Tampa Bay Rowdies Unbeaten Streak Continues with 2-2 Draw Against the Carolina RailHawks

tampa bayEntering the night three teams were tied for first place in the NASL standings, the Fort Laudedale Strikers, the Tampa Bay Rowdies, and the Carolina Railhawks.

The Tampa Bay Rowdies and the Carolina Railhawks played to a 2-2 draw at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C. in front of 4,753 spectators.

The Rowdies were seconds from ending the RailHawks home unbeaten streak with a 2-1 advantage, however, midfielder Austin Da Luz notched the equalizer for Carolina as they have not lost in its last nine NASL encounters at the Triangle.

In the first half, Tampa Bay midfielder Stuart Campbell almost secured the opening goal of the match with a curling effort in the 22nd minute, only to miss by inches.

Entering the 16th minute, the visiting team was able to come up big defensively with back-to-back saves off the line by midfielder Stuart Campbell and Mulholland respectively. Although the Rowdies seemed to control more possession of the ball, the RailHawks would exploit the space behind Tampa Bay’s defense.

With the score held level at the 30-minute mark, Railhawks midfielder Ty Shipalane fired a shot from the top of the box and had it ricochet off the woodwork. Shipalane was fortunate to receive the ball again after the ball deflected off of Rowdies’ defender Frankie Sanfillipo, and buried his second chance to put the RailHawks ahead.

Carolina continued to press their advantage afterward, with forward Brian Shriver nearly netting his 13th goal of the season, only to be denied by the far post in the 39th minute.

“Very exciting game, both teams are trying to win,” said Rowdies coach Ricky Hill at halftime.  “It is always great to see, however I can’t be displeased with our team’s performance in the first half.”

In the second both clubs gunning for the three points, beginning with a chance for RailHawks’ Shriver, who was denied a goal by Rowdies goalkeeper Diego Restrepo in a one-on-one scenario.

Tampa Bay saw the momentum shift their way and in the 62nd minute found the equalizer. Midfielder Evans Frimpong picked up Hristov’s cross and placed his shot in the back of the net. With Hristov leading the Rowdies in assists, Frimpong now has two goals in his last two matches.

The Rowdies were not done yet, as minutes later Mulholland led a perfect counter attack down the right flank, sending in a cross to defender Jay Needham. The Texas native headed the incoming ball into the far post to put the Rowdies up 2-1. The go-ahead goal was Needham’s third goal of the 2013 season.

With the tie, Tampa Bay extended their unbeaten run to nine matches, which includes four wins and five draws.

Scoring Summary:
Carolina: Tiyi Shipalane – 30th minute
Tampa Bay: Evans Frimpong – 72nd minute (Assisted by Georgi Hristov)
Tampa Bay: Jay Needham – 74th minute (Assisted by Luke Mulholland)
Carolina: Austin Da Luz – 90th minute

Caution Summary
Carolina: Zack Schilawski – 79th minute
Tampa Bay: Shane Hill – 90th minute

Starting XI
Tampa Bay

GK Diego Restrepo; D Frankie Sanfilippo (Captain), D Takuya Yamada, D Jay Needham, D Jordan Gafa; M Luke Mulholland, M Stuart Campbell (Shane Hill 62′), M Keith Savage (Devin Del Do 62′); F Evans Frimpong, F Georgi Hristov; F Lucky Mkosana (Raphael Cox 83′)

GK Akira Fitzgerald; D Kevin Rutkiewicz, D Julius James, D Paul Hamilton, D Kupono Low; M Tiyi Shipalane (Nick Addlery 87′), M Nick Millington (Cesar Elizondo 82′), M Kenney Walker, M Austin Da Luz (Captain); F Enzo Martinez (Zack Schilawski 73′), F Brian Shriver

Pedro Heizer

The founder, editor and publisher of 90 Minutes Stong, Pedro is credentialed member of U.S. Soccer, Orlando City Soccer Club, Fort Lauderdale Strikers and others, as well as a member of the North American Soccer Reporters.

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