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Rowdies disappointed after earning a draw with last-place Indy

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The new kids were pretty good, but the Tampa Bay Rowdies were not quite good enough in a midweek match Wednesday night at Al Lang Stadium.

The Rowdies drew 1-1 with the last-place Indy 11, letting a perfect opportunity to slip back into fourth place in the combined NASL standings.

Tampa Bay’s lone goal came when newcomer Long Tan one-timed a shot in off a corner kick from Freddie Adu, who has spent most of his time with the Rowdies on the injured list. But Indy was able to sneak the equalizer home when Jamie Frias kicked a ball in just to the right of goaltender Matt Pickens.

The Rowdies technically are tied with Edmonton for fourth place, but Tampa Bay trails the Eddies by four goals in the tiebreaker.

“(Tan and Adu) made a positive impact on the match,” Rowdies Head Coach Stuart Campbell said. “I’m happy Long Tan got his goal. With a little bit of luck, he might have had two or three, but it wasn’t to be.”

Adu dropped in a corner kick onto Tan’s foot in the 63rd minute, which was his second assist of the season. It was Long Tan’s first goal for the Rowdies since 2010, having arrived on loan last week.

Indy’s goal was the result of a contentious free-kick decision. Dane Richards took a shot on goal and went down from contact after the shot was off his foot. A free kick was awarded on the line of the 18-yard box. Erick Norales took the free kick, but it didn’t pass the wall. On the rebound, Frias tried a shot from about 28 yards out from goal that took at least one deflection before passing the wrong-footed Pickens.

Up next, the Rowdies travel to play Minnesota United FC on Saturday night in another crucial game in the race for the playoffs. Tampa Bay then returns home to host league-leading Ottawa Fury FC on Saturday, October 10.

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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