JACKSONVILLE — The Rowdies entered Saturday with an outside shot at winning the NASL's spring season title but fell short with a 1-1 tie against Jacksonville.
Tampa Bay (4-2-4) needed to score at least six goals and win by five or more to pull ahead of the New York Cosmos for the title. Instead, it finished with 16 points and will be two behind the winner, who will be determined today by the result of the Fort Lauderdale-Edmonton game.
Jacksonville defender Shawn Nicklaw was shown a straight red card in the 46th minute, but six minutes later Jacksonville scored first, on Junior Sandoval's long-range strike.
A long-range goal from Junior Burgos in the 84th minute tied it.
"I'm frustrated by the result," Rowdies coach Stuart Campbell said. "We created lots of opportunities. Their keeper made a couple of good saves, and we had some bad finishes.
"It was a bizarre game. I almost felt like we were the home team because they were sitting so deep and defending. They were letting us have the ball, and that's where we have to capitalize on the couple of chances that we created."
The Rowdies next play Wednesday in a U.S. Open Cup fourth-round match against MLS's Columbus Crew in Ohio.
They open the fall season against Jacksonville on July 2 at Al Lang Field.