The Tampa Bay Rowdies opened the 2012 NASL season Saturday night with a 1-0 loss to the Puerto Rico Islanders at Bayamon Soccer Complex in Bayamón, Puerto Rico.
Puerto Rico scored the game's lone goal in the 69th minute when Nicholas Addlery beat Rowdies goalkeeper Jeff Attinella with a left footed shot into the bottom right corner of the net.
"We don't want to lose games and this is not what we envisioned for our first game of the season," said Rowdies head coach Ricky Hill. ""We lost our concentration in the back and allowed them to score a goal."
Forward Luke Mulholland, making his regular season debut for the club, had a strong scoring chance for the Rowdies, firing a shot that sailed just wide to the left of the net in the 16th minute.
In the 44th minute, the Rowdies barely missed another opportunity to get on the scoreboard. After some nice passing just outside the box, defender Frankie Sanfilippo fired a shot that went just high over the crossbar after a feed from Keith Savage.
"We had some chances up front and managed to carve out a few opportunities," said Hill. "But we were unable to finish with a real concise effort on goal and that was disappointing."
Attinella came up with a big save as he deflected Gregory Richardson's header over the crossbar to force a corner kick in the 54th minute. On the counter attack for the Rowdies, forward Tsuyoshi Yoshitake missed wide left in the 55th minute.
One minute later Yoshitake headed in for a breakaway before a Puerto Rico defender tackled the ball away before he could get a shot on goal.
The Islanders were forced to play a man down after defender Jamie Cunningham was sent off after a hard foul in the 58th minute.
"Our passing should have been a lot quicker to enable us to take advantage of the extra man," said Hill.
Following a yellow card to defender Takuya Yamada, Puerto Rico broke the scoreless tie. After a Puerto Rico free kick, the ball was deflected to the feet of Addlery inside the box and his left footed shot beat Attinella in the bottom right corner of the goal in the 69th minute.
The Rowdies continued to press for the equalizer over the final 20 minutes but Islanders goalkeeper Richard Martin made several saves to preserve the victory for Puerto Rico.
"It is difficult for us to accept this loss under the circumstances," said Hill. "I give credit to Puerto Rico, but we are very disappointed in this result."
"The theme this week is that we need to focus better and execute better as a team," said Hill. "We need to do our jobs better from one through 11 to ensure we don't allow those type of goals again."
Puerto Rico: Nicholas Addlery - 69th minute
Puerto Rico: Nicholas Addlery - 21st minute
Puerto Rico: Noah Delgado - 25th minute
Puerto Rico: Justin Fojo - 42nd minute
Rowdies: Shane Hill - 45th minute
Rowdies: Takuya Yamada - 68th minute
Rowdies: Frankie Sanfilippo - 90th minute
Puerto Rico: Jamie Cunningham - 58th minute
Tampa Bay Rowdies
GK Jeff Attinella, D Frankie Sanfilippo (Captain), D Andres Arango, D JP Rodrigues, D Takuya Yamada, M Stuart Campbell, M Shane Hill (Matt Clare 80'), M Keith Savage, F Mike Ambersley, F Luke Mulholland, F Tsuyoshi Yoshitake (Daniel Antoniuk 80')
Puerto Rico Islanders
GK Richard Martin, D Richard Martinez, D Jamie Cunningham, D Jay Needham, D Eddie Edward, M Jarad Van Schaik, M Justin Fojo, M Noah Delgado (Captain) (Hector Ramos 86'), M Jonathan Faña (David Foley 82'), F Gregory Richardson (Anthony Vasquez 63'), F Nicholas Addlery