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Newcomer Joe Cole leads the Rowdies past Minnesota United on the road

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This was the kind of game the Tampa Bay Rowdies had in mind when they signed Joe Cole.

The Rowdies blanked Minnesota United, 2-0. The victory left the Rowdies tied for sixth in the NASL, but they are only two points out of second place.

Cole headed the ball in for one goal, then assisted on the other to lead the way for the Rowdies.

“For most of our games, we’ve performed pretty well and the results haven’t matched it,” Rowdies Head Coach Stuart Campbell said. “We feel we should have more points on the board, but credit to the players, they’ve never put their heads down. They’ve kept coming in and working hard and we all knew that if we kept playing the way we were, things would change.”

Cole’s goal was scored off a Kalif Alhassan cross that gave the Rowdies a lead two minutes before halftime. This goal is the first for the Rowdies since his arrival in early in the month.

Shortly after halftime, midfielder Eric Avila made it 2-0 when he finished a Cole through ball first-time past Minnesota goalkeeper Sammy Ndjock into the bottom corner of the net.

“I thought we played really well tonight, especially in the first half, and we showed a lot of character,” Cole said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do for sure, but we picked up the points tonight. That was my third header goal of my career. … It was nice to get on the score sheet and get my first goal for my new club.”

The Rowdies play Wednesday night against FC Cincinnati in the U.S. Open tournament at Al Lang Stadium.

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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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