Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Rowdies beat Orlando City B in USL debut before record crowd at Al Lang

ST. PETERSBURG — Georgi Hristov's penalty kick goal, the result of a long period of Rowdies dominant play, was the difference in Tampa Bay's 1-0 defeat of Orlando City B on Saturday night before a loud and record Rowdies crowd at Al Lang Stadium.

It was the first game for the Rowdies in the United Soccer League, and 7,710 were on hand. Tampa Bay's next two games are also at home, with Toronto FC II visiting next Saturday.

"The most important thing is we won in front of this unbelievable crowd," Hristov said.

Midfielder Leo Fernandes, in his Rowdies debut, sidestepped around two defenders and was taken down for the penalty. In the 57th minute, Hristov, who led Tampa Bay with 11 goals last season, drilled a high shot down the middle, and a diving Earl Edwards had no chance.

It was redemption for Hristov, who, in a three-minute span, left two first-half opportunities begging. In the 39th minute, Joe Cole's offering placed Hristov one-on-one with Edwards, but instead of a quick shot, Hristov tried to work around and was denied.

In the 42nd minute, Michael Nanchoff dropped a perfect pass to Hristov, but the shot went barely over the crossbar. In the late stages of the first half, Hristov broke in alone on the right wing but shot the ball wide left.

"I maybe wasn't happy with myself tonight, but was very happy with the team," he said.

At 1:05, OCB made its most dangerous push, but Danny Deakin's advancement was swallowed up by Rowdies goalkeeper Akira Fitzgerald.

"I don't remember many 'heart in the throat' chances for them," Rowdies coach Stuart Campbell said, whose team played in the North American Soccer League last season.

Edwards made a stellar punch save on Cole's 30-yard chip shot in the 78th minute to keep it 1-0.

Cole departed shortly after the 90th minute as Tampa Bay's first substitution to a standing ovation. Hristov departed moments later as the Rowdies' starters played the bulk of the game.

The Rowdies finished with a 21-3 shot advantage.

"It was crucial to come out and get the first win," Campbell said. "It was if, not when" they would get on the scoreboard, he said.

Rowdies beat Orlando City B in USL debut before record crowd at Al Lang 03/25/17 [Last modified: Monday, March 27, 2017 11:35am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. NFL Week 7: What we learned

    Bucs

    Are the Purple People Eaters back in Minnesota? The Vikings sacked Joe Flacco five times and held the Ravens to 208 total yards in a 24-16 home victory, their third straight win. QB Case Keenum looked ordinary with a 67.7 passer rating after completing 20-of-31 for 188 yards and an interception. Kai Forbath …

    Trainers, top, check Cleveland Browns tackle Joe Thomas after Thomas was hurt in the second half of an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans, Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane) OHTD122
  2. Bills' comeback against Bucs a win for the process

    Bucs

    ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — It hasn't taken Sean McDermott long to understand how to play to his base. Asked if the Bills had "gotten away with one" Sunday, the first-year coach gushed about his team reflecting the character of the town.

    Under first-year coach Sean McDermott, the Bills are 3-0 at home for the first time in six years. “I love playing here,” he says.
  3. No. 18 UCF closes in on USF, which drops to No. 17

    College

    USF remained ahead of UCF in the Associated Press Top 25 poll released Sunday — just barely.

  4. Tampa's Lance McCullers shows killer instinct in pitching Astros to World Series

    Ml

    HOUSTON — It felt like the beginning on Saturday night at Minute Maid Park, the arrival of a new force on the World Series stage. The Astros are back, for the first time in a dozen years, and they want to stay a while.

    Houston Astros starting pitcher Lance McCullers (43) throwing in the fifth inning of the game between the Houston Astros and the Tampa Bay Rays in Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, July 12, 2015.
  5. Jones: Where are the difference-makers on the Bucs defense?

    Bucs

    ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — They can't tackle. They can't cover. They can't pressure the quarterback, let alone sack him.

    Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor (5) scrambles past Bucs defensive tackle Clinton McDonald (98) during the first half. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]