Rowdies seek to rebound from first loss of season

A two-goal advantage secured in the first half quickly evaporated after halftime.


"I saw the warning signs in the first half and we didn’t deserve to be 3-1 up,” admitted Rowdies coach Ricky Hill. “The disappointing thing was they scored goals from outside the box and we backed off and let them have shots. When you’re 3-1 up you should take something from the game and we haven’t done that through our own inability as a team."


It was simply a case of two different teams.


Midfielder Evans Frimpong opened the scoring in the 8th minute, putting the Rowdies up 1-0 with a perfect volley from around the penalty spot. Luke Mulholland picked up his second assist on the play with a superb header from the left side of the field.


Evans Frimpong and Luke Mulholland celebrate Frimpongs goal that put the Rowdies ahead 1-0 against Atlanta last weekend.
  • Cara Keller
  • Evans Frimpong and Luke Mulholland celebrate Frimpong's goal that put the Rowdies ahead 1-0 against Atlanta last weekend.


After Atlanta knotted the score on Ruben Luna's volley past Rowdies keeper Andrew Fontein, the Rowdies built a two-goal lead on Mulholland's two scores. The Irishman's first came off a nice pass from Georgi Hristov and the second came just before the break off a free kick.


The Silverbacks changed their formation coming out of the locker room and moved men forward while putting heavy pressure on the back line. Silverbacks midfielder Pedro Mendes cut the lead to one with less than 10 minutes into the second half and Luna scored the equalizer soon thereafter on a nifty play, scooting past Fontein and defender Jay Needham.


The Silverbacks tie the score on Ruben Lunas volley in the Rowdies 4-3 loss to the Silverbacks.
  • Cara Keller
  • The Silverbacks tie the score on Ruben Luna's volley in the Rowdies' 4-3 loss to the Silverbacks.


"We came out strong in the first half, but their early second half goal killed our momentum," Mulholland said. "The second half was up for grabs after their goal and they were able to turn the match around. We are disappointed with the loss tonight, but we are confident that during the week we will work on our mistakes."


Mulholland's performance earned him a spot on the NASL Team of the Week, an honor he previously received in the NASL opening weekend. His team-high two goals are tied for second-most in the league and is tied for the league-lead with two assists.


Despite the four goals allowed by Fontein, he is second in the league with 14 saves and 4th with a goals against average of 1.33.


The Rowdies fell behind for the first time this season in the 70th minute after Mendes scored off a strike from just outside the 18-yard box.


The Rowdies failed to win or draw for the first time in 14 home games.


Now, the show moves south to rival NASL opponent, Fort Lauderdale in a series aptly referred to as the Coastal Cup. The Rowdies won last season's version with three wins in four meetings. In fact, the Rowdies own a 7-4-1 record over the Strikers since 2010.


When the Rowdies visited Lockhart Stadium on September 1, they defeated the Strikers 3-0 and secured a spot in the playoffs by doing so.



Mulholland had an outstanding first half as he not only scored two goals, but also added an assist on Frimpong’s goal.


Scouting Ft. Lauderdale:


The in-state rivals finished fifth in the regular season last year, while reaching the quarterfinals in the NASL Playoffs. Under the helm of Daryl Shore, the Strikers bowed out in the quarterfinals after a 3-1 loss against the Carolina RailHawks.


The 2013 season has seen Ft. Lauderdale struggle in the first couple of games, picking up one point out of a possible nine. The Strikers have scored two goals this season coming from newcomers David Foley and Jemal Johnson. After beginning the 2013 season on trial with the Rowdies, Johnson joined the Strikers where he also leads the team with eight shots this year.


Injury update: Mike Ambersley (MCL sprain) will not play this weekend, but Hill said Carl Cort (torn calf) is a possibility.


Quotable:
Rowdies Head Coach Ricky Hill
“After a disappointing loss against Atlanta, it is crucial we get the three points at Ft. Lauderdale. Rivalries are always a match of their own and against the Strikers it has always been an intense match for the entire 90 minutes. We have worked on several aspects during the week that we hope are corrected when Saturday arrives.”


Match Preview: Rowdies at Ft. Lauderdale
Posted on Wed, Apr 24,


The Basics:
Tampa Bay Rowdies at Ft. Lauderdale Strikers


2013 NASL Spring Season


Saturday, April 27, at 7:30 p.m. ET


Location: Lockhart Stadium, Fort Lauderdale


The match can be seen via NASL on Ustream.


Follow at @RowdiesSoccer on Twitter for live updates


Records (W-T-L) 

Tampa Bay: 1-1-1, 4 points, T-3rd place

Ft. Lauderdale: 0-1-2, 1 points, T-5th place

click to enlarge Evans Frimpong and Luke Mulholland celebrate Frimpong's goal that put the Rowdies ahead 1-0 against Atlanta last weekend. - Cara Keller
Cara Keller
Evans Frimpong and Luke Mulholland celebrate Frimpong's goal that put the Rowdies ahead 1-0 against Atlanta last weekend.

For a while there in last weekend's 4-3 loss to the Atanta Silverbacks, the Rowdies seemed as if they had found their mojo that helped them win the NASL title last season. Then, poof.

click to enlarge A crowd of 3,575 was in attendance at Al Lang Field for last Saturday's 4-3 loss to the Atlanta Silverbacks. - Cara Keller
Cara Keller
A crowd of 3,575 was in attendance at Al Lang Field for last Saturday's 4-3 loss to the Atlanta Silverbacks.
  • Cara Keller
  • A crowd of 3,575 was in attendance at Al Lang Field for last Saturday's 4-3 loss to the Atlanta Silverbacks.

Scroll to read more News Feature articles

Newsletters

Join Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.