February 18, 2017
Rowdies drop Suncoast Invitational opener to Philadelphia Union
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Rowdies surrendered a second-half goal to Derrick Jones in falling, 1-0, to the Philadelphia Union in the opener of the Rowdies Suncoast Invitational at Al Lang Stadium Saturday.
“I thought it was a pretty even game, which is a great testament to our players playing against an MLS team,” Rowdies coach Stuart Campbell said. “I was pretty happy with the first half and the second half was pretty even as well. We limited their chances and then just gave away a crazy goal.
“I liked quite a lot. It was our first real preseason game and it was against a team that’s a couple of weeks ahead of and has played a few games already, as well. The more games we get, the more our players can develop relationships. I think you can see we’re going to be a real threat going forward with the speed we have out wide.”
Tampa Bay’s starting lineup featured 10 signed players and one trialist. Matt Pickens, Darnell King, Tamika Mkandawire, Neill Collins, Martin Vingaard, Michael Nanchoff and Joe Cole, along with newcomers Luke Boden, Leo Fernandes and Darwin Jones, started. Forward Martin Paterson was the only unsigned player in the first half. Collins threatened off a Mkandawire cross in the 17th minute, and Fernandes just missed off a Jones cross and a left-footer, saved by Andre Blake. The Rowdies’ Alex Morrell nearly equalized in the late-going, Blake knocking his shot away.