The Tampa Bay Rowdies hold a 2-0 lead over the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers at the end of the first half at Al Lang Stadium. A pair of goals by midfielder Keith Savage propelled the Rowdies to a clear lead over their in-state rivals in front of a packed Al Lang Stadium.
“We are delighted that we are two goals up as we haven’t had that in a long time this season,” said Rowdies coach Ricky Hill. “The last thing we need to do is to get sloppy with a two-goal lead. For me the most important will who will score the next goal and we need it to be us. We haven’t won at home all year and we are 45 minutes away from completing our first victory.”
In the 20th minute forward Georgi Hristov ran down the Strikers right flank and played a through ball to Savage who buried his shot from inside the eighteen yard box into the side netting of the far post. Hristov’s assist is his fourth of the season and he now leads the team in that category.
In the 28th minute, Strikers forward Hosman Ramos fired a shot towards Rowdies keeper Diego Restrepo’s, which the keeper successfully blocked away as Tampa Bay continued to threaten.
Savage’s second goal came as a result of a Luke Mulholland free kick. The midfielder played the ball into the box only to have it punched away by Strikers keeper Matt Glaeser, but Savage headed the ball into the now empty net from eight yards away. Savage now has three goals on the season.
Mark Anderson thought he had pulled a goal back for the Strikers, but the referee had already blown for a free kick before the midfielder took his shot from outside the penalty area.
Strikers interim coach Richard Lopes said: “The team didn’t play bad, we just had two mistakes and it cost us the goals. We were big on more compact on the counter attack. I think in the second half the pressure will be a bit higher and we will be able to create more chances to score.”
In the final minute of the half, Hristov had his shot cleared off the line by the Strikers defense before he could increase the lead.
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|New York Cosmos||14||9||4||1||10||31|
|Tampa Bay Rowdies||14||5||5||4||3||20|
|Minnesota United FC||14||6||2||6||2||20|
|Fort Lauderdale Strikers||14||5||3||6||-2||18|
|San Antonio Scorpions||14||3||1||10||-9||10|
|San Antonio Scorpions||12||6||2||4||4||20|
|Tampa Bay Rowdies||12||5||3||4||5||18|
|Minnesota United FC||12||4||2||6||-5||14|
|Fort Lauderdale Strikers||12||2||2||8||-14||8|