The Tampa Bay Rowdies fought to a scoreless draw against Indy Eleven at Michael A. Carroll Stadium on Saturday night, earning a point and their sixth clean sheet of the season.
“Defensively, the team was great all game and overall the second half performance was really great,” said Interim Rowdies Head Coach Stuart Dobson. “It’s disappointing not to come away with a win tonight but at the end of the day it’s a point earned in a very difficult environment.”
The evening got off to a choppy start for the Rowdies. Midfielder Jake Areman and center back Forrest Lasso both picked up yellow cards in the span of five minutes in the early stages. In the 34th minute, midfielder Sebastian Dalgaard went down with an injury attempting a cross in the box, forcing the Rowdies to make an early substitution with Jake LaCava stepping in off the bench.
“Sebastian Dalgaard has always played a big part for us and he’s been in form lately, so it was tough to see him go down like that,” said Dobson. “Luckily we have a great player like Jake LaCava to bring on so we don’t have to miss a beat.”
Indy saw the better of the chances in the opening half. Rowdies keeper Connor Sparrow was called on to make two saves in the first 45 minutes, denying Sebastian Guenzatti point-plank at the near post in the 21st minute and then swatting away a rocket by Sebastian Velazquez from the top of the box.
From the second half on, the Rowdies flipped the script to become the aggressors in the match. Indy was denied another chance on goal, while the Rowdies probed the net with four attempts on goal in the second half.
Englishman Charlie Dennis had Tampa Bay’s most promising look on goal of the match in the 60th minute. Areman initiated the sequence with a brilliant pass through Indy’s defensive line for LaCava to run onto down the left wing. LaCava then slid a pass across goal for an unmarked Dennis, who had the keeper beat with his shot but was stymied by a headed clearance by Macauley King.
Substitute Yann Ekra looked to grab a late winner for Tampa Bay with a blast from 20 yards out after driving through a crowd of defenders only to see his attempt be batted away by the keeper.
“The first half, Indy had a few more chances than we did, but we made adjustments at halftime and from that point we were fantastic,” said Dobson. “I think the stats in the second half back that up. The ball movement from the guys was great. We created a good number of chances. Obviously we didn’t have the final pass, the final shot to put us over the line.”
Next up, the Rowdies return home to host FC Tulsa for Pride Night at Al Lang Stadium on Saturday, July 29. Tickets for the match can be purchased by clicking here.
TBR – Areman (Yellow Card), 12’
TBR – Lasso (Yellow Card), 16’
IND – Velasquez (Yellow Card), 27′
TBR: Sparrow, Antley, Lasso, Kleemann, Guillen, Doherty, Areman, Harris (Ekra, 84′), Dalgaard (LaCava, 33′), Dennis, Williams (Jennings, 73′)
IND: Oettl, Jerome, King, Boudadi, Lindley, Quinn, Velazquez, Asante, Pinho, Guenzatti, Martinez