Coach Stuart Campbell wants to make his stadium “a fortress.”
Star player Joe Cole wants more than that. He wants an entire city behind the Tampa Bay Rowdies.
It’s hard to blame the Rowdies for being ambitious after team walloped Toronto FC II Saturday night. The Rowdies won 4-0, scoring three times in the first half to remove any doubt as to the night’s outcome. The Rowdies drew 4,326 fans.
“We were happy with the result and the performance from last week and we just talking about building on it,” Rowdies coach Campbell said. “We want to make this place a fortress. We want to make teams hate to come here.”
The Rowdies had been impressive in an opening week victory over Orlando City B, 1-0, but were even better Saturday night. Tampa Bay has now given up only 10 shots in its two wins. Toronto ended up with seven shots, but only one was on goal.
“We played really well last week and we played well tonight,” Cole said. “The difference was we put the ball in the back of the net. It’s a good start for us. It’s great that the crowd turned out tonight. We want to put on a show and get the whole city behind us. You can’t do much more than score four goals.”
Damion Lowe scored in the 12th minute for the Rowdies. Georgi Hristov scored his second goal in two games in the 20th minute and Cole scored his first of the season in the 22nd. Deshorn Brown scored his first in the 70th minute.
“The goal was to attack, attack, attack and be relentless,” said midfielder Michael Nanchoff.
Still, the second straight shutout impressed Campbell, too.
“Defending starts from the front and the front two (Hristov and Cole) set it all off tonight,” Campbell said after his teams’ second-consecutive clean sheet. “It filters back through the midfield, the back four and the goalkeeper. They’ve been great. They’re desperate to keep a clean sheet and it’s something we spoke about at halftime.”
Tampa Bay is home for the third straight game Saturday against Ottawa.