Friday, November 17, 2017

Rowdies season ends with playoff loss to New York Red Bulls II


ST. PETERSBURG — So much for seedings.

The defending United Soccer League champion New York Red Bulls II, a No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs, notched its second upset by defeating the No. 3 Rowdies 2-1 in extra time Saturday night in front of 5,119 at Al Lang Stadium. The Red Bulls (14-14-5) advance to the Eastern final next Saturday at Louisville.

Tampa Bay ends its season 14-8-11.

"We’re obviously very disappointed with the end result," Rowdies coach Stuart Campbell said. "We created our chances and felt we deserved the result tonight."

The winning goal came in the 93rd minute during the first 15-minute extra period. New York midfielder Florian Valot crossed a ball just past the finger­tips of goalkeeper Matt Pickens and onto the foot of a sliding Stefano Bonomo, who redirected the cross into the goal from 5 yards out to make it 2-1.

The Rowdies had 27 minutes to find an equalizer but couldn’t do it. Perhaps the best chance came 22 minutes into extra time when substitute Martin Paterson took a pass 10 yards from goal. He turned and launched a left-footer that went just wide left. A minute later, Sebastian Guenzatti cranked a 20-yarder that just cleared the bar. And in extra time, Hunter Gorskie had a shot go off the right post.

It never would have gone to extra time had it not been for Red Bulls keeper Evan Louro. He made two diving saves, one in the 87th minute on a Michael Nanchoff shot and another in the 88th minute on a Neill Collins shot, that kept the score tied at 1. He also had three saves in extra time.

"Their keeper was the best player on the pitch," Rowdies midfielder Joe Cole said. "With the way he played, it just wasn’t going to be our day."

The match was physical from the beginning, and New York actually had two early scoring chances that were thwarted by Pickens. But in the 26th minute the Rowdies scored the half’s only goal.

Defender Zac Portillos was unchecked from 30 yards out and ripped a shot that caromed off a New York defender. Georgi Hristov collected the loose ball about 10 yards from goal and took a left-footed shot that beat Louro. It was Hristov’s second playoff goal. Tampa Bay has scored at least one goal in 17 straight matches dating back to July 6.

Two minutes later, Marcel Schafer passed to a wide open Cole, who looked like had a chance at scoring Tampa Bay’s second goal. But Louro saved it to keep the score 1-0 at halftime.

The lead held until the 57th minute. Red Bulls midfielder Junior Flemmings made a steal outside the 18-yard box and had a clear run at goal. Pickens came out of the net and tripped Flemmings before he could get off a shot, which resulted in a penalty kick.

Bonomo converted the penalty kick to tie the match. New York is 9-for-9 on penalty kicks this season, the only USL team without a miss.

This was only the second home loss for the Rowdies this year, going 11-2-5 at Al Lang.

"The feeling at the moment is disappointment," said Cole, who also said he would be returning next season. "Disappointment for the fans, the players, the staff, the owner.

"But this is football and sometimes you don’t get what you deserve.’’

Region football: Lakewood 20, Jesuit 7

Region football: Lakewood 20, Jesuit 7

ST. PETERSBURG — Lakewood came into Friday’s playoff game knowing its defense had to help control field position against Jesuit. The Spartans (9-1) left Friday’s game with a ticket to Immokalee for a region final — and six Tigers (6-5) turnovers en r...
Updated: 8 minutes ago

Region football: Tampa Bay Tech 42, Palmetto 26

TAMPA — Another Friday night, another offensive explosion.Tampa Bay Tech’s offense continued its torrid pace and quarterback Michael Penix Jr. accounted for five total touchdowns as the Titans rolled past Palmetto 42-26 in a Class 7A, Region 3 semifi...
Updated: 11 minutes ago

Region football: Cambridge Christian 50, Indian Rocks Christian 14

TAMPA — The Cambridge Christian offense was clicking, and quarterback Jaylin Jackson couldn’t seem to be stopped. Still, as the second quarter clock dwindled, Indian Rocks Christian was hanging around.So with just more than a minute left in the half,...
Updated: 18 minutes ago

Region football: Naples 24, Largo 0

NAPLES — In a game between two teams that had never met with a lot on the line, the Naples defense came up with one of its best efforts against Largo on Friday night.The Golden Eagles limited the Packers to 117 yards of offense in a 24-0 triumph in t...
Updated: 19 minutes ago

Region football: Lakeland 52, Wiregrass Ranch 0

LAKELAND — It has been a historic season for the Wiregrass Ranch Bulls football team, which made consecutive playoff appearances for the first time, won its most games ever and experienced its first playoff victory.If this were a movie, the final sce...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Saturday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYAutosXfinity: Ford EcoBoost 300 qualifying11 a.m.CNBCXfinity: Ford EcoBoost 3003:30 p.m.NBCSNCollege basketballMaryland-Eastern Shore at GeorgetownnoonFox SunBucknell at Maryland8:30 p.m.Big TenGolfPGA Europe: Tour Championship2:30 a.m.GolfPGA: ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Spurs rally from 23 down to snap Thunder’s streak

Spurs rally from 23 down to snap Thunder’s streak

SAN ANTONIO — LaMarcus Aldridge had 26 points and the Spurs overcame a 23-point deficit to beat the Thunder 104-101 on Friday night. Danny Green added 17 points and Pau Gasol had 14 to help San Antonio end Oklahoma City’s three-game winning streak. A...
Updated: 1 hour ago
FSU men roll in basketball; Florida beats USF in NCAA women’s soccer

FSU men roll in basketball; Florida beats USF in NCAA women’s soccer

MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica — Freshman reserve Mfiondu Kabengele scored 15, Terance Mann added 14 on 7-of-9 shooting and Florida State rolled to a 67-43 win over Fordham in the Jamaica Classic on Friday night. The Seminoles held the Rams to 23 percent shoot...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Blue Jackets blank Rangers

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Sergei Bobrovsky made 36 saves for his 21st career shutout and Zach Werenski and Artemi Panarin scored in the Blue Jackets’ 2-0 victory over the Rangers on Friday. New York ran into a hot goalie in Bobrovsky, the reigning Vezina Trop...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Sports in brief

AUTOSDANICA TO END CAREER AFTER INDY 500HOMESTEAD — Danica Patrick broke down in tears Friday as she announced she will retire from full-time racing next year after running the Daytona 500 then the Indianapolis 500, closing her career at the storied ...
Updated: 1 hour ago