A moment of sheer brilliance from Deshorn Brown lifted the Tampa Bay Rowdies to a 1-0 win over the Richmond Kickers Saturday night, breaking the Rowdies’ short winless streak in style.
The Rowdies now stand at 4 wins, 1 tie, and 2 losses, with 13 points. They entered the match on a three-game winless streak, but bounced back to climb into a tie on points for first place in the Eastern Conference standings. Attendance for Saturday’s match was 4,829.
“We knew (Richmond) would sit deep and we’d have a lot of the ball,” Rowdies Head Coach Stuart Campbell said. “I wanted us to be more patient and I wanted to win the individual battles. I wanted all of us, first and foremost, to think about their defensive roles and responsibilities and I thought every man did that and they deserve a lot of credit.”
Brown’s goal came in the 45th minute on a moment of individual skill.
Marcel Schäfer played a cross from the left wing that was contested by Darnell King and a Kickers defender, with the ball being headed back toward the penalty where Brown was waiting in more space than he should have been afforded. As Brown watched the ball fall, he gathered himself and pulled off a leaping scissor kick that Kickers goalkeeper Matt Turner was helpless to stop.
“I like doing bicycle kicks and today was a chance for me to do it,” Brown said. “I made up my mind to go for it and got the goal. … It was pretty important for us to get the win tonight because last week was a rough week for us. There was a lot of frustration for us, so to get back from that and start winning again is a good feeling.”
As a result of Brown’s goal just before halftime, Tampa Bay went into the locker room with a 1-0 lead it wouldn’t relinquish, earning its first clean sheet since April 8 in the process.
The match followed a familiar arc for the Rowdies this season, with the Rowdies dominating possession and chances, but not being clinical enough to put the match away early.
The Rowdies had 66.3 percent possession and out-passed the Kickers (2-0-4, 6 points) by a wide margin, 572 to 296, but it took nearly until halftime for the Rowdies to pull ahead.
Tampa Bay had chances to extend its lead in the second half — none better than Brown’s 81st-minute jaunt into Richmond’s box before firing a shot that missed the upper 90 by inches — but didn’t need to score a second goal to win.
The Rowdies’ defense was back to the stifling form it opened the season in, keeping the Kickers at a distance and not allowing a shot on goal all night as Rowdies goalkeeper Matt Pickens eased to his first clean sheet of the season.
The Rowdies head on the road next week face the Ottawa Fury FC in Ottawa Saturday afternoon before returning home to host Louisville City FC at Al Lang Stadium May 13.
Rowdies: Deshorn Brown – 45th minute
Rowdies: Damion Lowe – 40th minute
Richmond: Fred Owusu Sekyere – 88th minute
Rowdies XI (4-2-3-1): GK Matt Pickens; D Darnell King, Damion Lowe, Neill Collins, Marcel Schäfer; M Justin Chavez, Martin Vingaard; M Darwin Jones (Michael Nanchoff 81′), Joe Cole (c), Leo Fernandes (Georgi Hristov 60′); F Deshorn Brown
Richmond XI (4-5-1): GK Matt Turner; D Alex Lee, Evan Lee, Mallan Roberts, Braeden Troyer; M Conor Shanosky (c) (Luis Fernando 79′), Samuel Asante (Anthony Grant 64′), Patrick McCann, Fred Owusu Seykere, Oliver Minatel (Sunny Jane 64′); F Alhaji Kamara