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 tie Carolina in NASL opener

Rowdies defender Jay Needham protests after an offside call nullifies his would-be score in the first half. Tampa Bay outshoots Carolina 17-6 but settles for a scoreless tie.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Rowdies defender Jay Needham protests after an offside call nullifies his would-be score in the first half. Tampa Bay outshoots Carolina 17-6 but settles for a scoreless tie.

ST. PETERSBURG — For five months, Al Lang Stadium sat dormant in the afterglow of the Tampa Bay Rowdies' 2012 championship run.

But for the 4,232 attending the 2013 season opener, the celebration, it seemed, never stopped.

Before Saturday's match against Carolina, the Rowdies unveiled their new championship banner. The NASL Soccer Bowl trophy rested on a table next to the field as highlights from the title run played on a video screen.

Even former goalkeeper Jeff Attinella made a surprise appearance, stepping away from his duties with new club Real Salt Lake of MLS to see his former teammates and address the crowd.

The only thing missing from the party? A Rowdies victory.

The Rowdies remained unbeaten in home openers since their reemergence four seasons ago but felt unfortunate to come away with only one point against Carolina after a 0-0 draw.

"Disappointed that we didn't manage to take one of those opportunities that we created but delighted with the overall effort and application of the team," Rowdies coach Ricky Hill said.

Much of the Rowdies' firepower watched from the air-conditioned press box as starting forwards Mike Ambersley and Carl Cort were out injured. Their absence was noticeable, especially in the final third, where the Rowdies could not capitalize on a sizable edge in time of possession.

"It's encouraging that we're creating this many opportunities early on," substitute Devin Del Do said. "I think it is a bit disappointing that we couldn't have done better with our few chances."

The forward nearly broke the deadlock in the 87th minute when, while seated on the grass after having been knocked over, he headed a ball toward the open goal that was cleared away by a defender at the last moment.

Earlier, the Rowdies had a goal from Jay Needham in the 16th minute disallowed after the defender was whistled for offside.

In the 30th minute, Luke Mulholland curled a 25-yard free kick toward the top corner of the goal but was denied when RailHawks goalkeeper Akira Fitzgerald (seven saves) punched the ball away with a diving stop.

"Frustrated we didn't get the three points, but at the same time if we don't win, we don't lose," Mulholland said.

Rowdies keeper Andrew Fontein was rarely tested in his first professional start, making two saves for the shutout. Tampa Bay's defense kept Carolina from mounting any sustained threat.

"The most pleasing part of tonight has been the fact that Andrew managed to have a shutout," Hill said. "The defenders, all of them in front of him, played excellently and managed to engage and nullify Carolina's attacks before they actually got in our box."

The Rowdies play Saturday at San Antonio, the first NASL match at the Scorpions' new, 8,500-seat soccer-specific stadium.

Rowdies tie Carolina in NASL opener 04/06/13 [Last modified: Saturday, April 6, 2013 11:25pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Jameis Winston held his pro day at Florida State's indoor practice facility. His pro team will be getting one soon.
  2. Rays series preview: Who are the Pirates?

    Blogs

    After an off day Monday, the Rays head on the road to PNC Park for a three-game interleague series against the Pirates. Here's the information you need to know about Pittsburgh before the action kicks off.

    Record: 35-41, fourth in NL Central

    Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen, left, has rebounded from a rough start, while fellow outfielder Gregory Polanco, right, has fallen off recently.
  3. Countryside alum A.J. Andrews lands in ESPN's annual body issue (w/video)

    Softballpreps

    A.J. Andrews has taken over the spotlight in softball. Last year, the former Countryside High and LSU standout became the first female to win a Rawlings Gold Glove in the award's 59-year existence.

    Former Countryside and LSU softball standout A.J. Andrews will be among 23 athletes to be featured in ESPN The Magazine's body issue. "I have a really ripped back," Andrews says while laughing in the video. [Photo from video]

  4. James Wilder Jr. back at running back...in Canada

    Blogs

    Remember when former Plant High star and Florida State running back James Wilder Jr. announced he was switching to linebacker?

    That was short-lived, apparently.

  5. Cup-winning Lightning captain Dave Andreychuk makes Hockey Hall of Fame

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Hall of Fame coach Scotty Bowman said Dave Andreychuk's name has surfaced often the past eight years with the selection committee.

    30 Oct 2001:  Left wing Dave Andreychuk #25 of the Tampa Bay Lightning skates towards the blue line during the NHL game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Canada.  The Maple Leafs defeated the Lightning 3-2.  Mandatory Credit:  Dave Sanford /Allsport