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 stay in playoff hunt with tie against Minnesota

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rowdies were only too glad to extend Minnesota's late-game misery Wednesday, pulling off a crucial 2-2 draw when Keith Savage scored in the 92nd minute. The teams stayed tied for fourth place and the final playoff spot in the NASL, but the Rowdies have a game in hand.

"It means we're still in it. Every point counts," Savage said.

Minnesota went in on a four-game losing streak, having given up a goal in the final 10 minutes in each of the previous three games. It looked like that wouldn't happen Wednesday despite the Rowdies (9-8-10) playing the last half-hour almost entirely in Minnesota's end and making a pair of offensive-minded substitutions — Carlos Preciado and Kalif Alhassan — and pushing defender Neill Collins up front in the final 20.

In the 86th minute, Tommy Heinemann was clearly pulled down while wrestling for possession in the Minnesota penalty box, but no foul was called. But with five minutes of stoppage time, the Rowdies came through when Savage pounced upon a loose ball served in by Georgi Hristov.

Savage "absolutely" was exhausted, starting for the first time in eight games.

"I was going to go forward there no matter what. I'm just glad (the ball) fell to my feet," he said.

Both Minnesota goals came off rebounds. J.C. Banks' second goal of the year put Minnesota up 2-1 in the 52nd minute after Rowdies goalkeeper Matt Pickens punched away a floating cross. From that innocuous setup, Banks was able to corral the bouncing ball, shield three Tampa Bay defenders and in tight quarters turn for a low right-foot shot.

League-leading scorer Christian Ramirez got his 16th goal for a 1-0 first-half lead after Jeb Brovsky ripped a shot from 30 yards that Pickens could only punch onto the crossbar.

The Rowdies answered just past the half-hour mark when Eric Avila sent in a crisp 20-yard pass from the right side, Heinemann came up with a nifty flick that sent the ball over Minnesota's defense and Hristov caught it on the bounce with his left foot. Hristov leads Tampa Bay with nine goals.

"Fortunately we were able to get away with a point," Rowdies coach Stu Campbell. "We just couldn't get in our rhythm, for whatever reason. Minnesota made it very difficult for us. The big thing for us is the players kept going. The fans deserve a lot of credit. They dragged us over the finish line."

Attendance was announce at 4,804.

With five games remaining, the Rowdies take a Sunday trip to Edmonton, which is second overall.

Rowdies stay in playoff hunt with tie against Minnesota 10/05/16 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 5, 2016 11:09pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. The people you meet along O.J. Howard Lane

    Bucs

    AUTAUGAVILLE, Ala. —The screen door hangs open to Laura's Country Kitchen but the dining room is empty with no one to feed.

    OJ Howard (far right) is seen in a photo from his adolescent years at Bethesda Missionary Baptist Church in Prattville, Ala., on Wednesday, May 3, 2017. Howard served as an usher in addition to attending regular services at this church.
  2. Lightning opens day two of draft by taking Russian forwards

    Blogs

    After taking a big defenseman in the first round, the Lightning opened the second day of the NHL Draft by selecting a couple skilled Russian forwards.

  3. Kids still playing for all the marbles — literally

    Human Interest

    In this world of pompous athletes, overbearing coaches, money-grubbing owners and a win-at-all-costs mindset, it's easy to become jaded.

    Eli Murphy, right, leans in to give Sierra Ricci the traditional king and queen kiss at the National Marbles Championship in Wildwood, N.J. Both of Allegheny County Pa., they won the girls and boys championship of the 94th annual National Marbles Tournament. [Associated Press]
  4. Lightning takes defenseman Cal Foote with top pick in draft

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — Former Avalanche defenseman Adam Foote said his son Cal lived in the locker room.

    Cal Foote, second from left, is welcomed to the Lightning by GM Steve Yzerman, far left.