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Tampa Bay Rowdies denied Open Cup glory as Paes shines in FC Dallas net

By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 05/22/24, 10:06PM EDT


Dutch goalkeeper produces eight-save performance as first-half goals deliver 2-1 victory for visitors at Al Lang Stadium

Tampa Bay Rowdies forward Cal Jennings had six shots, four of which were on target and another that hit the post, but the hosts were denied a place in the U.S. Open Cup Quarterfinals by FC Dallas. | Photo courtesy Morgan Tencza / Tampa Bay Rowdies

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – There was little the Tampa Bay Rowdies were incapable of doing against FC Dallas on Wednesday night at Al Lang Stadium.

The host harried their opponents from Major League Soccer in their own half, created clear-cut chances in possession, outshot their visitors 30-7, and more than held their own over 90 minutes.

The one thing they couldn’t? Beat FC Dallas goalkeeper Maarten Paes enough to advance.

The Dutch goalkeeper’s eight-save performance and a pair of clinical first-half finishes by Patrickson Delgado and 2023 USL League Two Player of the year Logan Farrington send Dallas to a 2-1 victory and a place in the Quarterfinals of the 2024 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup as the Rowdies’ bid for their deepest run in the historic tournament came to an end.

“I thought we were absolutely outstanding,” said Rowdies Head Coach Robbie Nielson. “I thought we totally dominated the game, it’s basically the best we’ve played since I've been here. We ended up with 30 shots, which is the most we’ve had this season, we just didn’t seem to convert those chances.”

Tampa Bay flew out of the traps and pinned Dallas back in the opening minutes. Cal Jennings had a shot from the left side of the penalty area tipped wide in just the second minute and off the ensuing corner kick former FC Dallas product Eddie Munjoma’s header was brilliantly parried wide by Paes.

An MLS SuperDraft selection by Dallas in 2020, Jennings went closer still in the seventh minute as he pulled a shot back across his body from the top-of the penalty area, only to see it hit the left upright.

And then, on its first chance of the night, Dallas struck. Working a short corner on the right side, Jesus Ferreira received a return pass and found Delgado at the top of the penalty area in space. The Ecuadorian fired home a shot into the top-right corner with the Rowdies’ defense frozen.

The goal seemed to take the wind out of the Rowdies’ sails and 11 minutes later Dallas struck again. A knockdown in the attacking third found Herbert Endeley just outside the top-right edge of the penalty area and he fed an advancing Farrington for a shot just inside the box that picked out the bottom-right corner for his second goal in the tournament.

The Rowdies began to regain the pace they had begun the game with in the final 10 minutes of the opening half, however, and Lewis Hilton forced another outstanding save from Paes with a powerful shot through traffic a minute before the halftime break the Dallas goalkeeper parried away for a corner.

Tampa Bay’s pressure continued into the second half and just past the hour-mark Hilton was denied brilliantly again by Paes as his free kick from 25 yards was tipped onto the left post before Paes recovered to make a half-stop on a shot by Jennings that was then blocked in the six-yard area and cleared away by the Dallas defense.

Jennings continued to push as he ended the night with four shots on target before being substituted with 15 minutes to play. In the 83rd minute Danny Crisostomo floated a cross from the left channel to the back post where Joshua Perez’s close range header was again denied by Paes.

Perez finally broke through for the Rowdies two minutes later from the penalty spot after Pacifique Niyongabire was brought down in the box, sending Paes the wrong way with a shot to the right corner, and that set up a grandstand finish as the Rowdies pushed everything forward.

A last-gasp chance came from a set piece in the fifth minute of stoppage time as Hilton’s corner kick from the left was headed on target by Aaron Guillen, only for Paes to tip over the crossbar. When Jordan Farr’s attempt off the ensuing corner went wide, the final whistle came as Dallas held on.

“It’s kind of the story of the season so far that we’ve played really good games,” said Neilson. “Last Saturday we scored four, and today we didn’t manage to take them. To Dallas' credit they have got some real top quality and they had two or three shots at goal and scored two, so when you step up that level, when the opportunities come you have to take them.”

Scoring Summary
- Patrickson Delgado (Jesus Ferreira) 15’
FCD – Logan Farrington (Herbert Endeley) 26’
TBR – Joshua Perez (penalty kick) 85’

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