Thursday, April 19, 2018
Sports

Two new Rowdies to get taste of rivalry against Cosmos

ST. PETERSBURG — After a 3-0 victory in which they set a season high for goals, the Rowdies have done anything but stand pat.

Tampa Bay added two international players this week, both 31 — Danish midfielder Martin Vingaard and Colombian forward Carlos Preciado.

If coach Stuart Campbell wanted his players not to get too secure in their jobs, that might've done the trick. So will knowing the search hasn't necessarily ended.

"They improve us," Campbell said. "Every prospective new signing we've been looking at — and there's been lots of them — one of the main criteria is they have to be coming in here and make a difference, improving the squad. And both of them do it."

Campbell wouldn't reveal if either player would start tonight against the first-place New York Cosmos at Al Lang Stadium.

Vingaard, issued No. 32, has never played outside of Denmark. He was the 2010 Danish player of the year with the country's largest club, FC Copenhagen, where he made 97 appearances between 2009-12. He also has nine games with the national team.

Campbell called Vingaard "creative … imposing" and the "kind that you love to watch play because he seems to be all over the field."

Preciado has totaled 18 goals for two Peruvian teams the past two seasons and played in Colombia before that.

"Carlos is quick and strong. … He makes good runs in behind defenders," Campbell said.

Vingaard called the decision to sign with Tampa Bay an easy one after he recently checked out the facilities. His feelings were reinforced when he saw the win over Puerto Rico last week.

"They played really well. I need to step up to have my minutes on the pitch," Vingaard said, adding the Rowdies played a "hard tempo" as opposed to the more sit-back, counterattack approach in Denmark.

Preciado (No. 29) said he had no concerns joining a team in midseason. He recently did so for Qatar's Al Sailiya, going there in January (four goals in 10 games).

"The most important thing is to get to know my teammates and adapt quickly," he said through an interpreter. "I'm very happy to be here. It's a new challenge. … The main goal is obviously to win a championship, but first, a really big (game) coming up right now."

Yes, even after a short time the new duo has an idea of the significance of Rowdies-Cosmos. Since the Cosmos' reboot in 2013, the teams are even, with two wins apiece and five draws.

"When the Rowdies are playing the Cosmos there's a certain buzz about the town," Campbell said. "The Rowdies want to beat the Cosmos. It's as simple as that."

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