The Tampa Bay Rowdies defeated in-State rivals Fort Lauderdale Strikers 4-0 on Thursday night in front of a season-high 5,034 fans at Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg, FL. Two goals in each half propelled the Rowdies to a comfortable win, extending their win streak against the Strikers to four games.
“The first goal is important especially you are playing at home,” said Rowdies coach Ricky Hill. “I’m very pleased that we didn’t have any individual errors on the backline and our goalkeeper Diego (Restrepo) did his job for us tonight.
“We have been the best team in the league with our consistency because of our level of performance it has been our individual errors that has hurt us especially at home. We have dropped 13 points at home and that is just not us. So we need to improve this in the second half of the season we had one of the best records on the road in the league and we need to maintain that along with improving our home record.”
In the 20th minute forward Georgi Hristov ran down the Strikers right flank and played a through ball to Savage who buried his shot from inside the eighteen yard box into the side netting of the far post. Hristov’s assist is his fourth of the season and he now leads the team in that category.
In the 28th minute, Strikers forward Hosman Ramos fired a shot towards Rowdies keeper Diego Restrepo’s, which the keeper successfully blocked away as Tampa Bay continued to threaten.
Savage’s second goal came as a result of a Luke Mulholland free kick. The midfielder played the ball into the box only to have it punched away by Strikers keeper Matt Glaeser, but Savage headed the ball into the now empty net from eight yards away. Savage now has three goals on the season.
Mark Anderson thought he had pulled a goal back for the Strikers, but the referee had already blown for a free kick before the midfielder took his shot from outside the penalty area.
The Rowdies added to their lead in the 52nd minute when defender Jay Needham headed in a Luke Mulholland corner kick. Mulholland has four assists this season. The Rowdies made the scoreline safe at 4-0 when Hristov placed another perfect through ball for fellow forward Mike Ambersley to slot home past Glaeser. Hristov now leads the team with 5 assists.
The Strikers had a great chance to get a goal back in the 70th minute when Jemal Johnson was free from 10 yards away but Restrepo came out and blocked Johnson’s shot. In the final minutes of play the Rowdies controlled possession and neither team had too many serious chances to change the outcome.
“We tried to be compact and use the speed of our attack but a lot of mistakes and bad passes and not winning balls affected us,” said Strikers interim coach Richard Lopes. “We tried our best but it wasn’t good enough.”
Tampa Bay has now defeated the Strikers in both meetings between the clubs this year, with the Rowdies now undefeated in 13 of the last 14 meetings against Ft. Lauderdale since 2010.
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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|