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Rowdies falter at Orlando City in U.S. Open Cup

Tampa Bay coach Neill Collins gets a late red card for coming onto the field.
Rowdies coach Neill Collins, shown here during a 2020 practice, gets a red card late during Wednesday's match against Orlando City.
Rowdies coach Neill Collins, shown here during a 2020 practice, gets a red card late during Wednesday's match against Orlando City. [ SCOTT KEELER | Times ]
Published Apr. 21|Updated Apr. 21

ORLANDO — The Rowdies were unable to overcome a two-goal deficit in the second half, falling to Orlando City 2-1 Wednesday in the third round of the U.S. Open Cup, a match that saw Tampa Bay coach Neill Collins get ejected late after picking up a red card.

With Orlando trying to stall before a Rowdies free kick in the 91st minute, Collins came onto the field and kicked the ball, leading to the red card and ejection.

After a scoreless first half, Orlando got on the board first thanks to a penalty kick in the 51st minute. The Major League Soccer team seemingly got a break in the 61st minute when an apparent handball was not called, then 65 seconds later scored again for a 2-0 lead.

Lucky Mkosana soon cut the deficit to 2-1, but the Rowdies did not have many chances to equalize. Orlando outshot its counterparts from the USL Championship 10-7, including 6-2 in the second half.

“I thought every decision we could have got, we didn’t. Every decision they could have got, they did,” Collins said. “They seemed to make up some stuff as they went along. But look, we’re very happy with our performance. Lots for us to build on.”

Orlando began the match with only one of its top-seven players, by minutes played, in the lineup. But an evenly played first half brought three regulars into the match.

Rowdies defender Guillen engaged with Benji Michel, who dropped to the turf gaining the penalty call in the second half. Alexandre Pato converted for Orlando’s 1-0 advantage.

The Rowdies thought they had earned their own penalty kick 10 minutes later, but a handball was not called on Orlando, which quickly turned around for a goal from Junior Urso. The Rowdies answered right back with Mkosana’s goal in the 64th minute, but it wasn’t enough.

Orlando, showing the Rowdies plenty of respect, sat back and passed the ball to eat time for much of the rest of the match rather than push forward.

Tampa Bay nearly scored in the first minute of the match on a cross by Dayonn Harris to Sebastian Guenzatti, who felt his header was punched over the goal by the hand of an Orlando player. Orlando did not have an attempt on goal until the 16th minute.

“We should have had a penalty. Handball. The night kind of went like that,” Collins said. “Really proud of the boys. Now it’s up to us to keep winning the points in the league.”

The announced attendance was 8,057 at Exploria Stadium.

The Rowdies get a short rest before taking on New York in Montclair, N.J., on Saturday at 1 p.m.


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