Photo courtesy Matt May / Tampa Bay Rowdies
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Goals for either side in the opening 15 minutes saw the Tampa Bay Rowdies and Ottawa Fury FC play to a 1-1 draw in front of a crowd of 6,710 at Al Lang Stadium on Saturday night. Fury FC took the lead in just the third minute as a low shot by Steevan Dos Santos found the right corner of the net from 20 yards. Andrae Campbell also went close to adding a second for Ottawa in the eighth minute, shooting over from a tight angle on the left, but in the 11th minute Tampa Bay leveled as Georgi Hristov shot low into the right corner after a half-clearance of a low shot by Fury FC’s defense. Fury FC continued to threaten during the remainder of the first half, however, as both Gerardo Bruna and Seoane shot over the crossbar before the game went to the break level. The game tightened in the second half, as Ottawa’s Carl Haworth fired a shot just wide of the left post in the 61st minute, but Campbell spurned a glorious chance as the Rowdies defense lost him breaking into the penalty area, only to shoot wide of the left post as Rowdies goalkeeper Matt Pickens closed the angle. Gerardo Bruna also went close for Fury FC on a free kick with 10 minutes to go, his shot going just over the crossbar. Tampa Bay also went close late, Justin Chavez’s header flashing just wide of the right post with six minutes to go, but neither side broke the deadlock as honors ended even.
3’ – OTT – Steevan Dos Santos (Sito Seoane)
11’ – TBR – Georgi Hristov
Three Things That Matter:
1. It didn’t take long for Fury FC to bring the Rowdies’ home shutout streak to an end at 458 minutes as Steevan Dos Santos scored in just the third minute with a good low shot that might have taken a slight redirection off a defender at the top of the penalty area, but still had plenty of power to find the left corner of the net. The goal will also likely have come as a relief for the Cape Verde forward, who hadn’t found the net since a late goal against Louisville City FC on July 1. As one of the club’s main offseason additions, Dos Santos has had good moments this season, but Fury FC will be hoping Saturday’s goal sparks a run of form that can help the side reach the postseason.
2. Ottawa was good throughout the first half, but on the one major mistake they made the Rowdies made the visitors pay. A mediocre clearance to the top of the penalty presented a great chance that Tampa Bay forward Georgi Hristov gratefully accepted to notch his eight goal of the season, and second in as many games. It proved the only shot for the Rowdies in the first half, but allowed the hosts to enter the break level despite the visitors having the better of the game overall.
3. After playing well but getting no reward for it on Wednesday night, Fury FC will be pleased to have emerged from their second game in Florida with a point, but with results at a premium at this point of the season they will be disappointed to not have become the second team to leave Al Lang Stadium with a victory this season. As a result, the pressure on the final game of the trip in Cincinnati on Wednesday is going to ramp up even more, with both Fury FC and FC Cincinnati both desperate for points in the Eastern Conference playoff race. It should make for a must-see contest on a big night of action four days from now.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Gerardo Bruna, Ottawa Fury FC – Bruna was crafty in Fury FC’s build-up play, and almost found a winner from a free kick late on as the visitors had the better of the game.
Tampa Bay Rowdies at New York Red Bulls II – Sept. 2, 4 p.m. ET, MSU Soccer Park
Ottawa Fury FC at FC Cincinnati – August 23, 7 p.m. ET, Nippert Stadium