Rowdies shut out yet another opponent

by Gary Shelton on May 17, 2017 · 0 comments

in general

Alex Morrell moves the ball for the Rowdies../STEVEN MUNCIE

Alex Morrell moves the ball for the Rowdies../STEVEN MUNCIE

Wednesday, 1 a.m.

The way the Tampa Bay Rowdies are playing defense, it wouldn't be a surprise if opponents measured their goal. You know, just to make sure it is big enough.

The Rowdies won their seventh match of the season with a clean sheet Tuesday night, beating the Jacksonville Armada 3-0 to advance to the third round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup competition.

The Open Cup is a knockout tournament featuring teams from all levels of the American soccer system, including

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Kyle Porter moves the ball down the field./STEVEN MUNCIE

Kyle Porter moves the ball down the field./STEVEN MUNCIE

qualifying amateur clubs.

Kyle Porter, Alex Morrell and Martin Paterson scored the goals for Tampa Bay as the Rowdies moved on in the competition.

Tampa Bay now advances to face either Miami FC (NASL) or the South Florida Surf (PDL) in the Third Round on May 31. Those two teams play Wednesday night. Should Miami FC win, the Rowdies will have to travel to Miami. Should the Surf win, the match will be played at Al Lang.

“I thought it was a really, really professional performance by the team,” Rowdies Head Coach Stuart Campbell said. “We went out and got the job done, which was to win the game and get into the next round. … The game is done and dusted and we have games coming up in the league so we’ll shift our focus to that now.”

Porter scored in the third minute to give the Rowdies a 1-0 lead.

Up a goal, the Rowdies dominated the remainder of the first half, but didn’t double their lead until the 43rd minute when Morrell stole the ball off an Armada U-23 defender and raced toward goal before beating Fajardo from a sharp angle for a 2-0 lead.

“Luckily, the guy had a bad pass and I picked it off,” Morrell said. “I made the most out of it and scored on my old keeper from college. That was nice.”

Paterson finished the scoring in the 68th minute, tapping in a low cross from Darwin Jones for his second goal of the season in all competitions.

Coach Stuart Campbell made a handful of changes to his team for the match, including selecting defender Tamika Mkandawire and midfielder Keith Savage for their first starts of the season. Defender Zac Portillos came off the bench in the second half for his first appearance of 2017.

“I made a lot of changes, because I didn’t have much choice playing Saturday, Tuesday, Friday, but on the other hand, I was delighted that I got the opportunity to give players minutes that haven’t had any,” Campbell said. “It’s tough for me not to play everybody, but it’s great that I could play guys that really, really deserved to start. They showed what great professionals they are.”

The Rowdies travel to Toronto on Friday night.

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