OTTAWA, CANADA – The Tampa Bay Rowdies’ first visit to Ottawa Fury FC’s impressive new TD Place stadium couldn’t have gone much better, with the Rowdies notching a 2-0 win on the road.
Brian Shriver and Darel Russell each got on the scoresheet as the Rowdies picked up their third win in four weeks. It was the Rowdies’ second clean sheet of the season.
“We’re delighted with the victory and extra delighted to get the clean sheet,” Rowdies coach Ricky Hill said. “We haven’t had many of those, so props to the guys for doing that. I thought some of our play tonight was excellent overall and I’m happy with the performance.”
After a well-balanced first 28 minutes, Brian Shriver tapped home the opening goal. Georgi Hristov dribbled the ball to the endline and created enough space for himself to slide a pass to Shriver, who first-timed toward the far post and into the net.
“Once Georgi got to the endline and started dribbling toward goal, instead of making a run in, I kind of popped back out to give him something to pass to,” Shriver said.
“He played a good ball, nice and crisp into me. I just tried to flick it toward goal and it got over the keeper and in.”
It was Shriver’s second goal of the season and first since April 19.
“It felt so good, because it’s been a long time for me,” Shriver said. “It’s my first goal since getting hurt and hopefully it’ll start a little bit of form for me. It’s a relief and I’m glad I could help the team.”
In the 41st minute, Darel Russell doubled the Rowdies’ lead with a laser from well outside the box past Ottawa goalkeeper Romuald Peiser and into the top corner of the net.
Ottawa created moments of danger in the opening 45 minutes, but could not manage to capitalize on any, sending the match into the locker room at 2-0.
Neither side scored in the second 45 minutes, though Ottawa had the better chances. The Fury’s Tom Heinemann did appear to pull a goal back in the 70th minute, but the play was whistled offside.
Georgi Hristov had a shot saved at point-blank range by Peiser just before stoppage time, but the match ended 2-0.
Tampa Bay coach Ricky Hill a few changes to his starting lineup, with Willie Hunt and Evans Frimpong entering the first team. Club captain Frankie Sanfilippo did not make the trip to Ottawa after sustaining a knock in training Thursday, with Hunt replacing him as right back. Evans Frimpong started the match on the right side of midfield, with Shriver moving to the forward line. Centerback Tamika Mkandawire wore the captain’s armband in Sanfilippo’s absence.
“It’s a massive honor for myself,” Mkandawire said. “I’m new to the team, so when Coach Hill asked me to skipper the side tonight, I was delighted. I’m honored to have captained the Rowdies and it was great to get the win and a clean sheet. It’s fantastic.”
Next, the Rowdies travel to Minnesota for a meeting with Minnesota United FC on September 6. The Rowdies will welcome Ottawa Fury FC to Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg on September 13. For tickets, click here.