January 8, 2017
Rowdies downed by Wolfsburg in Florida Cup
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Rowdies surrendered two first-half goals in falling, 2-0, to VfL Wolfsburg’s Next Generation team on the opening day of the Florida Cup at Al Lang Stadium on a cool Sunday night.
Tampa Bay, making its preseason debut, started six signed players and five trialists, with five trialists entering in the second half.
Robert Herrmann converted both goals, opening the scoring with a stunning free kick in the sixth minute.
“I think there’s more positives than there were negatives,” Rowdies coach Stuart Campbell said. “We’re disappointed with the goals we gave up, but we created a few chances. For a team that’s only been together for a week, I’m really happy. The guys haven’t played together and it’s not easy for them.”
Wolfsburg featured 14 players with youth national team experience for Germany, Poland, Turkey, Egypt, Austria and the U.S.
Tampa Bay had the first chance, veteran midfielder Keith Savage taking a feed from trialist Jonathan Glenn and bounding in, his shot sailing just high and wide.
Herrmann converted a free kick from just outside the penalty area into the side netting to trialist Kyle Morton’s left.
In the 44th minute, Savage nearly beat Niklas Klinger, who slowed the shot enough for his teammates to clear from the goal area.
The Rowdies started to click early in the second half, new signing Alex Morrell making an impact. Michael Nanchoff bent a free kick around the wall in the 54th minute, denied by a diving Klinger.
Morrell nearly scored in the 58th minute, running onto a ball over the top from Zac Portillos, his shot saved.
“Wolfsburg is a very good team, so I wanted to put some of the trialists out there to see what they can do against a quality team,” Campbell said. “I thought all of them equipped themselves pretty well.
The Rowdies will meet Atlético Mineiro of Brazil’s Serie A in their next Florida Cup match Saturday.