Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Sports

Rowdies' spring title hopes fade

TAMPA — Mathematically, the Rowdies still have a chance to win the NASL spring season title. Realistically, they must wait until the fall to try to earn a spot in the Soccer Bowl.

With two games left, Tampa Bay sits in fourth, five points behind first-place Atlanta. To remain in contention, the Rowdies must win at Atlanta on Saturday and hope Minnesota and Carolina tie. And that's just to stay alive for one more week.

Coach Ricky Hill, whose team has lost three straight, said he will concern himself with only what he can control: his team.

"My only focus is putting together a more consistent performance; 90 minutes of top-quality play, which we are capable of doing and which we were not far off only a week ago," said Hill, whose team allowed a late goal to lose 2-1 to visiting San Antonio on Saturday. "Only we can turn it around. We've always felt that if you can't win, you don't lose. We need to get back to that mantra as soon as we can."

Formation change: Hill tinkered with the formation Saturday, discarding the 4-4-2 he had used all season for a 4-3-1-2 that allows for more attacking options. He said he was pleased with the results despite limited practice time.

"I think we can afford to have another forward body in advanced areas to maybe be more of an attacking threat," he said; "maybe be able to keep the ball for longer periods higher up the field as opposed to having to build up from deeper."

Two to one: MF Shane Hill's suspension was reduced from two games to one on appeal, so he will be available Saturday. Hill was given a red card for a postgame skirmish in Carolina on June 8. But Hill goes on probation, meaning the two-game suspension returns if he's involved in a similar incident.

Perfect attendance: The Rowdies will have all of their players available Saturday.

D Takuya Yamada, who missed two games with a groin injury, practiced all week. D Andres Arango also will return from a red card suspension. F Carl Cort remains healthy after playing about 30 minutes against San Antonio. And D Jordan Gafa, dealing with a hamstring injury, practiced Thursday.

Only once this season have the Rowdies fielded the same starting lineup in consecutive games, May 25 against Minnesota and May 29 against Seattle.

Comments
Lightning plays the waiting game

Lightning plays the waiting game

TAMPA — Had Boston closed out Toronto on Monday, Game 1 of the Lightning-Bruins series would have been Wednesday. Instead, the Lightning returned to the ice Tuesday still awaiting its opponent for the conference semifinals that begin later this...
Updated: 29 minutes ago
Rays-Orioles postponed, doubleheader planned for May 12

Rays-Orioles postponed, doubleheader planned for May 12

UPDATE, 6:06: The Rays will stay in rotation, so Faria will slide back a day and pitch Wednesday, vs. Cobb, and Archer will get an extra day's rest and pitch Thursday, against RHP Dylan Bundy.Also of note, Cash said 3B Matt Duffy (right hamstring str...
Updated: 1 hour ago
How the Lightning did its best work on the Devils shorthanded

How the Lightning did its best work on the Devils shorthanded

TAMPA — The Lightning rolled past the Devils in five games of the Stanley Cup playoffs quarterfinal series largely because the penalty kill became a beast, killing off 16 of 19, including the final 15 when down a man.Two of those three goals al...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Five options if the Bucs want to trade down from No. 7

Five options if the Bucs want to trade down from No. 7

For months, NFL fans have wondered what the Bucs might do with the No. 7 pick in Thursday's draft, producing a wide range of answers, each with passionate support from some of their fans.But as draft nears, and as the interest level in a talented gro...
Updated: 3 hours ago
HomeTeam 25: Baseball rankings for Tampa Bay

HomeTeam 25: Baseball rankings for Tampa Bay

1. Calvary Christian (23-0)This week: Today at Jesuit, Friday vs. St. PetersburgThe buzz: The Warriors are ranked No. 1 in the nation by USA Today. The win streak is now 53 games. Venice was a big threat last week, but ace Nolan Hudi held the Indians...
Updated: 3 hours ago
USF extends Mark Harlan’s contract

USF extends Mark Harlan’s contract

As expected, USF athletic director Mark Harlan has signed a contract extension that will keep him at the school through the 2020-21 school year.Harlan recently entered the final year of the original five-year deal he signed in March 2014 that paid hi...
Updated: 3 hours ago
For starters: Rays at Orioles, facing Cobb, weather permitting

For starters: Rays at Orioles, facing Cobb, weather permitting

The Rays are set to get their first look at an old friend tonight, as Alex Cobb will be on the mound for the Orioles, weather permitting.Heavy rain is forecast for the Baltimore area, though Orioles officials seem confident there will be a window for...
Updated: 3 hours ago
USF men win fourth consecutive AAC golf title

USF men win fourth consecutive AAC golf title

Only 445 yards separated USF's resident runner-up from the 2018 breakthrough he coveted.Two or three more swings, and Bulls senior Claudio Correa's first individual title of the season would be in the bag, right where his team's conference title alre...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Bruins … Leafs … doesn’t matter. Lightning’s got this

Bruins … Leafs … doesn’t matter. Lightning’s got this

TAMPA — The Bruins and Maple Leafs play Game 7 Wednesday night in Boston.Let them.Let them beat each other's brains in for all the Lightning care. Let it go to overtime. Let it go to six overtimes. Lightning players and coaches will be watching...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Could Washington DT Vita Vea be the Bucs’ real target at No. 7 in the draft?

Could Washington DT Vita Vea be the Bucs’ real target at No. 7 in the draft?

Vita VeaPosition: Defensive tackleSchool: WashingtonHeight/weight: 6-4, 347Draft projection: Round 1Why Vita Vea makes sense for the Bucs: Vea's combination of size and quick feet is rare. He ran a 5.1 40-yard dash and bench pressed 225 pounds 40 tim...
Updated: 5 hours ago