Rowdies keep home record perfect with win

by Gary Shelton on April 22, 2018 · 0 comments

in general, Rowdies

Hristov celebrates goal in second half./CARMEN MANDATO

Hristov celebrates goal in second half./CARMEN MANDATO

1 a.m., Sunday

The Tampa Bay Rowdies, more than ever, love playing at Al Lang Stadium.

The Rowdies won their third straight home match, handing the Real Monarchs their first loss of the season. Tampa Bay, coming off a 5-0 loss to New York, beat the defending regular-season champion Monarchs 2-0.

Joe Cole and Georgi Hristov scored goals for the Rowdies.

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Cole scored a goal for the Rowdies./CARMEN MANDATO

Cole scored a goal for the Rowdies./CARMEN MANDATO

“They (Real Monarchs) are far and away the best team we’ve played so far,” Rowdies coach Stuart Campbell said. “That’s no disrespect to any of the other teams we’ve come up against so far, but they’re an excellent team. It was a very good performance by us and we had to be at our very, very best to get these three points.”

The Rowdies first goal came in the 40th minute when captain Joe Cole outmuscled

Mizell celebrates a clean sheet for the Rowdies./CARMEN MANDATO

Mizell celebrates a clean sheet for the Rowdies./CARMEN MANDATO

Real center back Michael Gallagher to set himself up with a one-on-one against Monarchs goalkeeper David Ochoa.

Tampa Bay goalkeeper Cody Mizell preserved the Rowdies’ narrow lead with a save in the 66th minute and his team rewarded him with a second goal just four minutes later.

Cole fed a through ball to Georgi Hristov near the corner of the box and Hristov tied Rowdies’ history with a first-time shot that beat Ochoa and went into the far netting for a 2-0 Rowdies lead.

Collins handles the ball for Rowdies./CARMEN MANDATO

Collins handles the ball for Rowdies./CARMEN MANDATO

“I’m happy,” said Hristov, who tied the franchise record for most goals. “I want to dedicate this goal and this win to David (Najem), who was injured a week ago. This is for him. I’m happy for the win and I’m happy that I tied the record. … Most important, I’m really happy with the we played against a very, very good team.”

The Rowdies hit the road for a series of matches in Charleston, Harrisburg and Richmond before returning home to face the Pittsburgh Riverhounds in their next USL home match on Saturday, May 19.

Zac Portillas attempts a slide tackle./CARMEN MANDATO

Zac Portillas attempts a slide tackle./CARMEN MANDATO

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