The Tampa Bay Rowdies picked up their first win of the 2013 NASL Spring Season on Saturday night, defeating the San Antonio Scorpions 2-0 in front of 8,177 at Toyota Field. Forwards Amani Walker and Georgi Hristov guided the reigning NASL Champions to their first franchise win at San Antontio since the Scorpions entered the NASL in 2012.
“Obviously we’re delighted to come away with three points,” said Rowdies head coach Ricky Hill. “We were determined to come here and without being disrespectful, spoil the party.”
With the Rowdies pressuring early on, Walker scored the club's first goal this season in the 12th minute thanks to a perfectly placed header. The go-ahead goal came off a corner kick by midfielder Luke Mulholland, finding Walker wide open around the penalty spot making it 1-0.
As expected, the Scorpions came out looking for the equalizer but ran into a solid Rowdies defense. The home team nearly scored the tying goal in the 42nd minute, but midfielder Edin Husic was unable to tap the ball in at the far post. The first half came to a close with the Rowdies up 1-0, with Walker scoring the lone goal.
After creating several chances early on in the second half, the Scorpions would be caught off guard defensively in the 55th minute. The Rowdies doubled the lead after forward Georgi Hristov capitalized off a penalty kick in the 56th minute. The forward recieved a great through ball by second half substitute Shane Hill and initially brought down in the box by Scorpions goalkeeper Pat Hannigan.
With the Scorpions down two goals, they began to step up in the field but found themselves with a prolific Rowdies goalkeeper.
“Our goalkeeper Andrew Fontein waited patiently last year for his chance to play and didn’t get any minutes,” commented Hill. “Now Andrew has two games and two clean sheets, which is not a bad way to start”
Andrew Fontein had a solid night making multiple saves to keep the Rowdies ahead in the match. This is his second shutout of the season, with the Rowdies yet to concede a goal in the 2013 NASL Spring Season. The 2-0 victory puts the Rowdies atop of the NASL standing, sharing first place with Carolina.
Tampa Bay: Amani Walker - 12th minute (Assisted by Luke Mulholland)
Tampa Bay: Georgi Hristov - 56th minute (Penalty Kick)
San Antonio: Pat Hannigan - 55th minute
Tampa Bay: Jay Needham - 61st minute
San Antonio: Pat Phelan - 83rd minute
GK Andrew Fontein; D Frankie Sanfilippo (Captain), D Jay Needham, D Takuya Yamada, D Andres Arango (Keith Savage 45'); M Evans Frimpong, M Luke Mulholland, M Shane Hill, M Raphael Cox; F Amani Walker (Devin Del Do 69'), F Georgi Hristov
GK Pat Hannigan; D Stephen DeRoux, D Greg Janicki, D Luka Vucko, D Kevin Harmse (Captain); M Walter Ramirez, M Pat Phelan, M Edin Husic, M Hans Denissen; F Lyle Martin (Bryan Jordan 58') (Esteban Bayona 63'), F Ivan Milicevic (Nikola Vasilic 58')
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