The Tampa Bay Rowdies enter halftime down 1-0 against the San Antonio Scorpions at Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Scorpions' forward Blake Wagner scored the go-ahead goal in the 37th minute off an indirect free kick from only six yards out. As things stand, both teams remain in contention in the race to host Soccer Bowl.
“We’ve done ok and we’ve been breaking out and finding space but our service to our strikers has got to be better quality,” said Scorpions coach Tim Hankinson. “We know what Tampa comes with, we’ve just got to be good with clearing the ball and getting some pressure.
With the Rowdies controlling possession for most of the half, it was the Scorpions who had the two most dangerous chances of the half. Rowdies forward Amani Walker had initially threatened the Scorpions with two headers but they were not accurate enough to open up the scoring.
Scorpions midfielder Pat Phelan was close to opening the scoring in the 32nd minute with a 40 yard blast off a free kick. Rowdies goalkeeper Diego Restrepo dove to his right and knocked the ball away from the goal.
Minutes later Rowdies defender Jay Needham looked to clear the ball from inside the box but his clearance forced Restrepo to make another save and the referee awarded the Scorpions an indirect free kick from six yards out.
Scorpions defender Kevin Harmse touched the ball to Wagner who powered the shot under the wall of Rowdies defenders to make it 1-0.
“We are disappointed because we need to keep the ball better towards their final third and they are breaking off our poor touches,’ said Rowdies coach Ricky Hill. “I’ll ask our players to play with more urgency, confidence and swagger and we’ve got to score two goals to win and the only way we can do that is by putting our foot down and going forward.”
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