Tampa Bay Rowdies
Rowdies must settle for draw
TAMPA - The FC Tampa Bay Rowdies were hoping the return of midfielder Jeremy Christie would provide a boost after his absence due to World Cup duty for New Zealand. Christie provided just that, scoring what appeared to be a game-winning goal in the 82nd minute, only for Miami's Edward Santeliz to grab a last-minute equalizer as the two teams played to a 1-1 draw on Sunday night at Steinbrenner Field. The Rowdies had built up some pressure prior to Christie's goal, forcing three consecutive corners with 10 minutes to go. From the third of those, a Miami defender headed clear at the near post, but the Rowdies won possession back quickly. The ball came to Christie, who curled a right-footed shot from 25 yards into the right corner of the net. That left the Rowdies on the verge of snapping out of a four-game losing streak with a victory, but Miami found an answer as it piled pressure forward in the final eight minutes. After withstanding a number of chances, and even having opportunities to counter-attack and find an insurance goal, Santeliz broke the Rowdies' hearts as he headed home a cross from the right by Bryan Dominguez, earning his side a point."It's a little bit heartbreaking, to be honest,"Christie said. "We worked hard and we're playing so decent football. ... It's always heartbreaking when you give up a goal late on." After the game was delayed for 1 hour, 45 minutes due to lightning and heavy rain, 5,123 fans braving the deluge to watch the game, Miami had the better of both halves with Christian Gomez particularly dangerous. The former Major League Soccer MVP forced numerous good saves from Rowdies goalkeeper Daryl Sattler, especially from a dangerous free kick from the left in the 32nd minute. Tampa Bay also had its chances, and played far better than in recent performances with a more patient, passing approach which left players able to find more time and space on the ball. Mozzi Gyorio, making just his second career start, played a big role and was active in picking up possession and looking to spark the Rowdies into attack. "He's the youngest guy in our squad and I've tried to be a little bit patient with him trying to ease him in gently," Rowdies coach Paul Dalglish said of Gyorio. "He's made it too difficult to leave him out now, and every day in training he comes with a great attitude, the kid's got a great future in front of him." Gyorio almost played Pascal Millien in behind the Miami defense in the 19th minute, the angle proving too tight for a strong shot. Christie also did well creatively, an angled cross from the right being headed just wide by Long Tan and a long ball releasing JJ Adjeman-Pamboe being well saved at his left post by Miami goalkeeper Caleb Patterson-Sewell. But though there were dangerous moments for the Rowdies, especially when Millien got into one-on-ones with Mike Randolph down the wing, there weren't enough to put Miami under sustained pressure. "We just need to work this week on being a little more creative, trying to make a few more chances" Dalglish said. With the chances they created, Miami would have been hard done by to leave Tampa without a point. The manner in which they achieved it, though, will leave a bitter taste in the Rowdies' mouths. "I think a draw is probably a fair result on the night," Dalglish said, "but it's a sore one to take when you've put yourself 1-0 up with a few minutes to go."
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