Ricardo Sanchez fired home the tying goal in the second minute of stoppage time to grab a point for the FC Tampa Bay Rowdies with a 1-1 draw against the Puerto Rico Islanders at the Estadio Ramon Loubriel on Wednesday night, keeping the side in the eighth and final playoff place in the USSF Division II.
The Rowdies (6-8-7) appeared to be headed for defeat and falling behind the Islanders in the standings, but Sanchez struck a left-footed shot from just outside the penalty area that hit the underside of the crossbar and went into the net. Since his arrival from Vancouver last month in a trade with fellow midfielder Jonny Steele, Sanchez has scored a goal in all three games, also adding an assist.
Puerto Rico (6-7-7) had taken the lead in the 31st minute when Josh Hansen scored off an assist by Kevon Villaroel. Islanders defender Marco Velez had earlier seen a header come back off the crossbar as Puerto Rico had the better of the first half.
The Rowdies rallied as the second half wore on, though, and after Sanchez tied the game, JJ Adjeman-Pamboe had a chance to grab victory that would have jumped the side over Montreal, which drew 0-0 against Baltimore.
The Rowdies are tied with the Impact on 25 points, but have played one game fewer than their Canadian rivals.
The Rowdies will now complete their three-game road trip with their final meeting of the regular season with last-place Miami on Saturday night at Lockhart Stadium at 7:30.