Rowdies find a way to win in USL return

Filed under: Florida News,Sport,St. Petersburg,Tampa Bay Rowdies |

After more than four months of quarantine and inactivity USL soccer action returned to Tampa as the Rowdies took on Atlanta United 2 at Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg.

Both teams were ring rusty but Atlanta made life difficult for themselves when Amir Bashti was sent off in the seventh minute for bringing down Tampa Bay’s Lewis Hilton as Atlanta played a dangerous game trying to play out from the back. Hilton intercepted the ball and Bashti brought him down on the edge of the penalty area.

Down to ten men, the visitors took the lead from an outstanding finish by Jackson Conway as he picked out the top-right corner with a curling finish from 35 yards.

Atlanta, despite being down to ten men, then withstood pressure from the Rowdies until the 61st minute as a low cross by Juan Tejada from the right was turned home by Lucky Mkosana at the near post. Then, from a free kick by Hilton from the right, the Rowdies grabbed all three points as Forrest Lasso’s initial effort was saved, but Fernandes was on hand to sweep up the rebound.

“First couple of games back is a huge leveler, no matter (if you’re a) team at the top, team at the bottom, it’s the same,” Rowdies coach Neill Collins said. “It’s who adjusts better, and I don’t think we adjusted well in the first half. But credit to the boys for finding a way to win today.”

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