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 Tampa Bay Rowdies

Rowdies Take a Point in North Carolina

March 23, 2024 - United Soccer League Championship (USL)
Tampa Bay Rowdies News Release


CARY, N.C. - The Tampa Bay Rowdies picked up a point in their first road contest of the season on Saturday night, finishing knotted 1-1 with North Carolina FC at WakeMed Soccer Park.

"I didn't think it was a great game from our perspective, to be honest," said Rowdies Head Coach Robbie Neilson. "The ball retention from us wasn't good enough... We just didn't control the game at all. It was erratic. That was probably the most disappointing thing."

For the second straight week, the Rowdies fielded a light bench of only six players. Freddy Kleemann made his first appearance of the year after missing the season opener last week, but the center back was taken off at halftime as a precaution. Among the Rowdies injury report on Saturday were Charlie Dennis, Zach Herivaux, Nick Moon, and Zane Bubb. Wingback Pacifique Niyongabire was also unavailable due to international duty with Burundi.

"Injuries are part and parcel of the game,' said Neilson. "I think once we get a full-strength team together we'll be a totally different team... It does make it a little bit difficult right now but we just have to deal with it. The guys that are in there are more than capable and they're working hard at the moment. Once we get more guys fit, we will hopefully be able to start building and progressing more."

The Rowdies were the ones who were able to take the lead in the 65th through a miscue by the hosts. A driven corner kick by Rowdies midfielder Lewis Hilton deflected off the head of a defender before reaching North Carolina's Mikey Maldonado, whose attempted clearance in the center of the box wound up in the back of his own net.

Tampa Bay's lead was short lived, though. In the 73rd minute, a teasing cross by North Carolina's Louis Perez from the left wing made its way through a line of players in Tampa Bay's box, finally reaching an unmarked Rafa Mentzingen on the back post for the finish.

"We've come away from home and picked up another point," said Neilson. "We would have liked three, but the way we played tonight we probably have to accept just a point and work to improve for next week. Now it's all about getting on the training pitch to get ready for next Saturday."

The Rowdies return home to Al Lang Stadium on Saturday, March 30 to face USL Championship newcomer Rhode Island FC at 7:30 p.m. ET. Fans can purchase tickets for the match at rowdiessoccer.com/tickets/.

Scoring Summary

TBR - Maldonado (NC Own Goal), 65′

NC - Mentzingen (Perez), 73′

Lineups

TBR: Farr, Kleemann (Dezart, 46′), Lasso, Guillen, Doherty, Hilton, Crisostomo (Perez, 66), Bodily, Jennings, Arteaga, Rivera (Fernandes, 66′)

NC: McGuire, Malou, Craig, Batista, Mentzingen, Maldonado, Perez, Martin, Armstrong, Anderson, Da Costa


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The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

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