Photo by Tampa Bay Rowdies
By COLE KELLOGG
A change in staff was exactly what the Tampa Bay Rowdies needed after an abysmal start to the fall.
The Rowdies have turned their season on its head by beating the New York Cosmos and putting themselves in position to make the playoffs.
After earning two shocking results with a draw against the Ottawa Fury and a win over the dominant Cosmos, the Rowdies are now in fourth place in the combined table for 2015 and in the playoff race.
Indy Eleven were able to put together a statement victory in front of 9,000 fans at home, handedly defeating the Jacksonville Armada. In Texas, the Fury put a halt to their three-match winless streak with a narrow victory over the San Antonio Scorpions.
In similar fashion, the Carolina RailHawks scored twice in quick succession against the Atlanta Silverbacks to end their six-match winless streak. Elsewhere, a stoppage-time equalizer from FC Edmonton kept Minnesota United from an important victory in Canada.
Here’s a closer look at this weekend’s results:
ROWDIES SHOCK COSMOS
After Saturday’s 2-0 win against the New York Cosmos, the new manager bump has helped the Tampa Bay Rowdies earn a result against a top side for the second week in a row.
Corey Hertzog fired the Rowdies into the lead in the 40th minute. Georgi Hristov crossed in a perfectly weighted ball to the near post for the winger to acrobatically smash past the Cosmos goalkeeper.
In the 76th minute, Darwin Espinal put the game to bed as the home team took a two-goal lead. Espinal received the ball at midfield and dribbled all the way to the 18-yard box, where the substitute laid the ball off to his left to Brian Shriver. With one touch, Shriver crossed the ball back in to Espinal, who poked it over the foot of an outstretched defender and tapped it home in traffic.
The Rowdies ended the Cosmos’ eight-game unbeaten streak with this result.
ELEVEN BEAT ARMADA AT HOME
One week after an embarrassing 7-1 loss to the Fort Lauderdale Strikers, Indy Eleven put together a great 3-0 win over the Jacksonville Armada in front of a packed house.
Zach Steinberger scored first in the ninth minute for the home side. Victor Pineda sent a fantastic through ball into space for Don Smart, who slid it into Steinberger to slot home.
The fans would have to wait until the 73rd minute for the next goal of the match, which gave Steinberger a brace on the evening. Once again, Steinberger received a through ball from Smart, but this time, he chipped it over the Armada goalkeeper.
Marvin Ceballos capped off the win for Indy in the 90th minute when he curled in a shot from near the top of the 18-yard box.
FURY BACK ON TRACK AFTER WIN OVER SCORPIONS
After three straight winless matches for the league-leaders this fall, the Ottawa Fury managed a 1-0 win at Toyota Field on Saturday night.
Late in the first half, Scorpions defender Zourab Tsiskaridze was sent off for two yellow cards.
A 50th-minute goal from Oliver Minatel gave Marc Dos Santos’ men the vital three points that keeps them in first place. Paulo Junior crossed in a ball for Minatel to head past the San Antonio keeper for the only goal of the match.
RAILHAWKS END LOSING STREAK AGAINST SILVERBACKS
The Carolina RailHawks recorded their first win this weekend since July 18, beating the Atlanta Silverbacks 2-0 at home on Friday. The goals came just four minutes apart.
Nazmi Albadawi put the RailHawks up 1-0 in the 24th minute. The Carolina midfielder intercepted a bad back pass from the Silverbacks, weaved his way to the top of the box and launched a powerful strike off the crossbar and in.
Just four minutes later, the RailHawks doubled their lead through a Connor Tobin strike. Fullback Blake Wagner crossed in a free kick from deep to the back post, Austen King headed the ball in front of goal, and Tobin fired the RailHawks into a two-goal lead.
UNITED AND EDMONTON SHARE THE SPOILS
Minnesota United leapfrogged the Cosmos into second place on the table over the weekend after recording a 1-1 draw with FC Edmonton.
If not for a dramatic stoppage-time equalizer from the Eddies, United would be just three points back of the Fury.
Minnesota scored early in the 11th minute. Kalif Alhassan split the wall on a free kick, dipping a low ball to the bottom-left corner and past the Edmonton keeper.
Michael Nonni was sent off after a second yellow in the 25th minute, leaving the home team to fight with a man down for the rest of the match.
United gave Daryl Fordyce one too many chances to find the back of the net, and after missing his first chance, Fordyce sent United home kicking itself after scoring his second free kick in the fourth minute of injury time to earn a point for his side.
Fordyce struck a hard ball underneath the wall, and it reached the bottom right corner of the net.