The Tampa Bay Rowdies fell to their first USL defeat in nearly a month on Thursday night, falling 1-0 to the Pittsburgh Riverhounds at Highmark Stadium.
Riverhounds forward Chevaughn Walsh scored the only goal of the match in the 11th minute on an assist from former Rowdies forward Corey Hertzog.
The Rowdies imposed their will on the match between the 18-yard boxes, but wasn’t clinical enough in front of goal to equalize Pittsburgh’s early goal. The Rowdies had 62 percent of possession and tallied 16 shots in the match.
Pittsburgh’s young, speedy team was lethal on the counterattack. Walsh’s goal came after a lovely, long pass forward from Hertzog in between the Rowdies’ defenders. Walsh took a couple of touches to establish control before beating Rowdies goalkeeper Matt Pickens with a shot from the top of the 18-yard box.
Hertzog had a chance to double Pittsburgh’s lead less than a minute later on another chance created by a long pass over the top of the Rowdies, but he took too many touches and didn’t have time to shoot.
In the 25th minute, Pickens made a big save on a shot from inside the box and then watched a second shot sail over the crossbar.
Joe Cole had the Rowdies’ best scoring chance of the first half in the 30th minute, but his shot was saved by Riverhounds goalkeeper Keasel Broome.
Four minutes into the second half, Pickens made another big save on a point-blank shot by Ben Fitzpatrick to keep the Rowdies’ deficit at just one goal.
Alex Morrell, making his third USL start of the season, had a shot in the 57th minute, but it was saved by Broome at the near post.
As the Rowdies chased the match, Pittsburgh’s Romeo Parkes led a quick counter to double the home side’s lead in the 88th minute and put the match out of the Rowdies’ reach.
Though they were down two goals, the Rowdies kept pushing.
Broome made an unreal series of three rapid-fire saves, denying Keith Savage, Georgi Hristov and Tamika Mkandawire in the first minute of stoppage time. Broome made another save just before the final whistle to finish his clean sheet.
Up next, the Rowdies close their three-game road trip in Charleston against the Battery on Saturday, July 1 before returning home to host FC Cincinnati on Thursday, July 6.
Riverhounds: Chevaughn Walsh – 11th minute (assisted by Corey Hertzog)
Riverhounds: Romeo Parkes – 88th minute (assisted by Kevin Kerr)
Rowdies: Martin Vingaard – 55th minute
Rowdies XI (4-2-3-1): GK Matt Pickens; D Darnell King, Tamika Mkandawire, Neill Collins, Luke Boden; M Martin Vingaard (Keith Savage 78′), Marcel Schäfer; M Alex Morrell, Joe Cole (c), Georgi Hristov; F Martin Paterson
Pittsburgh XI (4-4-2): GK Trey Mitchell; D Marshall Hollingsworth, Gale Agbossoumonde, Lalas Abubakar, Michael Green; M Danny Earls, Kevin Kerr (c), Ben Fitzpatrick (Stephen Okai 77′), Kenroy Howell; F Chevaughn Walsh (Romeo Parkes 60′), Corey Hertzog
The Tampa Bay Rowdies will play on the road next Saturday, July 1 against the Eastern Conference leaders Charleston Battery.
They will then return home to face FC Cincinnati on Thursday, July 6. Kickoff for that match will be at 8 p.m. and it will include a postgame concert by Kool & The Gang! For tickets, call (727)222-2000.