Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Rowdies shut out Pittsburgh

ST. PETERSBURG — Alex Morrell had scored in a Rowdies uniform before, but that was in a U.S. Open Cup match. The former Lakeland high school star opened his USL account in style Saturday, converting twice for a 2-0 defeat of Pittsburgh.

In a knowing nod, coach Stuart Campbell pulled Morrell in the 90th minute, resulting in a standing ovation from the announced crowd of 5,737 at Al Lang Stadium.

Tampa Bay extended its unbeaten streak to four games, three of them victories.

With first-place Charleston tying Orlando City B on Saturday, the Rowdies (9-5-7, 34 points) are just three points back in the Eastern Conference, albeit with two teams in between, Charlotte and Louisville City, and both have played fewer games than the Rowdies.

Morrell's first goal set the tone, and the second calmed a potentially troubling stretch. The Riverhounds had sustained pressure, forcing a tough save by Tampa Bay's Matt Pickens in the 56th minute. But Morrell, who went to George Jenkins High, took Marcel Schafer's left-footed cross out of the air and pounded it down. The ball bounced high and over the head of defender Jamal Jack for a 2-0 edge in the 76th minute.

"I've been working on that all week in practice, some runs back post and balls over the top, working on that back-post volley," Morrell said. "It was a nice goal. It felt good."

The first score was the culmination of a well-worked sequence, and defender Zac Portillos' well-timed through ball to Schafer was the key. Schafer had no resistance on the left edge of the penalty box, and his pass made its way through several players before settling to Morrell.

Tampa Bay appeared to have doubled its advantage a quarter-hour later when Morrell got the worst of a 50-50 ball and fell to the turf, only to see it ricochet to Martin Paterson, who knocked the ball in. However, Morrell was called for a foul.

Pittsburgh finished with more shots, 14-13.

"It was unlike us," Campbell said. "We were turning the ball over a little bit too often, and that's something we normally don't do. But with the quality we have, sooner or later we're going to create another chance."

The Riverhounds have not won since defeating the Rowdies on June 22, drawing their previous four.

Rowdies shut out Pittsburgh 07/29/17 [Last modified: Saturday, July 29, 2017 10:23pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. College basketball scandal dips into Tampa Bay

    Preps

    Tuesday's national college basketball scandal has recruiting ties to Tampa Bay.

    In this March 15, 2012, file photo, San Diego State assistant coach Tony Bland, left, talks during NCAA college basketball practice in Columbus, Ohio. Bland was identified in court papers, and is among 10 people facing federal charges in Manhattan federal court, Tuesday in a wide probe of fraud and corruption in the NCAA, authorities said. [AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File]
  2. Lightning's Brayden Point could be perfect fit alongside Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov

    Lightning Strikes

    SUNRISE — Brayden Point ended last season as the Lightning's No. 1 center, thrust into the role as a rookie due to injuries.

    Lightning center Brayden Point (21) advances the puck through the neutral zone during Friday's preseason game against the Nashville Predators. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Times]
  3. For starters: Rays at Yankees, with Blake Snell starting, Wilson Ramos cashing in

    Blogs

    The Rays open their final road series of the season tonight at Yankee Stadium, which is also where they played their first of the season.

    LHP Blake Snell will be on the mound for the Rays, looking to continue his successful late-season run, in which he is 4-0, 2,57 over his last eight starts.

    Tonight marks Wilson Ramos' 55th start of the season.
  4. Cannon Fodder podcast: Considering Gerald McCoy's comments

    Bucs

    Greg Auman talks about Gerald McCoy's comments — both about fan criticism online and Donald Trump — in the latest episode of our Bucs Cannon Fodder podcast.

    Gerald McCoy, front, said Monday that he would love to have a conversation with any of the fans who take to social media to criticize him and his Bucs teammates. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  5. Alex Volkov with a top-six showcase for Lightning

    Blogs

    Alex Volkov entered Lightning camp a bit of an unknown, the second-round pick from Russia in his first NHL camp.

    Alex Volkov (79) works to stop Florida Panthers center Denis Malgin (62) during the second period of Sunday's game in Tampa.