A tie was something, at least. And for a team that has had a lot of nothing over the last several weeks, it will do.
The Tampa Bay Rowdies rallied from a two-goal deficit to gain a 2-2 tie against first-place Ottawa Saturday night in Ottawa, giving new coach Stuart Campbell the first point of his regime. Tampa Bay scored the equalizer on a goal by Darwin Espinal in the 87th minute.
Tampa Bay had been in a horrid slump, one that led to the firing of ex-coach Thomas Rongen and ex-general manager Farrukh Quraishi. Campbell took over only two days before the team’s prior loss to Minnesota.
“They gave 100 percent and that’s all I want them to do,” Stuart Campbell said. “I don’t think there are many teams that could come from 2-nil down in Ottawa and nick a point. It’s a credit to the guys that I’m disappointed to just take one point from this match. When you’ve been on the run we’ve been on, you’re not going to win three- or four-nil, you have to turn things around step by step and this was a great step forward.”
The Rowdies trailed 2-1 at the half after Tamika Mkandawire scored, but didn’t get the tying goal in until late.
“Even though we were losing 2-1 for a long time, I wanted us to stay patient, stick to our principles and find a way back into the match,” Campbell said. “We did that and I think it worked. It feels great getting a point in the manner that we did, but I know for a fact that when we watch video of this match, we’re going to be frustrated we didn’t win.”
The Rowdies return home to continue their hunt for a playoff berth against the New York Cosmos on Saturday, September 5.