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 top Ottawa in spring season home finale

ST. PETERSBURG — Georgi Hristov was the NASL's Most Valuable Player in 2013 but had seen a statistical slip in recent years. Saturday marked the height of a recent turnaround, a great sign for the Tampa Bay Rowdies.

Hristov, a forward who scored the lone goal in Wednesday's U.S. Open Cup defeat of Cincinnati, slotted home two Saturday as the Rowdies won for a third time in eight days, dominating Ottawa 2-1 at Al Lang Stadium in front of 6,078.

"To play three games in one week is really, really hard, and we won all three," Hristov said. "The whole team has been working very hard. The goal scorer gets all the credit, but that really isn't the case."

The Rowdies are 4-2-3 (15 points) with one game left in the NASL's spring season, which they conclude Saturday at Jacksonville. Tampa Bay could win the spring season title thanks to first-place New York's defeat Saturday; the Rowdies would have to beat Jacksonville by at least six to make up the goal differential tiebreaker.

Hristov had one goal last season and two in 2014, and Saturday was just his fourth start of the spring. His finishing form Saturday resembled the 12-goal, eight-assist form that earned him the MVP in his first year with Tampa Bay.

Tampa Bay took the lead 20 minutes in Saturday when Kalif Alhassan passed to Hristov, who scooted past two Fury defenders. He faced a tough angle and chipped the ball perfectly over goalkeeper Romuald Peiser.

"He was confident coming in, so (the two-goal night) doesn't surprise me. I thought he would give the ball back, but Georgi saw something different," Alhassan said.

Ottawa (2-5-2, eight points) came in with just seven goals and needed a bit of fortune for the eighth as a shot block by Rowdies midfielder Juan Guerra went to Carl Haworth, who made it 1-1 in the 49th minute.

"To be honest, for a split second I thought, 'Here we go again,' " Rowdies coach Stuart Campbell said. "But we had the perfect response."

Less than four minutes later Tampa Bay was back on top when midfielder Joe Cole held the ball then passed to Hristov, who knocked it home.

Cole's free kick was saved in the 74th minute, then Alhassan's chip went just wide. For the first time in five games since joining the team, Cole — a bit dinged from an ankle injury — had to be subbed out as Justin Chavez came on in the 78th minute.

Rowdies top Ottawa in spring season home finale 06/04/16 [Last modified: Saturday, June 4, 2016 10:59pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. College World Series: Gators, LSU face off in all-SEC finals

    College

    OMAHA, Neb. — The matchup for the College World Series finals bolsters the case for those who say the best baseball in the land is played in the SEC.

    Florida’s Brady Singer, delivering during a CWS win over Louisville last week, is scheduled to start tonight against LSU.
  2. Jones: Fox Sports Sun shows depth in Rays coverage

    TV and Radio

    tom jones' two cents

    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.

    Best coverage

    Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria (3) makes a run home for a score in the in the final game of a three-game series between the Tampa Bay Rays and AL East rival the Baltimore Orioles at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, June 25, 2017.
  3. Brian Boyle says returning to Lightning a 'huge option'

    Blogs

    As former Lightning forward Brian Boyle approaches free agency this week, he said he's trying to stay busy.

  4. Rays journal: Blake Snell to rejoin rotation, Erasmo Ramirez heads to bullpen

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — LHP Blake Snell is rejoining the Rays' rotation, but the move has as much to do with helping the bullpen as it does with Snell's improvement during his time at Triple-A Durham.

    Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Erasmo Ramirez (30) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Cincinnati Reds Wednesday, June 21, 2017 in St. Petersburg.
  5. Rays' bullpen stars lit up in loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Saturday it was the soft underbelly of the bullpen that let one get away from the Rays, incurring the wrath of the team's faithful followers, who wondered why the high-leverage guys weren't pitching.

    Rays closer Alex Colome, coming in with the score tied in the ninth, allows three runs in his second straight poor outing.