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Georgi Hristov scores twice to lead Rowdies to third straight win

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The Tampa Bay Rowdies completed the Dream Week Saturday night.

The Rowdies beat Ottawa, 2-1, for their third win in eight days. Georgi Hristov scored both goals, and the Rowdies’ defense was good enough to hold Ottawa to only one.

Ottawa tied the game at the 49-minute mark, but three minutes later, Joe Cole fed Hristov with a perfect lead for his second goal of the game. This time, the Rowdies made that stand.

“It was the perfect response,” Rowdies Head Coach Stuart Campbell said. “We spoke at halftime about going out as if the score was 0-0 because I thought the next goal would be huge. When they scored, I was frustrated because of the manner of it. For a split second, I thought, ‘Oh boy, here we go again at home,’ but thankfully the guys gave a great response and got a goal pretty much straightaway.”

The match turned chippy in the second half, but Campbell said that was okay.

“I like that,” Campbell said. “We can more look ater ourselfvs. We can more than handle the physical confrontation that’s thrown at us.”

Campbell’s team has won five and drawn three of its last 10.

“It’s been good,” Campbell said. “I’ve said it all season. The guys come in day in and day out and the attitude and application from the guys has been superb. We haven’t quite had a couple calls go our way. If we had them, we’d be right up there. Credit to the guys because they haven’t been disappointed, they’ve been frustrated and they come every day to set things right.”

For Hristov, it gave him three goals in four days.

“It feels great (to be on this kind of run,)” Hristov said as the Rowdies earned their third win in eight days. “It’s tough to play three games in one week and we won all of them. I have to say that the whole team, all of the guys, have been working really, really hard. They work so hard and this win is for all of us.”

The Rowdies head to Jacksonville to play the Jacksonville Armada FC next weekend with a 4 p.m. kickoff Saturday afternoon at Community First Park at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville.

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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