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Tampa Bay Rowdies' offense still struggling to find net

Puerto Rico’s Marco Velez, left, and the Rowdies’ Pascal Millien fight for possession in rainy conditions that caused a 75-minute delay. After a scoreless tie, Tampa Bay has scored two goals in its past seven games.

EDMUND D. FOUNTAIN | Times

Puerto Rico’s Marco Velez, left, and the Rowdies’ Pascal Millien fight for possession in rainy conditions that caused a 75-minute delay. After a scoreless tie, Tampa Bay has scored two goals in its past seven games.

TAMPA — The FC Tampa Bay Rowdies' offensive drought continued through pouring rain Thursday night.

But considering the string of bad luck the Rowdies have experienced the first half of the season, Tampa Bay coach Paul Dalglish could see the silver lining around the storm clouds.

The Rowdies earned a 0-0 draw with Puerto Rico through the raindrops at Steinbrenner Field, but Tampa Bay's goal-scoring struggles continued as it has just two in seven games.

In one way, exacting one point was a victory. Tampa Bay (5-6-5, 20 points) has four starters, including leading scorer Aaron Wheeler and World Cup player Jeremy Christie, injured, forcing the Rowdies to win this inaugural season with youth.

"We've got half our team injured, we've got young players out there, we're an expansion team, we're all developing," Dalglish said. "Sometimes a point is a good result. I think it's one of those cases where getting a point against a really physical team is a good result. I think they're going to take a lot of confidence from this.

"I think maybe our luck is changing."

The Rowdies haven't won since Memorial Day weekend, the last time the Islanders (5-7-3, 18 points) visited Tampa. Since then, they're 0-5-2 in league play.

"It feels like a long time," rookie midfielder Pascal Millien said. "We see it there. It would be different if we didn't have the chances. The offense is there. If we score one goal, they're going to keep coming."

Thursday, Tampa Bay opened the second half of the season with the first of a four-game homestand. The game was postponed one hour, 15 minutes by rainstorms and lightning.

Millien nearly scored in the second minute, but his feed from Aaron King went wide. The UT grad pushed the ball along the field's left side full of infield dirt.

In the 41st minute, Mozzi Gyorio placed a perfect corner kick about 10 feet in front of the goal, but Rob Valentino's header was saved by Puerto Rico keeper Cody Laurendi.

Tampa Bay showered Puerto Rico's penalty box with nice balls throughout the second half but couldn't convert against the Islanders' packed defense of orange jerseys.

In the 54th minute, a ball rolled out to Takuya Yamada to the right of the goal, and he just missed wide of the far post. In the 78th minute, Millien found newcomer Andre Akpan along the right side, but his shot was wide. Akpan, on loan from the MLS's Colorado Rapids, almost scored in the 85th minute.

"We were dangerous at times," said captain Julian Valentin, who helped anchor a fine effort by the Rowdies' back row. "We just need to find the back of the net. When that comes, I think they will come in bunches."

Rowdies 0

P.R. 0

Tampa Bay Rowdies' offense still struggling to find net 07/16/10 [Last modified: Friday, July 16, 2010 1:25am]

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