Thursday, July 19, 2018
Sports

Rowdies hope heat, humidity help Saturday night vs. Edmonton

ST. PETERSBURG — If ever the Rowdies are going to take advantage of homefield, there might not be a better time.

Tampa Bay's opponent tonight at Al Lang Stadium is Edmonton. Those who don't have their weather apps handy, we'll save you some time: Low temperatures are around 40, highs in the mid 60s these days in Edmonton.

Down here, different story. New Rowdies striker Tom Heinemann played for Ottawa the previous two seasons and knows what's in store for Edmonton. He even knows when the effects might become visible.

"Right around the 65- to 70-minute mark," Heinemann said. "That's when you really start to struggle with the humidity. And that's when we can hope to break away from them."

To this point neither team has done much breaking away.

Georgi Hristov's penalty kick goal for the Rowdies in the 85th minute of last week's 1-1 result at Miami is the only goal scored by either Tampa Bay or Edmonton in a total of four games. The Rowdies' opener was 0-0 against Indy.

But they have looked more dangerous, especially in the second half at Miami where Tampa Bay dominated the chances. Edmonton, meanwhile, has only managed two shots on target, drawing 0-0 at Rayo OKC before getting blitzed 2-0 at home by Minnesota.

The way Tampa Bay's defense has looked thus far bodes well for the chances of Edmonton's account staying closed.

"Indy had only a couple of chances on us, and those were mostly from set plays. Then Miami with four very good attackers, we limited them to only a couple shots on target," Rowdies coach Stuart Campbell said. "And it's not just the defenders and the goalkeeper, who tend to get all the glory. … Defending starts up front, and we've done very well to defend as a team."

New centerback Neill Collins was named to the NASL team of the week for his efforts alongside Darnell King, Tam Mkandawire and Ben Sweat. The only Miami goal came on a loose ball from a corner kick.

But on offense the Rowdies are still trying to grow consistent in attack, something made more difficult by a mix of new players.

"If but for a few feet, we're having a different conversation. The goals will come," said Heinemann, referring to several personal near-goals, particularly a point-blank shot in the opener and a header that was well saved by Miami's Daniel Vega.

Edmonton's Matt Van Oekel presents another strong goalkeeper challenge, saving his team the point by pushing aside OKC's late flurry, then keeping the Minnesota game from being completely out of hand.

It will be interesting to see if Campbell changes the lineup. Hristov came off the bench last week and made an obvious impact, so he could get a first start. And forget starting: Will the Rowdies' Freddy Adu even make the list of seven eligible subs, which he has not done this season?

"It's very difficult," Campbell said of the lineup decisions. "It's a tough thing, but it's my job to put who I consider the best 18 players out on the pitch on a Saturday. It is a hard job."

He has another option now in 24-year-old British attacker Eliot Richards, who officially joined the squad Friday.

Campbell agrees the weather conditions might make the job harder on Edmonton.

"I can't imagine the (cold) in Edmonton. It feels like the height of summer here, so I imagine it's gonna be an advantage for us," he said.

Comments
Quarterback rankings: The best seasons in Buccaneers history

Quarterback rankings: The best seasons in Buccaneers history

It was Dec. 20, 1981, the final Sunday of the NFL regular season, and the NFC Central title was on the line. The Buccaneers were in Detroit, where the Lions hadn’t lost all season.The Lions, who were favored by a touchdown, took a 7-3 lead in t...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Judge grants ex-girlfriend’s restraining order against ex-Plant QB Robert Marve

Judge grants ex-girlfriend’s restraining order against ex-Plant QB Robert Marve

PLANT CITY — Robert Marve hesitated to get out of his attorney’s car when they pulled into the parking lot of the Plant City Courthouse on Thursday afternoon. The former Plant High and University of Miami quarterback was there to plead no contest to ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Longtime Tampa Catholic athletic director Nick DiMaggio dies

Longtime Tampa Catholic athletic director Nick DiMaggio dies

Nick DiMaggio, the longtime athletic director at Tampa Catholic who was a fixture at the school's sporting events for more than 50 years, died Wednesday from complications related to a stroke. Funeral arrangements have yet to be made."Nick was an ico...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Florida State defensive forecast not that simple

Florida State defensive forecast not that simple

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — His debut at the ACC kickoff attracted a wholly unsurprising assortment of topics. New FSU coach Willie Taggart was asked about his culture, his quarterbacks, his catch phrases.He handled each question deftly, hardly devi...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Willie Taggart: Francois’ offseason problems are ‘behind us’

Willie Taggart: Francois’ offseason problems are ‘behind us’

FSU coach Willie Taggart indicated Thursday the tumultuous offseason of QB Deondre Francois won't factor in to his quest for the starting job when preseason camp commences next month."He's handled his consequences behind that, and he's moved on," Tag...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Dolphins anthem punishment includes suspensions

Dolphins anthem punishment includes suspensions

Miami Dolphins players who protest on the field during the national anthem could be suspended for up to four games under a team policy issued this week.The "Proper Anthem Conduct" section is just one sentence in a nine-page discipline document provid...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Seminole’s Brittany Lincicome shoots 78 in PGA Tour debut

Seminole’s Brittany Lincicome shoots 78 in PGA Tour debut

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. — Seminole native Brittany Lincicome shot a 6-over 78 in the first round of the Barbasol Championship, leaving the LPGA Tour pro's goal of making the cut likely out of reach.Lincicome was hoping to become the second woman to ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Rowdy fans tarnish most iconic climb of Tour de France

Rowdy fans tarnish most iconic climb of Tour de France

ALPE D’HUEZ, France — One of cycling’s big attractions is that fans don’t have to pay to watch — and they can get as close as they want to the riders. The sport paid for that unlimited access Thursday when unruly spectators interrupted the most iconi...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Rex Culpepper returns as Syracuse’s latest cancer conqueror

Rex Culpepper returns as Syracuse’s latest cancer conqueror

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Initially, Syracuse senior Eric Dungey thought it was a joke in poor taste. He had come to accept fellow quarterback Rex Culpepper as a prankster of sorts, but a crack about cancer? C'mon."I was like, 'You took this one t...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Willie Taggart, Auggie Sanchez reuniting in Tallahassee

Willie Taggart, Auggie Sanchez reuniting in Tallahassee

In a previous life, Auggie Sanchez was a disillusioned USF fullback pondering a transfer.Willie Taggart talked him into staying, obliging his desire to move to defense. A half-decade and 388 tackles later, Taggart is trying to help shape the trajecto...
Updated: 9 hours ago