Soccer MPR — August 17, 2014 at 10:54 am

Rowdies Dominate The Cosmos

Image Credit: Tampa Bay Rowdies

Image Credit: Tampa Bay Rowdies

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – The New York Cosmos fell to the Tampa Bay Rowdies 3-1 on Saturday, Aug. 16 at Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg, Fla.

The game’s opening goal came in the 22nd minute, after Rowdies winger Keith Savage found himself in the right place at the right time to finish off forward Amani Walker’s low cross. Walker acted as the pivot for much of the Rowdies attack throughout the match, holding the ball up well, and getting an assist.

The Cosmos didn’t sit on the back foot after conceding the opener, though, and had two quality chances soon after. Winger Jemal Johnson missed on a shot from a tight angle in the 38th minute, and striker Mads Stokkelien blazed over the Rowdies goal from inside the six-yard area with less than five minutes remaining in the opening half.

“We weren’t able to take advantage of our opportunities,” said Cosmos head coach Giovanni Savarese following the match. “We created good chances and played well at times, but we didn’t finish and we got tired at the end.”

Midfielder Marcos Senna looked to ignite the Cosmos in the second half, and made his intentions known with a long-range effort in the 50th minute that forced Rowdies goalkeeper Matt Pickens into action in goal.

New York pressured to begin the half, but was unable to find the net. The Rowdies doubled their advantage through Tamika Mkandawire in the 58th minute. The defender fired into the net to make it 2-0 in favor of Tampa Bay.

Substitute striker Stefan Dimitrov pulled one back for the Cosmos when he beat the offside trap and fired a shot in off the post in the 81st minute, but any thoughts of a comeback were quickly dashed when Rowdies substitute Blake Wagner scored on a low-driven effort in the 91st minute to seal all three points for the home side.

“I think the conditions were a little bit difficult tonight, and the guys couldn’t find their game,” Savarese said. “We have to learn from this.”

“From the start, we didn’t keep the ball well enough,” said Cosmos captain Carlos Mendes. “Give them credit, they came out and had a game plan. Now we have to be prepared to win at home.”

Despite the loss, the Cosmos remain in third in the NASL combined table They’ll try to improve upon that nextSaturday, Aug. 23 when they return home to take on Minnesota United FC at 7:00 p.m. at Hofstra University’s Shuart Stadium.


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