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 salvage draw to remain in tight playoff race

ST. PETERSBURG — It wasn't the worst result, but it certainly could have been better for the Rowdies, who squandered a halftime lead in a 1-1 draw to visiting Miami on Saturday before 6,912 at Al Lang Stadium. The teams are now in a three-way tie for the fourth and final NASL playoff spot with Minnesota, which lost its fourth in a row on a late goal to Jacksonville, 1-0.

Related News/Archive

Tampa Bay (9-8-9, 36 points) has six games remaining, one more than both Minnesota (10-11-6, 36) and Miami (9-9-9, 36).

Eric Avila put the Rowdies ahead with his goal in the 31st minute but Miami defender Rhett Bernstein tied it in the 74th.

"Very tough draw," Rowdies coach Stuart Campbell said. "They had two clear-cut scoring chances and they scored one goal."

Tampa Bay held a 15-7 shot advantage, and looked to be benefiting from a Miami team on two days' rest and playing its sixth match in 21 days. Avila put Tampa Bay on top when he controlled a long cross from Georgi Hristov, switched the ball on to his less-favored left foot and pounded it inside the right post.

"In training I've been taking more shots with my left. I took a touch and everyone was shifting over to the right, and it just opened up for me," Avila said.

Tampa Bay had quality combinations the rest of the half and it seemed the better side. But after the break Miami controlled the first dozen minutes and could have certainly claimed an equalizing goal but for Rowdies goalkeeper Matt Pickens. Miami's Enzo Rennella found himself in alone on the left side of goal and tried to slot the ball to the right post, but the Pickens managed to stick out his leg just at the last moment.

Miami's equalizer came when the ball was headed into the 6-yard box, where Bernstein was sandwiched by two Rowdies but managed to get to the ball first, touch it off to his right and then rifle it into the goal.

Three minutes after entering as a sub, midfielder Keith Savage served up a clever chip to Carlos Preciado, who himself chipped the ball over goalkeeper Daniel Vega but two Miami players got to the goal line for the clearance.

Despite letting two points slip away, the Rowdies — unbeaten in six straight — are still in a good spot if they win their next game. Minnesota visits Al Lang on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.

"That's good. I wouldn't have it any other way," Campbell said of his team's quick turnaround.

Rowdies salvage draw to remain in tight playoff race 10/01/16 [Last modified: Saturday, October 1, 2016 10:48pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Bucs bring back long snapper Andrew DePaola to compete

    Bucs

    Just 12 days before the NFL makes its final cuts, the Bucs have added another position battle, signing back long snapper Andrew DePaola to compete with veteran Garrison Sanborn.

    Andrew DePaola is making an impressive recovery from the torn ACL he suffered in last year's season finale against Carolina in January.  [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  2. My AP preseason All-America ballot

    Blogs

    Now that the AP's preseason All-America team has been released, I'll share what I submitted.

  3. 'Hard Knocks' star Bullough facing numbers game

    Bucs

    Bucs undrafted rookie linebacker Riley Bullough is perhaps the surprise star of HBO's "Hard Knocks" and has been productive in two preseason games, but Bucs coach Dirk Koetter said Tuesday that he's caught in a numbers game competing for a backup spot on the Tampa Bay roster.

    Bucs coach Dirk Koetter said Riley Bullough is caught in a numbers game competing for a backup spot on the Tampa Bay roster. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  4. Two FSU Seminoles, two Florida Gators honored as AP preseason All-Americans

    Blogs

    Florida State safety Derwin James and cornerback Tarvarus McFadden were both named AP first-team, preseason All-Americans on Tuesday.

  5. 'Hard Knocks' effect: Jameis Winston jersey sales surging

    Bucs

    Two weeks into the national publicity of HBO's "Hard Knocks," Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston's No. 3 jerseys are selling well, as he made the biggest leap in this week's jersey report from Dick's Sporting Goods.

    Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston's No. 3 jerseys are selling well. [Getty Images]