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)

Tampa Bay Rowdies beat Seattle Sounders

ST. PETERSBURG

In the days leading up to the Tampa Bay Rowdies' third-round U.S. Open Cup match against Major League Soccer's Seattle Sounders FC, Rowdies coach Ricky Hill suggested that his team's defense, when playing to its potential, was as good as a number of MLS teams.

On Wednesday, Hill's words rang prophetic.

Even though it was missing usual right back starter and captain Frankie Sanfilippo, the Rowdies defense repeatedly thwarted Seattle's attack, getting in the path of shots before they reached goalkeeper Diego Restrepo, tackling balls away at just the right moment and keeping the Sounders in perpetual frustration.

And when Georgi Hristov scored in the 75th minute, a raucous crowd of 4,124 at Al Lang Stadium went home delighted by a 1-0 Rowdies victory, their most significant this season.

"Saturday, we weren't great as a defensive unit," Hill said. "Today we went in with the same defensive unit and it was like night and day. All credit to them."

The Sounders, winners of three of the past four Cup competitions, had a golden opportunity late in the match when they were awarded a penalty kick in the 84th minute after Rowdies defender Jordan Gafa used his hand to clear a shot off of the line as it was headed for the back of the net and was red-carded.

Obafemi Martins took the penalty kick, and Restrepo guessed correctly, diving right to push the shot away from goal and preserve his first shutout of the season.

"I give big credit to Shane (Hill) for telling me (Martins) was going to go there from past games," Restrepo said. "Shane told me, 'He always goes there.' So I just went with Shane, and thankfully (Martins) put it there."

The Rowdies next play two road matches in their league, NASL, against Edmonton on Sunday and against Carolina on June 8. Their fourth-round Cup opponent will likely be the Portland Timbers (MLS) on June 12. Portland led the Wilmington Hammerheads 5-1 in the second half late Wednesday night.

The Rowdies scored off of a well-worked set piece. Hill, near the midfield stripe, sent a free kick into the middle of the field for second-half substitute Mike Ambersley. The St. Louis native, making his second appearance this season for the Rowdies, played a through ball into the path of Keith Savage, charging hard toward the Sounders' goal. Savage, one-on-one with goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann, had his shot saved, but Hristov was free on the back post to slip the rebound into the goal.

It was Hristov's team-leading seventh goal of the season. The Bulgarian has scored all three goals for the Rowdies in the U.S. Open Cup.

"One thing Mike brings is that composure and that little bit of class in his execution," Ricky Hill said. "As it turned out, everything went well. It was three good passes. Keith found himself clear in front of the goal. The keeper pulled off a very good save, and Georgi, as he has been in recent times, always hunting, always looking to finish things off … was there."

The win was the first of the season for the Rowdies at Al Lang, against a team at the highest level of the American pro soccer pyramid.

"This was a game for (the Rowdies) to showcase themselves and to make a name for themselves in front of their home fans," Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said. "It's what the Open Cup competition is all about. They took advantage of that opportunity."

Tampa Bay Rowdies beat Seattle Sounders 05/29/13 [Last modified: Thursday, May 30, 2013 10:08am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Ole Miss football coach Hugh Freeze resigns over 'inappropriate conduct' (w/ video)

    College

    OXFORD, Miss. — Mississippi coach Hugh Freeze was at Jackson Country Club on Wednesday night, giving his yearly rah-rah speech about the Rebels overcoming adversity and getting ready for the college football season.

    If Hugh Freeze hadn’t resigned, Ole Miss says it would have fired him for violating his contract’s moral turpitude clause.
  2. Fennelly: With playoff chase in high gear, it's time for Rays to make a move

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG

    Thursday was an off-day for the Rays, who are coming off a solid western swing. I assume there was no rest for the tag-team Rays baseball brain trust of Matt Silverman, Erik Neander and Chaim Bloom, whose job it is to improve this team in advance of the trade deadline. They've done a good job …

    Evan Longoria is glad to see the Rangers coming to town: He’s batting .296 against them with 15 homers and 56 RBIs in 69 career games.
  3. Rays vs. Rangers, 7:10 p.m. Friday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Rangers

    7:10, Tropicana Field

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

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Alex Cobb #53 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
  4. Good news for Rays on Steven Souza Jr. as MRI shows 'no damage' to hip

    Blogs

    The Rays got good news today on RF Steven Souza Jr., as an MRI showed "no damage" to his left hip.

    Steven Souza Jr. #20 of the Tampa Bay Rays holds his leg after hurting himself trying to steal second base in the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at Oakland Alameda Coliseum on July 19, 2017 in Oakland, California.
  5. Bucs raise prices for single tickets to marquee games

    Blogs

    The Bucs will have single-game tickets for 2017 home games on sale July 28, with a new wrinkle: the best games will cost more for fans.

    Bucs fans cheer Jameis Winston after a victory in their final home game of the 2016 season. Individual tickets for the Bucs' three most coveted home games (against the Patriots, Bears and Giants) will cost more in 2017.