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Rowdies Fall 1-0 Birmingham – OurSports Central

Rowdies Ink Forward Felix Schröter

May 11, 2024 – United Soccer League Championship (USL)
Tampa Bay Rowdies News Release

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla – The Tampa Bay Rowdies fell 1-0 to Birmingham Legion FC on Saturday night at Al Lang Stadium. It’s the second defeat of the season for the Rowdies, who have now played their first nine matches of the USL Championship season.

It was a frustrating night for the Rowdies. They held the edge in most statistical categories in the match except the most important one when it comes down to the final whistle – goals scored. The Rowdies took 20 total shots in the match, with Birmingham blocking ten of those attempts. Meanwhile, the visitors took four shots, two on target, and converted one into the decisive moment.

“A lot of these games, if you get that first goal, the floodgates start to open,” said Rowdies Head Coach Robbie Neilson. “To their credit, the opposition sat in and killed the game and made it really difficult. We have to break that down. I thought to be honest with you, we broke it down but we didn’t have that final element to win the game.”

The Rowdies came close to nabbing an opening goal in the 30th minute. Slicing past a defender and into the box, Rowdies forward Cal Jennings fired off a shot that clipped a defender’s leg and sailed past keeper Matt Van Oekel but right into the far post.

“It’s hard to feel positive about it right now but I think the way we played, if you get the ball in the final third and you tuck one in and we go one-nil, it’s a different game and they have to come out a bit more,” said midfielder Lewis Hilton. “We just kind of conceded at the wrong time. We have to look back and improve on those things and improve and go again next week.”

Birmingham’s winning goal came moments after the Rowdies made their first substitutions of the night. In the 67th minute, Birmingham’s Enzo Marinez was left unchecked at the top of the box to receive a pass back from the endline and send a strike into the back of the net.

“We made a couple of subs and we changed our shape to get more width in the game,”said Neilson. “In that moment we didn’t have the discipline to get in our new shape right away… There’s a few areas we need to look at but for me it was more, when we change shape we have to look at recognizing it right away and doing the things we need to do within it. We didn’t do that.”

The Rowdies pressed and created more chances in the final third, including two potential penalties as a cross from Aaron Guillen looked as it was…

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