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Rowdies lose first game of the season, 2-1, in trip to Louisville

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The Tampa Bay Rowdies took to the road for the first time this season.

Unfortunately, they didn’t take Al Lang Stadium with them.

After three straight wins at home, the Rowdies fell 2-1 to Louisville Saturday night. Louisville, 3-0-1, took over first place in the USL’s Eastern Division. The Rowdies fell into a tie for third, one point out.

“It was a tough match, in a very tight pitch,” said Rowdies’ coach Stuart Campbell. “We knew it was going to be a physical match tonight and that’s exactly what happened. We controlled most of the second half and created several chances to equalize but ultimately we walk away with zero points.”

George Davis IV scored first for Louisville at the 22 minute mark. After receiving a pass from forward Luke Spencer, Davis had time to find space and rip a shot past goalkeeper Matt Pickens, who was playing in his first game. It was the first goal conceded by the Rowdies since joining the USL

Louisville increased its lead to 2-0 at the 87-minute mark.  A through ball by midfielder Paolo DelPiccolo led forward Cameron Lancaster free on goal. Lancaster chipped a helpless Pickens, making it 2-0 with just a few minutes left to play.

The Rowdies would get a goal in the 89th minute to make things interesting, but Martin Paterson’s first goal since joining the Rowdies wouldn’t be enough to earn a point on the road.

“Whenever you give up a goal early on, it changes the dynamic of a match,” said Campbell. “Being a goal down and chasing a match makes everything harder on the field.”

The Rowdies struggled to find the right rhythm to the game.

“It was tough to play tonight,” said midfielder Martin Vingaard. “I felt that the first half was very physical and it made it very difficult to string together passes going forward. Just as we would get into a flow, a foul would be called.”

The Rowdies now travel to Cincinnati for a midweek game on Wednesday.

“We need to turn the page and start thinking about Cincinnati,” said Campbell. “We need to take this loss and learn from it. It’s a quick turnaround with the game being on Wednesday, but that’s also a good thing for us. It’ll be a different game against Cincinnati and we’re looking forward to bouncing back on Wednesday.”

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Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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