It’s been a tough season for the expansion FC Tampa Bay Rowdies. After building a 5-1-3 record after the season’s opening two months, the team couldn’t buy a win as the season went on, and missed the playoffs. Coach Paul Dalglish was dismissed with two games left, replaced on an interim basis by former NASL Rowdies’ legend Perry Van Der Beck.
But, at least for one night, the Rowdies exorcised the demons of 2010 and rewarded a crowd of over 4,300 at George M. Steinbrenner Field Friday night with a 6-3 win over Crystal Palace Baltimore. They also gave Van Der Beck a win, on the night where he was honored by the Rowdies organization and his old number retired.
The Rowdies came out swinging against the hurting Crystal Palace Baltimore side. By the half hour mark, FC Tampa Bay had amassed a 4-0 lead, as Chad Burt opened the floodgates in the 3rd minute, and Aaron King connected for his 11th goal of 2010 in the 12th minute. Midfielder Mozzi Gyorio got his first of the year a minute later and doubled his output in the 29th minute. Midfielder Pascal Millien picked up two assists in the outburst, and Tayuka Yamada got another.
Crystal Palace Baltimore got on the board in the 39th minute, as Audato Neto beat Rowdies’ keeper Daryl Sattler to get Baltimore on the scoreboard. The half ended with the Rowdies up 4-1.
Aaron King got a brace and his 12th goal of the year at the hour mark. But Jim Cherneski, CP Baltimore coach and now player, showed the boys how to do it by netting twice within three minutes shortly afterward. Rowdies’ midfielder Ricardo Sanchez finished the night’s scoring by converting a penalty kick at the 70th minute mark.
The win gives the Rowdies a season record of 7-12-11, and the team certainly gave their fans an entertaining exhibition to end the season on. Crystal Palace Baltimore ended their season on a sour note. After getting six wins against playoff-bound teams, the CP Baltimore squad ended the year with eight straight losses.
Notes: The combination of nine goals scored by the Rowdies and CP Baltimore Friday night was the most in any USSF D2 game in 2010. The next highest total was six combined goals in a game, which was achieved several times. Although Baltimore goalkeeper Mark Murphy was strafed by FC Tampa Bay, he made an athletic one-handed save on a Maykel Galindo shot, tipping the ball over the goal.
FC Tampa Bay Starting Lineup: Sattler, Valentin. Morrow. Diaz, Yamada, Sanchez, Millien, Gyorio, Burt, King, Galindo Subs Used: Nyazamba, Adjeman-Pamboe
CP Baltimore Starting Lineup: Murphy, Veeder, Texeira, Pejic, Flores, Healey, Cherneski, Sanchez, Neto, Bumbut, Brooks