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)

Tampa Bay Rowdies goalless in three straight matches after 0-0 draw against Puerto Rico

ST. PETERSBURG — In the past two weeks of this surprisingly successful North American Soccer League season, Tampa Bay had been challenged to rebound from a tough performance, including a spirit-sapping 4-0 loss to San Antonio on Sunday.

Now with the playoffs in sight, the Rowdies had to make a stand Saturday to get a better view of them.

Tampa Bay, coming off one of its worst defensive performances, turned in one of its best in a 0-0 tie against Puerto Rico as the Rowdies salvaged a point despite being shut out for the third consecutive game.

Tampa Bay (10-7-6) remained tied with Puerto Rico (10-7-6) for second in the standings and can secure a playoff spot with a win Sept. 1 at Fort Lauderdale along with some help. The top six teams in the eight-team league reach the postseason; the top two seeds get byes into the semifinals.

"I was disappointed for the players," Rowdies coach Ricky Hill said. "The effort and enthusiasm was there and they deserved more than a point. After last week, I thought the players regrouped, especially the back four, and gave us a sterling performance tonight on defense."

Much of the beauty of Saturday's game was in its struggle.

From tough defense to cramping desperation, the teams played valiantly through regular time plus four minutes of extra time.

But the Rowdies still could not score and have not done so since a 3-3 tie Aug. 4 at Carolina.

The defense, though, came through.

To clamp down on Puerto Rico's high-powered offense, the Rowdies had to take the ball and refuse to give it back. Without possession, the Islanders could not unfurl their attack. Even when it won the ball, Puerto Rico lost it again quickly at midfield.

In the first half, Tampa Bay outshot Puerto Rico 9-5 and had more corner kicks (6-3). In the second half the Rowdies had their chances with a penalty kick and a corner kick opportunity that missed.

"I thought this was a much better performance than last week," said Tampa Bay goalkeeper Jeff Attinella, a former Countryside High and USF standout. "That was a wakeup call. We tightened up and kept everything in front of us. Their shots were 18-20 feet away, which helped me. We just have to keep doing this the rest of the way."

Rowdies 0

Puerto Rico 0

Tampa Bay Rowdies goalless in three straight matches after 0-0 draw against Puerto Rico 08/25/12 [Last modified: Saturday, August 25, 2012 10:53pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rowdies shut out at Pittsburgh


    PITTSBURGH — The Rowdies lost their first USL game in nearly a month, 1-0 to Pittsburgh on Thursday night.

  2. LSU's Paul Mainieri defends FSU's Mike Martin; Gators play Friday


    OMAHA, Neb. — LSU coach Paul Mainieri says whether Florida State's Mike Martin ever wins a national championship should have no bearing on how his long career in college baseball is judged.

    MADE IT: Josh Watson beats the tag of Louisville catcher Colby Fitch during TCU’s 4-3 win in the College World Series.
  3. Lightning fans, don't get attached to your first-round draft picks

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — When Lightning GM Steve Yzerman announces his first-round pick tonight in the amateur draft at No. 14, he'll invite the prospect onto the stage for the once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity.

    Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin (27) eludes  Montreal Canadiens left wing Phillip Danault (24) during the second period of Wednesday???‚??„?s (12/28/16) game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Montreal Canadiens at the Amalie Arena in Tampa.
  4. Lightning GM Steve Yzerman also has top-9 wing on his wish list

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — Much has been made about the Lightning's interest in bolstering its blue line, even after last week's acquisition of defense prospect Mikhail Sergachev.

    Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman gestures as he speaks to the media about recent trades during a news conference before an NHL hockey game against the Carolina Hurricanes Wednesday, March 1, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. The Lightning, over the past few days, have traded goaltender Ben Bishop to the Los Angeles Kings, forward Brian Boyle to the Toronto Maple Leafs, and forward Valtteri Filppula to the Philadelphia Flyers. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA101