Tampa Bay Rowdies played to a scoreless draw against host FC Edmonton despite the Canadian side playing a man down for over 30 minutes on Sunday afternoon at Clarke Stadium.
Edmonton's defender Mallan Roberts was sent off in the 53rd minute after receiving his second yellow card of the match.
The draw extended the Rowdies’ unbeaten streak to eight matches against FC Edmonton, while also remaining undefeated away from Tampa this season.
“I’m very happy with the overall performance of my side," said Rowdies Coach Ricky Hill. "This is a very difficult surface to play on, especially when it is wet, but I am quite happy that we were able to adjust to it and maintain possession of the ball.”
It was FC Edmonton that would have the first chance 30 minutes into the match with midfielder Shaun Saiko receiving a pass inside the box from forward Michael Cox. Saiko took a shot but it went straight to Rowdies goalkeeper Diego Restrepo, who was able to come up with the save.
As the half progressed, the Rowdies began to feel more comfortable and retained more possession. Defender Andres Arango almost gave the Rowdies the lead in the 41st minute with a strike from around the penalty spot but it was pushed out of play by goalkeeper John Smits. On the ensuing corner kick, Smits once again denied the Rowdies the lead with another save off the line.
At the start of the second half, Rowdies defender Jordan Gafa came up big clearing the ball out for a corner kick before Cox could take a shot on Restrepo. After Roberts' red card, midfielder Luke Mulholland saw more spaces open up in the midfield giving him chances to set up forward Georgi Hristov and second-half substitute Mike Ambersley with several great passes.
Even though Tampa Bay had the man advantage, the Eddies still were able to shake things up in the Rowdies box through set pieces. Tampa Bay responded well and cleared the ball away from the box without a problem.
“Not that much seen between the two teams, but I’m very pleased with our organization, said FC Edmonton Coach Colin Miller. "It is a very competitive match against Tampa Bay, but I’m happy with our performance."
With Ambersley making a run into the heart of the box, Hristov was able to send a cross in the 67th minute but it would never reach the target as Smits would come off his line to cut the cross. Once again the Bulgarian was key in the Rowdies offense, making constant runs into the box.
In the 74th minute, Mulholland placed a perfect through ball into the right side of the box to find Hristov at the end of the pass. The Bulgarian took a powerful shot but Smits was able to send the ball out to a corner kick.
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