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Rowdies rally to tie Edmonton

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rowdies ended their long home scoreless streak but on a night when they needed a victory, the had to settle for a 1-1 draw to Edmonton on Saturday.

Georgi Hristov's penalty kick in the 68th minute was Tampa Bay's first score at Al Lang Stadium since Aug. 16. Former Rowdie and Northeast High standout Chad Burt put Edmonton ahead 1-0 late in the first half.

Edmonton had to play with 10 men during a four-minute stoppage time, but the Rowdies, despite some good buildup, never got off a quality shot attempt.

"We needed a three-point result (Saturday)," said Rowdies coach Ricky Hill.

"We haven't been clinical enough or composed enough. We put umpteen players forward hoping for a little bit of magic."

Tampa Bay is 5-5-2 in the NASL's fall season. In the combined fall and spring standings, where the top four will reach the playoffs, the Rowdies sit six points behind fourth-place Carolina with six games remaining.

Fort Lauderdale, which beat Carolina 1-0 Saturday to pull within two points of the Railhawks, comes to St. Petersburg on Wednesday in a virtual must-win for Tampa Bay.

"It's the same scenario as (Saturday). It seems like it's been like this way for a while," said Rowdies goalie Matt Pickens. "It's been disappointing. We know we're a better team than the results show."

Minutes after entering the game, Rowdies midfielder Evans Frimpong drew a foul about 30 yards from the goal. The free kick went into a crowd of players and Kareem Moses of Edmonton (5-4-5) was called for a foul. Hristov buried the penalty kick.

Pickens preserved a point with a right-foot save against Tomi Ameobi, who broke in all alone in the 76th minute.

"It's scary when you have a fast guy coming at you like that," Pickens said. "And it was worse because he was coming right down the middle, so I couldn't get an angle. You just try to be patient and make the save."

The Rowdies outshot Edmonton 22-14 but only eight were on frame.