Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Sports

Tampa Bay Rowdies score twice in final minutes, beat San Antonio 3-2

ST. PETERSBURG — Last weekend, the Rowdies had perhaps their most impressive victory this season, rallying on the road to hand Minnesota its first home loss.

But to keep the momentum going Saturday night to start a three-game homestand, Tampa Bay had to get past a team undefeated on the road.

The Rowdies did it in stunning fashion.

Trailing San Antonio 2-1, Tampa Bay scored twice in the final minutes, including the winner by Tsuyoshi Yoshitake with the very last kick of the game for a 3-2 victory.

Not only was it the first time the first-year Scorpions (6-2-4) lost away from home, it was the first time the Rowdies (5-5-3) beat San Antonio in three meetings, with two at Al Lang Field.

"The way we were able to come back, from that perspective, did a world of good for our players," Tampa Bay coach Ricky Hill said. "Last week's game against Minnesota was a catalyst for this to some degree."

In the first half, the Scorpions kept finding open spaces in front and had eight shots, six on goal. Still, Tampa Bay goalkeeper Jeff Attinella, a former USF and Countryside High standout who entered with a league-best 49 saves, thwarted most of them.

But one got away in the 28th minute when Jonathan Greenfield scored to give the Scorpions a 1-0 lead.

The Rowdies, who had three shots in the first half, came to life late when Yoshitake headed in a goal off an assist from Keith Savage in the 39th minute for a tie at 1 at halftime.

That was the first goal San Antonio keeper Daryl Sattler had allowed since May 27. Sattler, who played for Tampa Bay the previous two seasons, saw his league-best goals-against average increase from 0.37 to 0.66.

The second half was a fac­simile of the first. Again, the Scorpions scored early, from Esteban Bayona in the 53rd minute.

But the Rowdies have showed a penchant for last-minute panache. They had 13 shots in the second half and their aggressive offense paid off on Luke Mulholland's goal off a free kick in the 88th minute to tie. At Minnesota, Savage scored in the 87th minute from the outside.

"It's crazy the way this game turned out," he said. "We were talking about how the bounces weren't going our way. Tonight, lady luck was with us."

The three goals were the most San Antonio has allowed since April 15, a 4-0 loss to Puerto Rico. It was the first time the Scorpions had allowed a goal in four games.

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