Make us your home page

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 Edmonton in opener

Rowdies forward Georgi Hristov is sandwiched by Edmonton players while attempting to head the ball.


Rowdies forward Georgi Hristov is sandwiched by Edmonton players while attempting to head the ball.

ST. PETERSBURG — During the offseason, the Rowdies re-signed reigning NASL Golden Ball winner Georgi Hristov and added 2013 league goal-scoring champion Brian Shriver to add potency to an already prolific attack.

Related News/Archive

Instead, Edmonton's signing of Kareem Moses turned out to be the most impactful roster move for the Rowdies offense in Saturday's 2014 season opener.

Moses inadvertently knocked the ball over Edmonton goalkeeper John Smits off a cross from Tampa Bay's Darel Russell for an own goal. The Rowdies were denied victory when Edmonton's Tomi Ameobi headed a shot past Rowdies goalkeeper Matt Pickens in the 88th minute for a 1-1 draw in front of 7,003 at Al Lang Stadium.

"In any league, these are all dog fights. They're not going to be pretty," Pickens said. "The first month of the season is always like this. Super disappointed not to get three points, giving away a pretty cheap goal late in the game. Not an easy pill to swallow."

Moses' own goal came immediately after the Rowdies' best chance to score themselves. On a 25-yard free kick from the left side, Anthony Wallace curled a pass into the middle of the box, missing the outstretched foot of Shriver by inches.

Edmonton tried to clear, but the Rowdies kept the ball in the offensive zone and eventually the ball found the feet of Russell near the goal line. Russell ripped a pass across the face of the goal, which struck Moses and ricocheted over Smits from 8 yards away.

Ameobi's tying goal came on a counterattack. Edmonton's Ritchie Jones collected the ball on the right wing and crossed toward the back post, where Ameobi was waiting unmarked.

"We have to transition a lot better, particularly at that stage of the game whereby it's critical," Rowdies coach Ricky Hill said. "We're five minutes away from a clean sheet, and we have to show a better level of concentration in those moments."

Pickens, signed 17 days before the start of the season from Major League Soccer's Colorado Rapids to help offset the loss of regular starter Diego Restrepo (torn Achilles tendon), proved his value throughout the night. He made a penalty kick save against Edmonton's Neil Hlavaty in the 54th minute.

The spot kick was awarded when Frank Jonke was brought down inside the box by Pickens when they collided chasing a pass from beyond midfield. Hlavaty shot the penalty to Pickens' right, and the 32-year-old keeper stretched to make a diving stop.

"I don't know (Hlavaty). He doesn't know me," Pickens said. "That's sometimes good. I just got a good jump on it and put it out."

For large portions of the match, Tampa Bay's offense was nearly nonexistent. The Rowdies had seven shots on target but only a couple that threatened Smits.

"We need to be a little braver collectively in terms of taking responsibility to maintain possession of the ball," Hill said.

Rowdies tie Edmonton in opener 04/12/14 [Last modified: Saturday, April 12, 2014 10:51pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. After offseason of work hard, play hard, DeSean Jackson ready to produce for Bucs


    TAMPA — There's no telling what DeSean Jackson will do once he gets a football in his hands. Perhaps that's why a camera crew followed his every move Wednesday while the Bucs' new $30 million receiver stood on a step of the hot tub that empties into a spacious, azure pool at his new, sprawling five-bedroom home in …

    DeSean Jackson jokes around with girlfriend Kayla Phillips at their Tampa home as a crew from HBO’s Hard Knocks documents their day.
  2. Rays journal: Jake Odorizzi goes on 10-day DL with back strain

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — RHP Jake Odorizzi is hoping his struggles this season can be tied directly to the lower-back strain he has tried to pitch through since spring training. Toward that end, the Rays placed Odorizzi on the 10-day disabled list Wednesday retroactive to Tuesday.

    Rays center fielder Mallex Smith smiles after hitting a single advancing runners in the third inning. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]
  3. Playoff chase heats up for Rays with key series at Yankees up first (w/ video)

    The Heater


    It was important that Evan Longoria crushed a two-run homer in the sixth inning Wednesday and Steven Souza Jr. blasted a solo shot off the farthest catwalk an inning later.

    Adeiny Hechavarria (11) and Tim Beckham (1) celebrate the double play to end the top of the sixth inning. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times]
  4. Rays at Yankees, 7:05 p.m. Thursday, New York

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Yankees

    7:05, Yankee Stadium, New York

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer (22) throwing in the first inning of the game between the Texas Rangers and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Saturday, July 22, 2017.
  5. Roger Mooney's takeaways from Wednesday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    It is going to get interesting tonight when the Rays begin a four-game series against the Yankees in New York. The Rays feel they are good enough to win the East Division. These next four games and the four that follow in Houston will be a good measuring stick.