ST. PETERSBURG — The Tampa Bay Rowdies earned a point against Carolina for the first time in nearly two years.
The Rowdies, though, will likely focus on the two points they left behind.
Tampa Bay produced 10 shots on goal to the RailHawks' four and controlled the majority of the possession Wednesday, but only a 70th-minute equalizer from Tsuyoshi Yoshitake could salvage a point in a 1-1 draw with Carolina before 2,288 at Al Lang Field.
"A point, it's good," Rowdies coach Ricky Hill said. "It gives us a second game unbeaten, so to speak, in the league. It will give the players a lot of confidence because this time last year, perhaps we … would've not drawn that game. We might have lost that game. I felt the players were resilient."
The Rowdies (1-1-1) had to remain resilient after allowing a goal to Brian Shriver, a Clearwater High product, in the 66th minute. Shriver got loose along the back post and shot Mike Palacio's cross past goalkeeper Jeff Attinella (three saves) to put Carolina (0-0-3) in front.
"Obviously the goal was against the run of play," Rowdies forward Luke Mulholland said. "I felt like we dominated the second half as well. I feel like that was the only chance I can remember (Carolina) having."
Four minutes later, defender Frankie Sanfilippo sent a cross into the box toward Daniel Antoniuk, the Rowdies' tallest player at 6 feet 3. Antoniuk jumped to push a header toward the middle of the box, and Yoshitake charged the pass with a header of his own past goalkeeper Ray Burse (eight saves). Yoshitake's goal helped break a string of five straight losses to the RailHawks.
"We never gave up," Yoshitake said. "Everybody pushed up and tried talking to each other. We were much better the rest of the game."
Tampa Bay had ample chances to score more but couldn't convert on several well-designed opportunities. The Rowdies had three shots on goal in the first half, all during a 30-second sequence in the 40th minute.
In the second half. Mike Ambersley slotted a through pass to Yoshitake that left him one-on-one with Burse. Yoshitake maneuvered around the goalie, but by the time he settled the bouncing ball, Burse had recovered to stop the shot at the post.
"I think if we play like (tonight), we're going to win more games than we lose," Hill said.