February 25, 2017
Rowdies knock off Montreal in Suncoast Invitational
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Deshorn Brown and Joe Cole combined to lead the Tampa Bay Rowdies to a 2-1 win over the Montreal Impact in a Suncoast Invitational match at Al Lang Stadium Saturday night.
Cole, assisted by Brown, participating as a guest player, opened the scoring in the 34th minute. Brown, who played for Shenzhen FC in China last season, added a 40th-minute goal. Montreal cut the deficit on Ignacio Piatti’s 71st-minute penalty kick.
"It's nice to get a win, even though in preseason, the result isn't the most important thing," Rowdies coach Stuart Campbell said. "It's about the performance, the amount of work and improving the players' fitness. You could see how hard the players worked tonight. For many of them, it was their first 90 minutes of the preseason."
Impact coach Mauro Biello fielded a full-strength lineup in preparation for the MLS season-opener against the San Jose Earthquakes.
"The movement that Montreal has and the attacking quality they use, they're a very good team," Campbell said. "We limited them to very few chances. I can't remember many clear-cut chances they had. That's one of the best teams in MLS. If you finish above Montreal, you're not going to be far from winning the championship."
Cole scored off a quickly-taken free kick. Rowdies winger Leo Fernandes drew a foul just outside the penalty area. Before Montreal could set up defensively, Brown fed Cole wide of the goal area, Cole's shot deflected off defender Laurent Ciman past Evan Bush. Brown left-footed the rebound of a Cole shot saved by Bush for a two-goal edge.
"We wanted to go out and get a result, but really we wanted to put on a good performance," Campbell said. "It's fantastic to go out there and beat an MLS team that had a very good year last year and will no doubt have another very good year this year."