RECAP | Rowdies 2, Scorpions 0

Tampa Bay picked up an important win over San Antonio
Tampa Bay Rowdies Staff | Sep 19, 2015

Early adversity didn’t stop the Rowdies in their quest for a win Saturday night at Al Lang Stadium, where the Rowdies beat the visiting San Antonio Scorpions, 2-0, in front of a lively crowd of 6,135 fans to take a huge step forward in the postseaon race.

The Rowdies found the back of the net in the 3rd and 9th minutes, but the goals were deemed offside to keep the match level through halftime. Corey Hertzog put the Rowdies ahead, 1-0, in the 50th minute, and Juan Guerra secured all three points for Tampa Bay with an insurance goal in the 88th minute.

Tampa Bay’s win, paired with a 2-0 Fort Lauderdale Strikers loss to Ottawa Fury FC on Saturday night, lifted the Rowdies back above Fort Lauderdale and into fourth place in the NASL Combined Standings, a position which would see them qualify for The Championship, the NASL’s four-team postseason tournament. Tampa Bay leads Fort Lauderdale by two points in the standings.

The Rowdies started the match flying high and playing aggressive and confidently, but after having two goals waived off in the opening minutes of the match, San Antonio settled down and found its footing. Before long though, the Rowdies were piling the pressure on again.

“One of the phrases I used at halftime was strength and adversity,” Rowdies head coach Stuart Campbell said. “We started the game as we liked, but we had two goals disallowed. It took the wind out of our sails, but we turned it around and dominated the game. Their goalkeeper made some very good saves, and we’re happy to have taken all three points.”

With the rough patch behind them, the Rowdies moved forward in the match.

“It’s not easy when you score twice and they’re taken away,” Guerra said. “But this is what I love about our team. We have a lot of young players, but we’re very mature. We have guys that know how to manage their emotions well, and that’s what we did. We stayed together, we waited for the spaces to open and when we had the opportunities to score, we did.”

Hertzog’s second goal of the season, on a penalty kick following a handball by Scorpions defender Zourab Tsiskaridze, gave the Rowdies a more-than-deserved lead just after halftime and forced San Antonio head coach Alen Marcina to turn to his bench. The Scorpions abandoned their five-defender formation in favor of putting more forwards onto the field, but it failed to turn the match around.

In the minutes following the goal, Tampa Bay hammered the Scorpions net, but San Antonio goalkeeper Daniel Fernandes responded with save after save. He had eight saves on the night.

The win was secured late on with Guerra’s second goal of the season. Rowdies midfielder Darnell King took his defender on one-on-one before crossing to second-half substitute Darwin Espinal near the penalty spot. Espinal shot on target with his first touch, but Fernandes made the save and allowed a rebound. Guerra pounced on the rebound and scored to send Al Lang Stadium into a frenzied state.

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