to equalize in the 55th minute after a defensive mistake, which left the Bulgarian in one-on-one with Ndjock. Minnesota’s defenders were able to track Hristov down forcing him to take an uncomfortable shot that trickled to Ndjock.
Just when it looked like the Rowdies were coming close to equalizing the match, forward Christian Ramirez doubled the lead for Minnesota after another poor defensive mistake by the visiting team. This time it was Antonijevic that failed to properly clear the ball, leaving Speas with space to cross the ball to the far post. After defender Aaron Pitchkolan got a touch to it, Ramirez was waiting at the far post to tap it in.
Trailing 2-0, the Rowdies poured players forward hoping to cut the lead in half.
Chances by midfielders Keith Savage and Joe Cole were denied by Ndjock and a solid Minnesota defense multiple times, while Preciado continued to find space but could not get the Rowdies on the scoresheet.
Preciado had another clear chance in the 88th minute, redirecting a long ball just feet from Ndjock, but somehow Ndjock was able to get his hand on the ball to earn his sixth shutout of the season. Minnesota played with 10 men for the final minutes of the match, after midfielder Jack Blake was shown a red card for a foul on Cole.
Tampa Bay returns home to Al Lang on Saturday night when they host FC Edmonton with kickoff set for 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available by calling (727) 222-2000 or by clicking here.
Minnesota: Ben Speas – 18th minute
Minnesota: Christian Ramirez – 62nd minute (assisted by Aaron Pitchkolan)
Tampa Bay: Juan Guerra – 14th minute
Minnesota: Damion Lowe – 21st minute
Tampa Bay: PC – 64th minute
Tampa Bay: Joe Cole – 80th minute
Minnesota: Jack Blake – 82nd minute (red card)
Minnesota: Sammy Ndjock – 87th minute
Tampa Bay XI (4-3-3): GK Matt Pickens (C); D Justin Chavez, Neill Collins, Stefan Antonijevic, Walter Ramirez (Eric Avila 64′); M Keith Savage, Juan Guerra (Joe Cole 46′), Martin Vingaard; F Georgi Hristov (Tommy Heinemann 72′), Carlos Preciado, PC
Minnesota XI (4-2-3-1): GK Sammy Ndjock; D Jeb Brovsky, Damion Lowe, Aaron Pitchkolan (C), Justin Davis; M Juliano Vicentini (Jack Blake 46′), Ibson; M Jamie Watson, Ben Speas (JC Banks 82′), Ismaila Jome (Lance Laing 70′); F Christian Ramirez