Thursday, December 14, 2017
Sports

Puzzling Rowdies seek scoring touch tonight

ST. PETERSBURG — It would almost be easier if they weren't playing well.

That, at least, would give the Rowdies an easy-to-accept frame for why they are suffering through their roughest patch of the season.

Tampa Bay has lost three straight, five of six and has tasted victory just twice through 10 games of the NASL's fall season.

Last week the Rowdies dominated league-leading Edmonton, consistently breaking down a defense that has allowed just 10 goals in 19 games, nine fewer than anyone else. Tampa Bay made 21 shots on goal to just nine for Edmonton but lost 1-0.

Even Edmonton coach Colin Miller had to admit how "fortunate" his team was last Saturday to endure a constant Tampa Bay attack, and praise how strong a club the Rowdies are.

"Hearing the coach compliment us, how we're the best team they've played. … that just made it worse," Rowdies coach Stuart Campbell said.

With a dozen games remaining, the Rowdies hope their fortunes start to flip tonight at Al Lang Stadium as Tampa Bay hosts Rayo OKC (3-3-4) at 7:30.

Campbell has racked his brain trying to fix his team's lack of offense, which reached a level of frustration when Edmonton goalkeeper Matt Van Oekel made a half-dozen or so saves.

Tampa Bay (2-6-2) has been shut out four times in the fall. Since their best outing, a 3-0 win over Puerto Rico on July 16, the Rowdies have just one victory from the last seven matches.

Since that match new players were added, but anyone thinking that the introductions of Martin Vingaard, Carlos Preciado and Victor Pagliari Giro (known as PC) has mangled team chemistry is mistaken.

"That's what makes it even more frustrating. The spirit in camp is great. The camaraderie, everything's in place. It's all there but for the results," Campbell said. "We're just not getting the results our performances deserve. I can't fault the attitude, it's not that we're not giving the effort. All I can fault is we don't score the goals our performances deserve and our chances create."

Campbell would gladly take a string of low-scoring results like the four consecutive 1-0 decisions Edmonton has rolled off.

"Everybody can see we are playing well. I'd much rather be in Edmonton's boat, keep (taking) 1-0 results," Campbell said. Tampa Bay has scored more goals (11) than Edmonton (9) this fall.

Tampa Bay must go without starting defender Neill Collins, who left early against Edmonton with a calf injury that might keep him out several weeks. The Rowdies do regain the services of midfielder Keith Savage who is recovering from a severe stomach virus.

Coming into tonight's matches, Edmonton has 39 points, followed by New York (38), and spring season champion Indy (37). The Rowdies are not out of it, sitting in eighth place in the combined seasons with 24 points. But clearly they have to start making up ground.

"We definitely still have time, and games," Campbell said. "I genuinely believe in the players. I keep waiting for us to catch fire. We keep knocking at the door."

Comments
Are Tampa Bay Rays going to make a major deal involving Alex Colome, others? Well …

Are Tampa Bay Rays going to make a major deal involving Alex Colome, others? Well …

UPDATE, 4:02: It doesn't sound like the Rays and Cardinals will be making a deal today, Derrick Goold writing for the St. Louis Post Dispatch that Cardinals execs "leave the Walt Disney Dolphin resort with good feel for what Tampa Bay would be willin...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Mikhail Sergachev earning trust – and more minutes with Lightning

Mikhail Sergachev earning trust – and more minutes with Lightning

Coyotes center Clayton Keller is very familiar with fellow rookie Mikhail Sergachev, the Lightning defenseman.They both were picked in the top-10 of the 2016 NHL Draft, Keller at No. 7 and Sergachev No. 9 to Montreal. They faced each other in three w...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Veteran Jonny Venters, prospect Joe McCarthy among 13 Tampa Bay Rays spring invitees

Veteran Jonny Venters, prospect Joe McCarthy among 13 Tampa Bay Rays spring invitees

Inspiring veteran LHP Jonny Venters and intriguing prospect 1B/OF Joe McCarthy are among 13 players invited to major-league spring training camp with the Rays.Others coming as a result of signing minor-league contracts with invites are: RHP R.J. Alan...
Updated: 1 minute ago
‘Inside the NBA’ crew to call holiday game

‘Inside the NBA’ crew to call holiday game

The Inside the NBA studio team will call a Christmas night game in Los Angeles along with its other usual duties, Turner Sports announced Thursday.Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal, Kenny Smith and Ernie Johnson will be at Staples Center for the Lake...
Updated: 16 minutes ago
USF’s Nigel Harris eager for chance with hometown Bucs

USF’s Nigel Harris eager for chance with hometown Bucs

When Nigel Harris chose where to play college football, he wanted to stay home in Tampa at USF. And now, after playing for the Chargers and Giants as an NFL rookie, he's grateful for the chance to again prove himself in Tampa as the newest member of ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
NFL Power Rankings, Week 15: Carson Wentz's injury drops Eagles out of top five

NFL Power Rankings, Week 15: Carson Wentz's injury drops Eagles out of top five

What follows below is a ranking of all 32 NFL teams. To build this list, we consulted five objective measures of team strength: Pro Football Reference’s Simple Rating System, Football Outsiders’ Defense-adjusted Value Over Average ratings...
Updated: 2 hours ago
NFL Week 15: Tampa Bay Times staff picks

NFL Week 15: Tampa Bay Times staff picks

Week 15 starts and ends with disappointment — a Thursday night meeting of two of the more disappointing teams (Denver at Indianapolis) and a Monday night game that once had held high hopes locally (Atlanta at Tampa Bay). Once.Here's our picks f...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Captain’s Corner: Drop in gulf water temperature means it’s sea trout time

The gulf temperature has dropped significantly since our first real cold front last week. One day the water was in the mid 70s, then after the front, it fell to the low 60s. That caused speckled sea trout to become a reliable target. Redfish have bee...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Former USF star Courtney Williams makes national team pool

Former USF star Courtney Williams makes national team pool

Former USF women's basketball sensation Courtney Williams is one significant step closer to becoming an Olympian.Williams, who just completed her first full season with the WNBA's Connecticut Sun, is among 29 players who have been chosen for the 2017...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Tampa Bay Rays lose RHP Burch Smith in Rule 5 draft, keep Nick Ciuffo

Tampa Bay Rays lose RHP Burch Smith in Rule 5 draft, keep Nick Ciuffo

The Rays lost RHP Burch Smith in Thursday's Rule 5 draft but were happy to see him get an opportunity in Kansas City.They also were pleased to hang on to C Nick Ciuffo, who was left exposed but not selected.Smith, 27, was acquired from the Padres as ...
Updated: 4 hours ago