ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (April 13, 2019) — The first goal conceded at home by the Tampa Bay Rowdies this season proved to be a costly one as the Rowdies split the points with Louisville City FC after a 1-1 draw.
Abdou Thiam’s goal for Louisville came in 88th minute after the Rowdies have weathered an intense storm for much of the match after taking an early lead. Andrew Tinari had given the home team a lead in the 15th minute with an incredible finish to the top corner from outside the 18-yard box.
“I thought the first 40 minutes were as good as we’ve played since I’ve been head coach,” Neill Collins said. “I thought our performance had lots and lots of things that I’d like to see more of. The second half is a credit to Louisville. I thought they showed why a lot of those players have been together for three or four years and they’ve won together.”
Tampa Bay (3-0-3, 12 points) recorded two shots on target in the match, compared to eight for Louisville (2-3-1, 7 points.) Five of Louisville’s shots on target came in an intense second half in which the Rowdies relied heavily on the performance of goalkeeper John McCarthy.
“(John’s) shot-stopping tonight was fantastic,” Collins said. “I think from a lot of set pieces they caused us problems. In general play, we defended well. John stood up tall and made some fantastic saves.”
McCarthy made a season-high seven saves on the night, many of which were show stoppers.
He made back-to-back saves from point-blank range off corner kicks in the 34th and 35th minutes to ensure the Rowdies would carry a 1-0 advantage into halftime.
In the 56th minute, again off a corner kick, he was called upon to make a save right on the goal line off Louisville defender Paco Craig’s effort.
Seven minutes later he denied Lucky Mkosana from close range after a Rowdies turnover on the edge of the box.
McCarthy made a spectacular save to deny Thiam from 12 yards out.
Eventually, Louisville’s attack caught a break on a sloppy bit of play by the Rowdies backline. As Magnus Rasmussen dribbled into the box for Louisville in the 88th minute, it looked like the Rowdies had enough defenders on hand to win the ball, but it eventually deflected into the path of Thiam, who finished past McCarthy with his first touch.
“I think in the second half they really took it to us,” McCarthy said. “I’m pretty frustrated but I thought overall it was a decent game. It wasn’t our best game, but it was an okay night for us overall.
It was the first goal the Rowdies have conceded at Al Lang Stadium this season, setting a new record for longest unblemished streak to start a season at home at 358 minutes. The previous record was 310 minutes, set last year.
Up next, the Rowdies have a weekend off before visiting Atlanta United 2 on April 24 before returning home to host the Charlotte Independence on Saturday, April 27. For tickets, click here.
Tampa Bay: Andrew Tinari - 15th minute (assisted by Yann Ekra)
Louisville: Abdou Thiam - 88th minute
Tampa Bay: Antoine Hoppenot - 21st minute
Louisville: Oscar Jimenez - 68th minute
Tampa Bay: Sebastian Guenzatti - 75th minute
Tampa Bay: Yann Ekra - 78th minute
Tampa Bay: Dom Oduro - 85th minute
Louisville: Devon Williams - 85th minute
Rowdies XI (3-5-2): GK John McCarthy; D Tarek Morad, Pape Diakite, Caleb Richards; M Shawn Barry (David Najem 61'), Yann Ekra, Dom Oduro, Andrew Tinari (90+2'), Leo Fernandes; F Antoine Hoppenot (Juan Tejada 71'), Sebastian Guenzatti (c)
Louisville XI (5-3-2): GK Ben Lundt; D Oscar Jimenez, Taylor Peay, Paco Craig, Sean Totsch, Shaun Francis (c) (Napo Matsoso 86'); M Niall McCabe, Devon Williams, Magnus Rasmussen; F Lucky Mkosana (Sunny Jane 90'), Abdou Thiam (Alexis Souahy 90+3')