Misc Soccer News

Rowdies Rally Over Rhode Island For First Win

Rowdies Ink Forward Felix Schröter

March 30, 2024 – United Soccer League Championship (USL)
Tampa Bay Rowdies News Release

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla – The Tampa Bay Rowdies picked up their first victory of the season on Saturday night, rallying from 1-nil down to finish 4-1 over USL Championship newcomers, Rhode Island FC at Al Lang Stadium.

“We’re delighted to get our first win,” said Rowdies Head Coach Robbie Neilson. “The sooner you get a win in the league, the better. But for me it’s about building more of the confidence for the players. We’ve had two winning positions and finished even in our first two games. To get this victory, and to come from behind to get it, is important.”

The visitors jumped ahead in the 16th minute through a bit of direct play. Keeper Jackson Lee launched a long ball out of his own box that held up in the wind just enough for forward Albert Dikwa to slip past defender Forrest Lasso and collect the ball as it bounced just outside Tampa Bay’s box. Pushing the ball past Rowdies keeper Jordan Farr at the top of the box, Dikwa was able to bury the ball in the net.

Tampa Bay’s best chance of the first half came in the 36th minute. Shielding a defender off of the ball, Rowdies forward Manuel Arteaga was able to chip an attempt over Lee, who had rushed off his line to thwart the chance. Arteaga’s effort took a bounce before clipping the crossbar to stay out the goal.

The Rowdies came out of the halftime break with urgency and were rewarded in the 55th minute. After an initial corner kick was nullified, the Rowdies fought to win back the ball in Rhode Island’s defensive half. With a loose ball coming his direction, Lasso deftly chipped the ball up and over the visitor’s back line, allowing Arteaga to swoop in and head the ball over the keeper and into the net.

“We had a few words at halftime about what was expected in the second half, and I think the players reacted well,” said Neilson. “We were, I don’t want to say more direct, but more aggressive in our play to go and find the strikers and go find the midfielders and find the wingbacks.I thought we did that well and that allowed us to build up the pitch.”

From that point on, the match was firmly in Tampa Bay’s favor. Cal Jennings notched the go-ahead goal in the 67th minute, connecting on a long ball played by Farr out of Tampa Bay’s box and shaking off a defender before blasting a rocket past Lee.

Defender Jordan Doherty got in on the action just five minutes later, delivering a pinpoint header under the crossbar off of a free…

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