ST PETERSBURG, Fla. (Sept 19, 2012) - Tampa Bay clinched a bye to the NASL Semifinals with a 1-1 tie tonight at Al Lang Stadium against Carolina. However, the Rowdies missed an opportunity to draw level on points with first place San Antonio who lost tonight in Atlanta.
Tonight's tie means the Scorpions can win the NASL Regular Season title with a victory on Sunday versus Minnesota regardless of Tampa Bay's result on Saturday versus Carolina.
In the 13th minute, Rowdies defender Andres Arango scored the first goal of the game off a header from midfielder Luke Mulholland's corner kick. The goal was Arango's first of the season and Mulholland's fifth assist. In the 61st minute, Carolina's Ty Shipalane leveled the match at 1-1 with a strike from the left side of the box. Midfielder Brian Shriver picked the assist on the goal. Shipalane has scored five NASL goals this season and each have either won or tied a game for Carolina.
Carolina had the first chance in the opening minutes, when Shriver entered the box and powered a shot from 10 yards out, but goalkeeper Jeff Attinella was well positioned and was able to contain the shot.
In the 10th minute, the Rowdies had their first chance of the match, as midfielder Evans Frimpong sent a cross from the right side of the box and forward Mike Ambersley was able to volley it on goal. His shot was saved by Carolina goalkeeper Ray Burse, denying Tampa Bay their second goal of the match.
After Arango opened the scoring in minute 13, he picked up his fifth yellow card in the 22nd minute and will have to sit out the final match of the regular season against the RailHawks next Saturday.
In the 42nd minute, RailHawks midfielder Ty Shipalane was one-on-one with Attinella, but the Rowdies goalkeeper made a diving save to his right to keep the Rowdies in the lead at halftime.
Carolina came out in the second half desperately looking for the tying goal, but Attinella had an excellent half, denying the RailHawks on multiple occasions.
In the 55th minute, Attinella came up huge 0n two occasions. Carolina had back to back chances inside the six-yard box, but the Rowdies goalkeeper was able to make a save on the first chance and contain the ensuing shot.
The Rowdies looked to extend the lead in the 58th minute, when forward Carl Cort had a strike from 19 yards out, but Burse was able to contain the shot.
Carolina threatened to tie the game with back-to-back chances in the 59th minute. Midfielder Nick Zimmerman entered the box from the right and powered a shot on goal, but Attinella made a great kick save, sending the ball out for a corner kick. On the ensuing corner kick, defender Kupono low-headed the ball, but Attinella was able to get a hand on it and push it over the goal for another corner kick.
The Rowdies and RailHawks will meet again on Saturday in the final Regular Season game for both teams.
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|New York Cosmos||14||9||4||1||10||31|
|Tampa Bay Rowdies||14||5||5||4||3||20|
|Minnesota United FC||14||6||2||6||2||20|
|Fort Lauderdale Strikers||14||5||3||6||-2||18|
|San Antonio Scorpions||14||3||1||10||-9||10|
|San Antonio Scorpions||12||6||2||4||4||20|
|Tampa Bay Rowdies||12||5||3||4||5||18|
|Minnesota United FC||12||4||2||6||-5||14|
|Fort Lauderdale Strikers||12||2||2||8||-14||8|