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Rowdies clinch playoff berth despite loss to Ottawa

Tampa Bay gets in with Charleston’s loss to Atlanta.
Rowdies fans wave flags ahead of a 2017 game at Al Lang Field. (Times | 2017)
Published Sep. 19

OTTAWA — The Rowdies clinched a USL Championship playoff spot despite a 1-0 loss at Ottawa on Wednesday night. They got the berth with Charleston’s 3-1 loss to Atlanta.

This is the second time in three seasons the Rowdies have made the postseason. They were eliminated by New York Red Bulls II in extra time in the 2017 Eastern Conference semifinals.

The Rowdies (15-6-8, 53 points) are the fourth Eastern Conference team to clinch a playoff spot, joining New York Red Bulls II, Indy Eleven and Nashville SC. Ten teams from each conference make the playoffs, which begin Oct. 23.

The top six teams in each conference advance directly to the quarterfinals; the other four playoff teams match up in a play-in round. The Rowdies are in fourth place in the East with five matches remaining.

The Rowdies lost to Ottawa on a stoppage-time penalty from Wal Fall.

Ottawa got the opportunity in the 90th minute when Leo Fernandes tripped Chris Mannella just inside the penalty area. Fall then sent goalkeeper John McCarthy the wrong way from 12 yards.

Fall was sent off a minute later after receiving a second yellow card.


  1. Juan Tejada (right) and the Rowdies could not contain the Hartford Athletic in a 2-1 loss Saturday night. Hartford Athletic
    Tampa Bay’s loss means it will start the postseason with a tall order
  2. Tampa Bay Rowdies coach Neill Collins celebrates with players in a match against Memphis 901 FC at Al Lang Stadium on Aug. 24. MATT MAY  |  Matt May/Tampa Bay Rowdies
    Tampa Bay takes on Hartford Athletic on the road at in its final regular-season game Saturday.
  3. Is Saturday's game the last of the season at Al Lang Stadium for the Rowdies? MARTHA ASENCIO RHINE  |  Times
    Tampa Bay settles for a tie with Indy Eleven with one game remaining in the regular season.
  4. Ralph's Mob cheers on the Tampa Bay Rowdies as they take on the Charleston Battery on Saturday, June 15, 2019, at Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg. ALLIE GOULDING  |  Times
    The loss puts more importance on next weekend’s game with Indy Eleven.
  5. Lucky Mkosana appears in a match against the Ottawa Fury FC at Al Lang Stadium on June 29, 2019. The Rowdies won the match 2-1. MATT MAY  |  Matt May/Tampa Bay Rowdies
    The Saturday night matchup on the road with be a tough test for Tampa Bay, which has clinched a playoff spot but hosting is still up for grabs.
  6. The playoff-bound Rowdies are giving fans plenty of reasons to cheer. ALLIE GOULDING  |  Times
    With better postseason seeding a possibility, Tampa Bay blasts Bethlehem Steel FC 6-1.
  7. Rowdies fans wave flags ahead of a 2017 game at Al Lang Field. (Times   |   2017)
    Tampa Bay gets in with Charleston’s loss to Atlanta.
  8. The Rowdies take on Atlanta United 2 at Al Lang Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019. MATT MAY  |  Tampa Bay Rowdies
    Tampa Bay moves closer to a playoff berth in the USL Championship’s Eastern Conference.
  9. Colombia right back Luis Orejuela exits the pitch after a match against Venezuela on Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019. Colombia and Venezuela drew 0-0. [Ryan Kolakowski] RYAN KOLAKOWSKI  |  Ryan Kolakowski
    Colombia and Venezuela supporters in Tampa Bay converged on Raymond James Stadium for a “friendly” international soccer match.
  10. Colombia forward Luis Muriel (19) reacts after scoring his second goal during the first half of a friendly against Brazil on 
Friday at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami. Colombia faces off against Venezuela Tuesday at Raymond James Stadium. LYNNE SLADKY  |  AP
    Teams meet Tuesday with sights set on next year’s qualifiers for 2022 World Cup