Rowdies win big match to move into fourth place

by Gary Shelton on September 24, 2017 · 0 comments

in general, Rowdies

Hunter Gorskie signals to the crowd after scoring./STEVEN MUNCIE

Hunter Gorskie signals to the crowd after scoring./STEVEN MUNCIE

Sunday, 1:30 a.m.

The Tampa Bay Rowdies' latest victory may pay dividends.

The Rowdies beat Charlotte 1-0 at home Saturday night, which could put Tampa Bay home for the playoffs. The victory moved the Rowdies into fourth place in the ASL Standings, and the top four teams will all get a home game in the post-season.

Hunter Gorskie, in his home debut for the Rowdies, scored the only goal in the 33rd minute. Marcel Schafer provided the assist with a corner kick.

“That was absolutely huge,” Rowdies coach Stuart Campbell said. “We spoke about the importance of these three points before (the game.) We spoke about giving

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Marcel Schafer head the ball./STEVEN MUNCIE

Marcel Schafer heads the ball./STEVEN MUNCIE

the people of St. Pete and Tampa and the surrounding area something to celebrate because it’s been an extremely stressful couple of weeks for a lot of people.”

It wasn’t Tampa Bay’s best performance of the season, with Charlotte (13-9-7, 48 points) knocking on the door several times, including having two potential goals called off for offside.

Georgi Hristov on the attack for Tampa Bay./STEVEN MUNCIE

Georgi Hristov on the attack for Tampa Bay./STEVEN MUNCIE

The Rowdies had 13 shots on the night, but only two were on target compared to four shots on target for the Independence. Tampa Bay goalkeeper Matt Pickens made four saves to earn his eighth clean sheet of the season and first since August 5.

“It was a huge three points,” Gorskie said. “No matter what happened, we wanted to win after not playing for so long. We knew it was going to be tough because they’re a good team but we had to get it done. ... I knew (the goal) was in. The goalkeeper was pretty far back in his own net and I had a good look at it, so I knew.”

Tampa Bay could’ve doubled its lead in the 57th minute when the Rowdies had a wild series of quick shots. Martin Paterson had his shot blocked, then Schafer had a shot saved by Mizell.

Rowdies head coach Stuart Campbell is in the chase./STEVEN MUNCIE

Rowdies head coach Stuart Campbell is in the chase./STEVEN MUNCIE

In the 61st minute, Charlotte’s Joel Johnson took a feed from Jorge Herrera and put the ball in the back of the net, but the goal was negated by the offside flag and Tampa Bay retained its 1-0 lead.

In the 73rd minute, Charlotte scored via Enzo Martinez only for the offside flag to deny a goal once more.

With the Rowdies winning and the three teams ahead of them  all losing, Tampa Bay made up a lot of ground in the standings.
Charlotte remains in second place with 48 points. Charleston is in third with 47, but Tampa Bay leapfrogged Rochester into fourth place with 44 points. The Rhinos have 43. Crucially, the Rowdies have two games in hand on both Charlotte and Charleston and one game in hand over Rochester.

Up next, the Rowdies head north for a midweek contest against Bethlehem Steel FC before returning home to face the same team this coming Saturday, September 30.

Matt Pickens didn't let anything by him in big win./STEVEN MUNCIE

Matt Pickens didn't let anything by him in big win./STEVEN MUNCIE

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