ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (March 27, 2017) -- Tampa Bay Rowdies fans have selected Joe Cole as their Man of the Match for his performance in Saturday's 1-0 win over Orlando City B.
Cole didn't tally a goal or an assist in his first game wearing the captains' armband, but he controlled the entire match. On a different night he could have had a couple of goals and a couple of assists.
Cole's stats from Saturday night show 39 completed passes at nearly an 85 percent clip, including an impressive 88.9 completion percentage in passes inside Orlando City B's half, helping to unlock the defense and create a multitude of chances for both himself and others.
Cole's first scoring chance of the night came in the 32nd minute when he swung a right-footed free kick just outside the far post. He nearly scored in the 78th minute with an outrageous chip that nearly beat goalkeeper Earl Edwards Jr. from 18 yards out on an angle. Cole almost sealed the night on a breakaway in the 89th minute, but was stifled by Edwards again.