Rowdies rally for draw, keep playoff hopes intact

ST. PETERSBURG (October 5, 2016) – The Tampa Bay Rowdies’ road to the playoffs nearly hit a speed bump on Wednesday night against Minnesota United FC, but Keith Savage jumped into the drivers’ seat in stoppage time and kept Tampa Bay on course with a game-tying goal in stoppage time to salvage a 2-2 draw.

The Rowdies entered the match in a three-way tie for fourth place and a potential playoff spot, but risked falling three points behind Minnesota United until Savage’s dramatic equalizer.

Minnesota took a lead twice in the match with goals in the 17th and 51st minutes via Christian Ramirez and J.C. Banks, respectively, but the Rowdies never gave up. Georgi Hristov equalized in the 31st minute before Savage earned Tampa Bay a point in stoppage time.

The Rowdies came into the match knowing how important it was. With less than a month remaining in the regular season, the Rowdies find themselves in a dead heat playoff race.

For much of the second half, it appeared Tampa Bay would fall behind in the race with a home loss as chance after chance was denied.

But Savage changed the course of the race.

The Rowdies will be disappointed with the quality of both goals conceded on the night, the result of sloppy defending and failing to clear the ball, but Hristov and Savage’s goals mean the Rowdies extended their unbeaten streak to seven games.

Hristov’s goal, assisted by Tommy Heinemann, was his ninth of the season, a sharp left-footed finish past Loons goalkeeper Sammy Ndjock.

Wednesday’s result sees the Rowdies remain tied with Minnesota on points with both clubs moving one point ahead of sixth-place Miami. The Rowdies retain the advantage of having a game in hand compared to Minnesota.

Now, the Rowdies face another tough test, traveling to Canada for a Sunday afternoon match against FC Edmonton on short rest. Tampa Bay then heads to Miami to face Miami FC on October 14 before hosting the Indy Eleven on October 19 in its next home game.

–  Article courtesy of the Tampa Bay Rowdies

 

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