The Tampa Bay Rowdies scored in the final minute to earn a 1-1 draw against Minnesota United FC on Saturday night at NSC Stadium in Blaine, MN.
Forward Pablo Campos had scored the lone goal of the first half, but the Rowdies’ constant pressure in the second half paid off as defender Andres Arango leveled the match with a header with the final touch of the game.
Tampa Bay had a goal disallowed in the 9th minute when forward Carl Cort smashed a rebound into the back of the net, but was ruled offside with the game scoreless at that point.
United had taken the field in a 4-2-1-3 formation with a lot of moving parts, seeing Simone Bracalello and Max Griffin floating on the outside wings from forward positions.
As both teams began to find some space, it was Minnesota that got on the scoreboard first with a goal in the 17th minute. Bracalello played a quick free kick, sliding the ball into the left flank where forward Max Griffin was making a run and he sent a cross into the heart of the box, finding Campos, who tapped it in for the 1-0 lead.
Following the goal, Minnesota was able to control most of the possession but Rowdies goalkeeper Diego Restrepo made several saves to keep the match 1-0.
Midfielder Raphael Cox found space later on in the half, taking two shots from far out, but the Rowdies continued to struggle to reach the final third.
In the final minute of first half play, forward Georgi Hristov had a chance to equalize as the Bulgarian found himself 25 yards out and took a shot but Minneosta goalkeeper Matt Van Oekel pushed the ball over the bar for a corner kick.
The second half began with the Rowdies pushing for the equalizer, increasing the pressure in the midfield, but were unable to create any chances in the final third, despite two chances that fell to Hristov.
Once again, it was keeper Restrepo who kept the Rowdies in the match, making his first of several game-changing saves in the 71st minute. Bracalello escaped down the left flank and fired off a shot but the goalkeeper was able to make the save with his left foot keeping the Rowdies down one.
While the Rowdies continued to pack on the pressure, United would get their chance to close out the match in the final minutes of play. Campos first found his shot denied by Restrepo in the 85th minute, while minutes later the goalkeeper made another fantastic save from close range on the Brazilian forward. Former Rowdies forward Mike Ambersley had come on in the second half for Minnesota and on the ensuing drive he saw his scoring chance saved by Restrepo.
With the match coming to a close, the Rowdies earned one final corner kick. With everyone in the box, the long cross found captain Frankie Sanfilippo at the far post. The defender played the ball into the heart of the box with Arango getting at the end of the cross to score the equalizer. Arango's goal extended the Rowdies unbeaten run to five, picking up another vital point on the road.
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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|