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 face Edmonton on Saturday night in home opener

Forward Luke Mulholland helped Minnesota to the NASL title with key playoff goals last season.

Tampa Bay Rowdies

Forward Luke Mulholland helped Minnesota to the NASL title with key playoff goals last season.

TAMPA — Luke Mulholland's winning goal, the one that grounded a promising 2011 postseason run for third-seeded Tampa Bay before it ever took flight, barely had enough steam to cross the goal mouth.

The ball bounced lazily past Tampa Bay goalkeeper Jeff Attinella, about a foot inside the far post. After the fact, Mulholland admitted he was aiming his 20-yard free kick for the near post.

Mulholland's shot actually deflected off the outstretched leg of Shane Hill manning the middle of Tampa Bay's three-man wall, redirecting the ball past Attinella, who was leaning the opposite way.

As Mulholland ran over to the Minnesota Stars' bench to celebrate, a knowing smile forced its way onto his lips.

The goal wasn't pretty, Mulholland knew. The 1-0 score, however, was.

"I was surprised that it got in, but, obviously, in that situation, that game, we'll take any goal," Mulholland said. "I think it's just all about your hard work. It's going to pay off irrelevant to how the ball goes in. A goal is a goal, so the scrappy ones are as important as the good-looking goals."

After dispatching Tampa Bay in the quarterfinals of the NASL playoffs, Minnesota — behind two winning goals from Mulholland, a late-season roster addition at forward — went on to claim the league title.

He will try to provide the same spark for Tampa Bay this season, starting tonight as the Rowdies square off against Edmonton in their home opener at Al Lang Field. Mulholland, a Preston, England, native, was signed by the Rowdies during the offseason.

"He knocked us out. … I think he's got a few bruises from the boys to thank him for coming here and thank him for doing that," Rowdies coach Ricky Hill said jokingly. "Even though he's smaller in stature, he's brave in regards to how he receives the ball and uses the ball, and is always looking to penetrate and cause defenders problems. He's one of those players that will always be buzzing around, always looking to threaten, always looking to try to do creative things."

Mulholland, 23, joined Minnesota in September 2011 immediately after a successful professional debut season for the Wilmington Hammerheads of the USL Pro league. He led the Hammerheads with nine goals and 23 points, and he was named the league's rookie of the year.

Tampa Bay wanted to bring Mulholland in for a weeklong trial after his stay at Wilmington, but Minnesota snatched him up first for the remainder of the season. With the Rowdies switching to a 4-3-3 formation this season, he became a must-have addition, even if he was the enemy just a few months prior.

"If he doesn't score any goals this year, we'll give him grief about (last season's goal)," Attinella said, smiling.

. Tonight

Rowdies vs. Edmonton

When/where: 7:30; Al Lang Field, St. Petersburg

Records: Rowdies 0-1-0, Edmonton 0-0-1

Tickets: $20 sideline reserved, $17 lower goal reserved, $14 general admission, $12 berm (not available for purchase day of game); online at Rowdiessoccer.com, box office opens three hours before game time

Parking: $5 in the lots and garages near Al Lang Field

Gates: Open at 6:30

Pregame: A new fan zone, which features food and interactive games, opens outside the third-base side of the stadium. The fan zone and a field-level beer garden open at 5:30.

Promotion: Free Roll-A-Banner to the first 100 fans

Notes: Rowdies F Fafa Picault continues to nurse a broken big toe and will not be available again, although he hopes to be out of his walking boot by game time. … Edmonton D Paul Hamilton returns from suspension.

Bryan Burns, Times correspondent

. Tonight

Rowdies home opener

When/where: vs. Edmonton, 7:30 tonight; Al Lang Field, St. Petersburg No TV or radio but watch online at Rowdiessoccer.com.

Tampa Bay Rowdies face Edmonton on Saturday night in home opener 04/13/12 [Last modified: Friday, April 13, 2012 9:40pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. History shows Ole Miss upheaval tough to overcome

    College

    After Mississippi football coach Hugh Freeze resigned Thursday, with the opener six weeks away, offensive line coach Matt Luke is being thrown into an interim head coaching position. He will try to save a season that already had been scarred by a self-imposed bowl ban for NCAA violations.

    After coach Jim Tressel resigned, Ohio State went 6-7, including a loss to Florida in the Gator Bowl, in 2011.
  2. Bucs add top executive from MLS to business side

    Blogs

    The Bucs have hired a top executive from Major League Soccer to their business operations in Atul "AK" Khosla, who has spent the last six years as chief operating officer of Major League Soccer's Chicago Fire.

    Atul Khosla, 38, spent the last six years as chief operating officer of MLS' Chicago Fire. He joins the Bucs as their new chief corporate development and brand officer.
  3. Minors also a training ground for umpires with big-league dreams

    The Heater

    Umpire Tom Fornarola, 23, left, and Taylor Payne, 24, facing, talk before the start of the Gulf Coast League game between the New York Yankees and the Detroit Tigers at the Tigertown complex in Lakeland, Fla. on Wednesday, July 5, 2017.
  4. For starters: Souza not in lineup vs. Rangers

    Blogs

     

  5. Remember that famous Fred McGriff TV commercial? He's back, in a parody

    Blogs

    If you've ever seen Fred McGriff's TV commerical for Tom Emanski's Defensive Drills video it will always be fresh in your mind, with the deadpan delivery and famously ill-fitting cap.

    Fred McGriff in his new commercial for Chassis, a men's grooming line, that looks a lot like his old one.