TAMPA — The Rowdies' 2-1 loss at Miami in Tuesday's U.S. Open Cup was tough to digest for coach Paul Dalglish in more ways than one.
Dalglish wanted to win the second-round contest in the single-elimination tournament for the top five tiers of U.S. soccer so the Rowdies could next play MLS's Houston, the team Dalglish played for in two MLS Cup-winning seasons. Advancing to the third round also would have given his players a chance to be seen by MLS coaches.
But it was the way Tampa Bay lost to its U.S. Soccer Federation Division 2 rival that stung the most. The Rowdies had several near misses, including Long Tan's shot off the post in the 88th minute.
"The accumulation of all those things just made it a horrendous trip for us," Dalglish said. "It's been an accumulation of games where we're not getting what we deserve.
"The disappointment was just massive on a personal level and also from a coach's point of view. It's hard to tell the guys what they have to do to win the game because they're putting so much into it."
Take away their 3-0 win over an amateur team from Dallas in the U.S. Open Cup's first round and the Rowdies (5-4-3, 18 points) have lost four straight and been outscored 6-2. In that stretch, they have had goals called back, had one-goal losses to Montreal and Puerto Rico, and missed an open net twice in a 1-0 loss in Vancouver.
"I would be more worried if we were playing poorly and we weren't creating chances," Dalglish said. "Once we get that little bit of luck, someone's going to be on the end of a sore defeat from the Rowdies with the players we've got."
MIRROR IMAGE: Dalglish said he sees a lot in Portland, Tampa Bay's opponent Sunday, that resembles his team. The Timbers' 2-0 win over Minnesota on Saturday snapped an eight-match winless streak in which Portland went 0-5-3 and scored three goals.
"They haven't had much luck," Dalglish said. "But they are a very good side and one of the top organizations in our league."
The Timbers (4-5-4) have midfielder Ryan Pore, who leads the league in points (20) and goals (nine).
BACK AT HOME: The Rowdies have two practice days before heading west, something they haven't had much of in recent weeks, with midweek road games in the U.S. Open Cup and long travel days for league matches in Vancouver (a 14-hour trip) and Puerto Rico (a nine-hour trip).
"It's been tough," Dalglish said. "That takes its toll on the guys. … With all the travel, we've not had much time to work on anything. … It will be nice to have (today) and Friday to work on things."
KICKS IN THE GRASS: The July 4 night home game against Miami will include fireworks, in the middle and at the end of the match. … The Rowdies have the second-most goals in the league, 18 to Austin's 25, and the third-best goal differential, plus-4, trailing Austin (plus-10) and Vancouver (plus-5). … Midfielder Jeremy Christie's New Zealand World Cup team can advance to the elimination round today, most directly with a win over Paraguay. Christie played as a sub in the Kiwis' first two games.