Crystal Palace Baltimore fall in opener
Baltimore, MD - Crystal Palace Baltimore fell by a score of 1-0 to visiting FC Tampa Bay Rowdies at UMBC Stadium tonight. A noisy crowd of 1,029 braved strong winds and heavy rain showers to witness the debut game for both clubs in the new USSF Division-2 Pro League.
This first game of the season for both sides was played at a frenetic pace but without much goalmouth action. Palace controlled the opening ten minutes of the first half and looked dangerous in the latter stages of the second. Tampa's second half goal came from a clever lobbed pass that deceived the Palace defense. Aaron King, who had come on as a substitute just minutes earlier, took advantage of a fortunate bounce as he challenged Andrew Marshall in the air. As the players collided, the ball fell kindly for the Tampa forward who finished clinically past Evan Bush from twelve yards out.
Palace failed to capitalize on their few chances. In the third minute of the game, Randi Patterson was sent through on goal down the right channel by the industrious Neto, but Patterson placed his effort a foot wide of the right-hand post. It wasn't until the second half that Palace came close again when Mathew Mbuta created a chance out of nothing from the left corner of the box. The Cameroonian winger's swerving shot took Daryl Sattler in the Tampa Bay goal by surprise. He was always scrambling to cover his left-hand post as he watched the ball rattle off the woodwork and back into play. Palace 'keeper Evan Bush kept his side in the game with ten minutes left, pulling off an impressive finger-tip save to keep a mis-hit cross by Aaron Wheeler out of the goal. Palace pressed forward as time was running out, and in the second of four minutes of added time, Mathew Mbuta was unable to convert on an awkward bouncing cross from Lucio with the open goal beckoning.
Palace will look to change their fortunes next Saturday evening when they host the Puerto Rico Islanders at UMBC Stadium.
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