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Gameday Report: April 24, Week 8

By JOHN ARLIA - john.arlia@uslsoccer.com, 04/24/19, 9:45PM EDT

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Rowdies rally to go top of East; Roughnecks beat Switchbacks to surpass 2018 win total

The Tampa Bay Rowdies continued their unbeaten start to the 2019 campaign with a 4-1 comeback victory over ATL UTD 2 on Wednesday night at Fifth Third Bank Stadium that saw the visitors climb to the top of the Eastern Conference standings.

Elsewhere, Tulsa Roughnecks FC surpassed its win total from 2018 after defeating Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC, while Rio Grande Valley FC and the LA Galaxy II poured in seven second-half goals in a wild 4-4 draw.

LA GALAXY II (4) VS RIO GRANDE VALLEY FC (4)

CARSON, Calif. – The Galaxy II and RGVFC combined to score six goals over the final 13 minutes of play plus stoppage time as the two sides battled for a share of the spoils in a wild back-and-forth contest at Dignity Health Sports Park. Diedie Traore opened the scoring for the home side with a superb solo goal in the 39th minute, picking the ball up inside his own half and driving past three opponents on a mazing run before slotting a near-post finish past RGVFC goalkeeper Tyler Deric from a tight angle. The Galaxy II looked to be on cruise control in the 74th minute as Kai Koreniuk tapped home Brian Iloski’s square ball after a quick-fire counter attack, but the visitors were level just five minutes later. Substitute Michael Salazar fired Maalique Foster’s cutback past Galaxy II goalkeeper Abraham Romero in the 77th minute and then leveled the contest two minutes later by applying a sliding finish to Robert Coronado’s low cross. In the 83rd minute, Carlos Small pounced on a rebound from close range to give the visitors the lead for the first time in the match, but it lasted just four minutes as Nicholas DePuy headed home Iloski’s corner kick to level the proceedings. Again, RGVFC responded to take the lead and again it was Salazar that found the back of the net, completing his hat trick in the first minute of stoppage time with another close-range tap in after a scramble in the six-yard box following a corner kick. That wasn’t to be the final turn of the tale though, as Koreniuk capped off a wild sequence with a right-footed shot into the bottom-right corner in the 96th minute to give his side a share of the spoils.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Michael Salazar, Rio Grande Valley FC – Salazar came on as a substitute in the 74th minute and scored a hat trick in a 14-minute span to help RGVFC battle back for a point and extend its unbeaten streak to four games.

TULSA ROUGHNECKS FC (2) VS COLORADO SPRINGS SWITCHBACKS FC (0)

TULSA, Okla. – Rodrigo da Costa’s second-half brace helped the Roughnecks surpass their win total from 2018 with a home victory over the Switchbacks. Colorado Springs had a golden opportunity to take the lead seven minutes into the match as Jordan Schweitzer played Andre Shinyashiki clean through on goal, but the forward saw his right-footed effort repelled by the left leg of Tulsa goalkeeper Mason Stajduhar. The Roughnecks nearly opened the scoring just five minutes before halftime as Janú Silva did superbly well to shift his body inside the penalty area and produce an acrobatic volley that stung the underside of the crossbar and bounced agonizingly back into play. Tulsa finally found the back of the net in the 68th minute as da Costa let AJ Ajeakwa’s pass run by him before turning and firing a left-footed shot past Switchbacks goalkeeper Clint Irwin and into the bottom-left corner. The midfielder then went on to seal the win in the first minute of stoppage time as Akeil Barrett fought through a challenge and squared the ball across to da Costa, who made no mistake firing a low shot past Irwin to send the fans home happy.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Rodrigo da Costa, Tulsa Roughnecks FC – The Brazilian completed 70 percent of his passes, attempted four shots and scored twice in the second half to lift the Roughnecks to their fourth win of the season.

ATLANTA UNITED 2 (1) VS TAMPA BAY ROWDIES (4)

KENNESAW, Ga. – The Rowdies rallied from an early deficit and scored four unanswered goals to cruise past ATL UTD 2. After a quiet opening half hour, the hosts took the lead in the 34th minute as midfielder Luiz Fernando capped off an impressive passing move with a patient left-footed finish past Rowdies goalkeeper John McCarthy after being played in behind the Tampa Bay defense by forward Dion Pereira. The visitors nearly responded nine minutes later as Juan Tejada rose highest to head Andrew Tinari’s left-wing free kick just over Alec Kann’s crossbar. The Rowdies did beat the ATL UTD 2 goalkeeper in the final minute of the first half though, as defender Caleb Richards pressured the home side into a turnover in its own half and Leo Fernandes took advantage with a near-post finish after Tinari played him the ball on the left side of the penalty area. Pereira went close to getting a goal of his own seven minutes after the halftime break but was denied by an acrobatic save from McCarthy. The Rowdies took a 2-1 lead in the 67th minute through a bit of fortune as David Najem’s close-range shot hit the right-hand post, only to be touched over the line by ATL UTD 2 defender George Campbell as he tracked back towards his own goal. Tampa Bay compounded Atlanta’s misery in the final minutes of play as Juan Tejada scored his first professional goal to extend the lead in the 87th minute and substitute Brandon Allen converted a beautiful diving header three minutes later to seal the three points.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Leo Fernandes, Tampa Bay Rowdies – Fernandes scored the Rowdies’ opening goal, added two second-half assists and made five key passes overall as Tampa Bay cruised to a comeback victory.

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