Tampa Bay Rowdies draw 2-2 with New York Red Bulls II

Filed under: Florida News,Sport,Tampa Bay Rowdies |

A point won or two points thrown away is the question Tampa Bay Rowdies Head Coach Neill Collins will be asking himself after seeing his side draw 2-2 with New York Red Bulls II at Al Lang Stadium, St Petersburg this evening.

The game started in explosive fashion as the Red Bulls took the lead in the first minute when Jared Stroud (pictured abpve No. 50) cut in from the left hand side and curled a neat right footed shot into the right hand side of the net from the corner of the penalty box.

The Rowdies hit back almost immediately as Junior Flemings, a former Red Bull, went down rather easily inside the box in the seventh minute and referee Elvis Osmanovic gave the home side the chance to equalize from the penalty spot. Up stepped another former Red Bull, Stefano Bonomo (Pictured top of page) and he slotted home a firm strike to the right hand side to level things up.

Barely two minutes later, Bonomo had the ball in the net again as the visitors were caught napping. Flemmings was allowed a free run down the right flank and he pinpointed a cross for Bonomo to slot past New York goalkeeper, Evan Louro.

The game ignited in the ninth minute of first half added time as Flemings (Pictured above No. 7) was shown a straight red card for a foul on Red Bulls midfielder Cristian Casseres Jr. Seconds earlier, Flemmings had felt aggrieved not to have won a decision when Casseres Jr. clearly shoved his former colleague in an off the ball incident and he then went into the subsequent challenge a little too strongly for referee Osmanovic’s liking.

Casseres Jr. made the most of the incident as he flew into the air and clutched his face, but replays suggested no such contact was actually made. It was a decisive moment that changed the course of the game. The Rowdies had looked very comfortable and had threatened to add to their lead upto that point and it was probably the reason why Collins flew into a rage as he felt both the player and the Red Bull bench had been responsible for the harsh decision to send Flemmings off.

Osmanovic then compounded his decision by ordering Collins from the touchline and showing him the red card also.

Half Time: Tampa Bay Rowdies 2 New York Red Bulls II 1

Fortunately, the half time break allowed time for tempers to cool down and the Rowdies set out to defend the lead their enterprising football had allowed them. Red Bulls piled on the pressure and dominated the play. Eventually something had to give and after failing to register a shot in the second half, the Rowdies conceded the equalizer that the visitors fully deserved.

In the 62nd minute, the visitors worked the ball to the left flank and Brian White delivered a superb header from Chris Lema’s cross to level things up.

After the game Collins said “All we ask for is a modicum of consistency (from referees), I respect how hard the referees’ job is and I respect that they’re not going to get every decision right, but when you look at 11 games (since I became coach) and three red cards in the first half for nothing more than, at most, a yellow card, it makes my job even more difficult. It’s very, very frustrating.”

He then added : “Credit to our boys, they played well in the second half. Overall we made it tough for (New York) to break us down. I just go away with disappointment for my players, because they trained so, so hard this week.”

With another point in the bag, the Rowdies will head to Canada next week to take on the Ottawa Fury FC on Friday, August 3 before returning home to host back-to-back matches against the Charleston Battery on August 8th and North Carolina FC on August 11. For tickets to those matches, call (727) 222-2000 or click here.

Full Time: Tampa Bay Rowdies 2 New York Red Bulls II 2

Starting Lineups

Rowdies XI (4-3-3): GK Cody Mizell; D Papé Diakité, Max Lachowecki, Tamika Mkandawire, Kyle Porter; M Joe Cole (c) (Hunter Gorskie 72′), Dominic Oduro, Kwadwo Poku; F Junior Flemmings, Stefano Bonomo (Leon Taylor 77′), Leo Fernandes (Michael Nanchoff 62′)

New York XI (4-3-3): GK Evan Louro; D Niko De Vera, Kevin Politz, Hassan Ndam, Lucas Stauffer (Allen Yanes 83′); M Chris Lema, Andrew Tinari, Vincent Bezecourt (Cristian Cásseres Jr. 40′); F Jared Stroud, Tom Barlow (Ben Mines 75′), Brian White

More photos at www.FloridaLeisurePhotography.com

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