EDMONTON, Alberta, Canada (October 9, 2016) — The Tampa Bay Rowdies’ seven-game unbeaten streak was snapped with a 1-0 loss to FC Edmonton on a snowy Sunday afternoon in Canada.
FC Edmonton’s Ben Fisk scored the only goal of the match in the 13th minute, nodding home a Dustin Corea cross from the left wing past Rowdies goalkeeper Matt Pickens at the near post.
Tampa Bay had a few scoring chances, including close-range shots from Tommy Heinemann and Keith Savage, but didn’t put enough of them on target. The Rowdies took 13 shots on the afternoon, but forced Eddies goalkeeper Matt Van Oekel to make just two saves en route to his NASL record 15th clean sheet of the season.
“We had two or three really good scoring opportunities in the first half,” Rowdies Head Coach Stuart Campbell said. “If we take one of them and score, it’s a completely different game. Unfortunately, we couldn’t. Goals change games and we didn’t score any. We can’t keep relying on our defenders to keep clean sheets to give us a chance to win. We need to start putting the ball in the back of the net more regularly.”
The Rowdies came into the match on the back of a long week, having hosted Miami FC on Wednesday night before making the long trek to Edmonton and ran out of steam a bit in the second half.
Tampa Bay started the match as the better side, putting pressure on the Eddies early, but Edmonton’s defenders did a good job of blocking shots before they reached Van Oekel.
Fisk’s goal in the 13th minute, his second in two matches, was Edmonton’s only shot on goal in the first half. Both teams ended with two shots on goal in the match.
The Rowdies had a chance to equalize in the 26th minute, when Georgi Hristov played Heinemann in on goal with a silky through ball, but Heinemann’s first-time shot from a sharp angle at the near post missed wide.
Tampa Bay really should’ve equalized in added time in the first half when a lucky bounce popped the ball to the feet of Keith Savage six yards from goal, but Savage’s left-footed shot across the goal went wide.
The second half was much more even, with both teams looking threatening, but not putting enough shots on target to worry the opposing goalkeeper.
As time slipped away, the Rowdies got desperate and nearly found a stoppage time equalizer for the second time in two matches with Joe Cole getting on the end of a long PC lob into the box from the Rowdies’ half, but Cole couldn’t quite redirect the shot toward goal.
It was a difficult afternoon for the Rowdies, with a temperature of 32 degrees at kickoff and dropping. The first half was marked by significant snowfall and gusty winds blowing into the face of Pickens. Conditions were milder in the second half, a natural advantage for the Eddies.
Tampa Bay now returns to Florida for the remainder of the regular season, visiting Miami FC on Friday, October 14 before returning home to host the Indy Eleven and Ottawa Fury FC next week before wrapping up the regular season in Jacksonville on Halloween weekend.
FC Edmonton: Ben Fisk - 13th minute (Assisted by Dustin Corea)
FC Edmonton: Adam Eckersley - 29th minute
Tampa Bay: PC - 71st minute
Tampa Bay XI (4-2-3-1): GK Matt Pickens; D Darnell King, Tamika Mkandawire (c), Neill Collins, PC; M Martin Vingaard (Kalif Alhassan 77'), Keith Savage; M Eric Avila, Joe Cole, Georgi Hristov; F Tommy Heinemann (Carlos Preciado 68')
FC Edmonton XI (4-1-4-1): GK Matt Van Oekel; D Shawn Nicklaw, Albert Watson (c), Pape Diakite, Adam Eckersley; M Nik Ledgerwood; M Dustin Corea (Pedro Galvao 81'), Shamite Shome (Nico Di Biase 72'), Daryl Fordyce, Ben Fisk (Jake Keegan 86'); F Tomi Ameobi