Date ArticleType
5/19/2018 Member News

Rowdies Snap Losing Streak In Neill Collins' Coaching Debut

Nico Castillo, Tampa Bay Rowdies

Rowdies Snap Losing Streak In Neill Collins' Coaching Debut

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (May 19, 2018) — The Neill Collins Era at Al Lang Stadium is off to a positive start after the Tampa Bay Rowdies snapped a three-game losing streak with a 2-2 draw against the unbeaten Pittsburgh Riverhounds on Saturday night.

It was a long week for the Rowdies, who played in Richmond last Saturday and then Jacksonville on Wednesday night before making a coaching change Thursday, but things are now pointing upward.

The Rowdies (4-5-1, 13 points) took an early lead and then fell behind by halftime before Joe Cole scored on a free kick to level the affair and help Tampa Bay pick up a point.

“Those lads tonight tried to do everything I asked,” Rowdies Head Coach Neill Collins said after his first match on the sidelines. “At times, it worked. At times, it didn’t, but the most important thing is that they were trying to implement specific things I asked. … We could have won it or we could have lost it, but at the end of the day, we went for it.”

Collins’ first match on the touchline couldn’t have gotten off to a better start with Lance Rozeboom scoring the opening goal less than three minutes into the game. Alex Morrell, playing his first match of the season, received a short corner from Marcel Schäfer and played it into the box, where Rozeboom stuck out a foot and redirected it on target to give the Rowdies a quick 1-0 lead.

“Neill made it a point, especially in the first few minutes to play quick off the corners and Marcel and Alex played quick,” Rozeboom said. “Alex got it in and I just tried to flick it on. … It was a good start for us.”

Pittsburgh (4-0-5, 17 points) was gifted a path back into the match in the 20th minute by a Rowdies own goal.

Riverhounds forward Romeo Parkes took a shot that was saved by Akira Fitzgerald but popped straight skyward.
As it bounced perilously toward the Rowdies’ goal, right back Max Lachowecki attempted to clear the danger but accidentally put it into Tampa Bay’s own net, leveling the game at 1-1.

Parkes got back on the attack in the 30th minute, taking a pass from Kenardo Forbes and beating Fitzgerald from close range to put the Hounds up 2-1. Those were the first goals conceded by the Rowdies at home all season.
Still down 2-1 in the 59th minute, Cole took the match into his own hands when Sebastian Guenzatti was fouled just inches outside the corner of the box.

Cole took the free kick and put it on target, bouncing it off the wet grass right in front of Pittsburgh goalkeeper Dan Lynd in a way that Lynd wasn’t able to handle as it skipped right between his legs and into the net to make the score 2-2.

The Rowdies had a series of chances to score a winner, none better than Junior Flemmings’ header in the 89th minute which was saved at point-blank range by Lynd.

“We’ll not be celebrating too many ties,” Collins said. “Tonight we’ll go away and we’ll all reflect. Hopefully I can sleep tonight and I cannot wait until Monday morning.”

Tampa Bay now heads to Toronto to face Toronto FC II next Saturday afternoon before returning home to open a three-game home stand against Atlanta United 2 on Saturday, June 2 at Al Lang Stadium. For tickets, call (727) 222-2000 or click here.

Scoring Summary
Tampa Bay: Lance Rozeboom - 4th minute (assisted by Alex Morrell)
Pittsburgh: Own Goal - 20th minute
Pittsburgh: Romeo Parkes - 30th minute (assisted by Kenardo Forbes)
Tampa Bay: Joe Cole - 59th minute

Caution Summary
Pittsburgh: Kevin Kerr - 17th minute
Pittsburgh: Todd Pratzner - 49th minute
Tampa Bay: Georgi Hristov - 57th minute
Tampa Bay: Max Lachowecki - 90+1 minute

Starting Lineups
Rowdies XI (4-3-3): GK Akira Fitzgerald; D Max Lachowecki, Hunter Gorskie, Ivan Magalhães, Zac Portillos; M Lance Rozeboom, Joe Cole (c) (Michael Nanchoff 72'), Marcel Schäfer; F Alex Morrell (Junior Flemmings 61'), Georgi Hristov (Jochen Graf 76'), Sebastian Guenzatti

Pittsburgh XI (3-5-2): GK Dan Lynd; D Todd Partner, Hugh Roberts, Thomas Vancaeyezeele; M Jordan Dover, Raymond Lee, Ben Zemanski (Tobi Adewole 80'), Kenardo Forbes, Christiano Francois; F Kevin Kerr (c) (Joseph Holland 81'), Romeo Parkes (Nico Brett 80')