The Tampa Bay Rowdies suffered a narrow 1-0 defeat at the hands of San Diego Loyal SC at Torero Stadium on Sunday evening. Quality chances on net were few and far and between for both sides, but the hosts converted just once to take all three points.
The first half of Sunday’s matchup was tightly contested and looked destined to finish 0-0 heading into the locker room until San Diego found a breakthrough goal. A quick passing exchange in the 42nd minute culminated with the ball at Adrien Perez’s feet on the right edge of the box. Cutting inside, Perez fired off a shot toward the near post that Rowdies keeper Connor Sparrow got a touch on but not enough to stop it from squeaking into the goal.
“Just a lack of quality on our part,” said Rowdies Head Coach Neill Collins. “I think going in at halftime 0-0 would have really given us a great platform. I felt the game was there for us to go on and still get something out of it. It kind of sums it up right now, we’re shooting ourselves in the foot a little bit when we’re in important moments in the game. Definitely disappointing to lose a goal in the manner that we did.”
Tampa Bay was without a few key contributors on Sunday. Midfielder Lewis Hilton was a late scratch just before kickoff after sustaining an injury during warmups. Center back Forrest Lasso did not travel with the team due to the expected birth of his child. Midfielder Jake Areman also did make it out to San Diego as he works back to fitness from his knock.
Still, the Rowdies pressed on and managed to put themselves in positive positions in the second half. Forward Cal Jennings came the closest to leveling the match in the 49th minute, sending a shot from inside the box that was redirected by a defender to send the ball off the top of the crossbar.
In the end, Tampa Bay’s inability to probe San Diego’s goal nixed comeback effort. The Rowdies took nine shots in the match but failed to put one on frame.
“The only people that are going to put it right are ourselves. We are going through a tougher time. I’ve got no doubt the players will come through it. Coming to San Diego any time of year is tough. Coming when you’re a bit low in confidence is even tougher. The biggest thing for me is people should take a lot of confidence from the last 25, 30 minutes. The boys have done everything but put the ball in the net, which is the most important bit. We’ve been on the end of a couple defeats recently where I don’t think we did show that same purpose towards the end of the game and desire.”
The Rowdies return to Al Lang Stadium this Wednesday for matchup with Major League Soccer’s Houston Dynamo FC in the Third Round of the U.S. Open Cup. Tickets can be purchased here or by calling the Rowdies sales office during normal business hours at 727-222-2000.
SD – Perez, 42nd minute
TBR: Sparrow, Doherty, Kleemann (Dalgaard, 89′), Guillen, Antley, Ekra (Martinez, 61′), Herivaux (Mksoana, 89′), Harris, Spaulding, Schröter (Dennis, 61′), Jennings (Williams, 73′)
SD: Ferree, Martin, Adams, Riley, Perez, Moon, Corona, Adams, Conway, Moshobane, Damus