August 17, 2013
LAST MINUTE HEROICS
Rowdies get a last gasp tie with Minnesota
BLAINE, Minn.---Andres Arango scored with a header in stoppage time of the second half to give the Tampa Bay Rowdies a 1-1 tie on the road with Minnesota United FC at NSC Stadium Saturday night.
The goal came in the final minute of play and extended the Rowdies unbeaten string to five matches and gave the Rowdies one point on the road in the NASL Fall race.
With the match coming to the final seconds, the Rowdies earned a corner kick. With everyone in the penalty area, the long cross found Rowdies captain Frankie Sanfilippo at the far post. Sanfilippo played the ball into the heart of the penalty box and Arango scored the equalizer.
The Rowdies began the match with an active midfield, as Evans Frimpong made several runs down the left flank, but in various opportunities the crosses were cleared out. The Rowdies had a goal disallowed in the 9th minute, when forward Carl Cort smashed a rebound into the back of the net. The forward was called off side, and the match remained scoreless.
As both teams began to find some spaces, it was Minnesota that got on the scoreboard first with a goal in the 17th minute. Midfielder Calum Mallace played a quick free kick, sliding the ball into the left flank where forward Max Griffin was making a run. Griffin found some space and sent a cross into the heart of the penalty box, finding Pablo Campos, who tapped it into the net for the 1-0 lead.
“We’ve got three or four capable strikers so we changed to a 4-3-3 formation," said Rowdies Head Coach Ricky Hill. "This change left us open at the back, where we had to rely on Diego (Restrepo) to make some great saves. That gave us an opportunity to equalize in the last minute. I have to give credit to my players for fighting hard until the last minute and I can’t grumble about taking a point.”
In the final minute of the first half, forward Georgi Hristov would have a chance to equalize the match for the Rowdies. Hristov found himself 25 yards out and took a shot at the net but Minnesota goalkeeper Matt Van Oekel would push 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. Although the Rowdies had more possession in the beginning minutes, they were unable to create any chances in the final third. Hristov would have two chances in the 60th minute, but he was unable to get clear shots on both opportunities.
Once again, it was Restrepo, the Rowdies goalkeeper who kept his team in the match making his first of several game-changing saves in the 71st minute. Simone Bracalello escaped down the left flank and fired off a shot but the Rowdies’ keeper was able to make the save with his left foot and maintain the one-goal difference.
While the Rowdies continued to pack on the pressure, Minnesota 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 would have his scoring chance saved by Restrepo.
The tie advances the Rowdies record to 1W-2T-0L for five points good for second place in the NASL standings. The tie for Minnesota gives them a 1W-1T-1L record for four points in third place in the Fall Season race.