ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (June 11, 2017) — The Tampa Bay Rowdies were held to a 1-1 draw at home by the Rochester Rhinos on Saturday night. Tampa Bay conceded a howler of a goal just five minutes in, but Joe Cole equalized for the Rowdies.
Here’s Three Things from the match…
1. Falling behind, but bouncing back
The Rowdies are now winless in four USL matches, primarily because they’ve been guilty of sleepwalking a bit and only truly kicking into gear after conceding a goal. In three of those last four matches, a loss and three draws, Tampa Bay has only scored first once.
Tampa Bay Head Coach Stuart Campbell doesn’t believe Tampa Bay was guilty of a slow start Saturday night as the Rowdies were dominant in the opening minutes only to concede in the 5th minute after an ugly defensive miscommunication.
The Rowdies didn’t let the opening goal phase them though, immediately stepping back onto the front foot and equalizing less than 15 minutes later on a beautiful cross by Marcel Schäfer for his second assist of the season.
2. Matt Pickens saves the day
Matt Pickens put in a great shift in goal for the Rowdies on Saturday night when he was forced to make a handful of saves in crucial situations.
A Rowdies turnover in the 71st minute led Rhinos forward Jochen Graf on a 30-yard one-on-one run vs Pickens, and, surely, many in the stadium groaned in anticipation of a Rochester goal. Pickens, not feeling the pressure, stepped forward to cut down the angle and make a diving save to his left-hand side to deny Graf’s second goal of the evening and keep the Rowdies in the match.
Pickens made another crucial stop in the 83rd minute when a Rochester free kick possibly glanced off the head of Kyle Porter and maybe the foot of Damion Lowe en route to sneaking just inside the post. Again, Matt Pickens dove to make the save and keep Tampa Bay level.
Pickens had four saves on the night.
3. Leaving home
Having dropped points at home in their last two matches at Al Lang, the Rowdies now return to the road for three matches.
Tampa Bay will visit Richmond, Pittsburgh and Charleston in the coming weeks before finally playing at Al Lang against FC Cincinnati on Thursday, July 6. By the time that match rolls around, Tampa Bay will have played six of its last eight USL matches on the road.
The Rowdies are 1-3-2 on the road this season and another road win or two in the first two matches of the trip would set the stage for a huge showdown against Eastern Conference-leading Charleston on July 1.