The Tampa Bay Rowdies played to a 2-0 defeat against Orlando City on Saturday night in the final match of the 2013 Disney Pro Soccer Classic. An early goal off a penalty kick in the first minute gave Orlando City the 1-0 lead. Forward Jamie Watson placed his kick into the bottom left corner of the net for the early lead. Forward Dennis Chin sentenced the 2-0 final score in the 76th minute, filtering through the Rowdies back line and scoring off a breakaway.
Tampa Bay was affected by the early goal as Orlando continued to pressure, giving the Rowdies very little space to play. With the the Lions on the scoreboard, Tampa Bay was forced to try to gain possesion of the ball and find the equalizer. Rowdies goalkeeper Andrew Fontein had a stellar performance despite the 2-0 defeat, making two great save in the 20th and 25th minute. The California native first denied midfielder Adama Mbengue with a great diving stop, while later stopping Chin's shot from the left side of the box.
The Rowdies first chance came in the 26th minute with midfielder Evans Frimpong firing a shot from 20 yards out. His shot was headed towards the top left corner, but Orlando's goalkeeper Miguel Gallardo was well positioned to send the ball out for a corner kick.
Tampa Bay's forward Jemal Johnson had a clear shot from about 25 yards out in the 39th minute, but once again Gallardo denied the equalizer. With Tampa Bay gaining possesion of the ball, the last chance of the half was for Orlando forward Long Tan, who forced Fontein to make an incredible save. The Rowdies goalkeeper denied Tan from close range, with the ensuing rebound being sent over the bar.
With the Rowdies down a goal, the NASL side came out in the second half pressuring Orlando's defense. Midfielder Raphael Cox crossed two great balls into Orlando's box in the first 10 minutes of play, but the forwards were unable to get a touch on both feeds.
Looking for the equalizer, newcomer forward Amani Walker was able to find himself in a good position to get a head on goal. Cox delivered a perfect cross with Walker inching in on goal but his header was saved by Gallardo.
Tampa Bay increased their level of play in the second half, creating many chances on Orlando's goal. Midfielder Luke Mulholland had two great chances in the 64th and 72nd minute. The midfielder first striked a volley from 20 yards out that went inches away from the left post. Minutes later the Preston native cornered a free kick towards the top right of the net that was sent out for a corner kick by Gallardo.
Orlando City sentenced the match in the 76th minute, as Chin took advantage of the first clear chance that the Lions had in the second half. After slipping through the back line, Chin beat Fontein to make it 2-0.
Minutes after Orlando's goal, Walker looked to cut the lead in half with a shot in the 78th minute that blasted off the left post. Despite Tampa Bay's effort to get a goal on the scoreboard, Orlando was able to keep the Rowdies scoreless.
GK Andrew Fontein; D Anton Blackwood, D Jay Needham, D Takuya Yamada, D Andres Arango; M Evans Frimpong, M Stuart Campbell, M Luke Mulholland, M Raphael Cox; F Jemal Johnson, F Amani Walker
GK Miguel Gallardo; D Bryan Burke, D Oumar Diakhite, D Rob Valentino, D Luke Boden; M Kenold Versailles, M Freddie Bruan, M Jamie Watson, M Adama Mbengue; F Dennis Chin, F Long Tan
Tampa Bay will continue their 2013 preseason on Saturday, March 2 when they face off against the University of South Florida at Corbett Soccer Stadium. Prior to the 7:30 p.m. kickoff, USF and the Rowdies will be holding a youth clinic from 6:00-7:00 p.m. The clinic will be held at the USF training grounds featuring former Tampa Bay Rowdies and current USF players and coaches. The youth clinic will be for kids ages 7-13 and the cost to attend the clinic will be $10, which includes a game ticket. Kids tickets for the clinic must be bought in advance, and please bring a soccer ball. Click here to purchase tickets.
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