The Spring season title was probably too much to ask, but their final game of the first half was still frustrating for the Tampa Bay Rowdies.
Tampa Bay, needing to win a 6-1 match, instead drew a 1-1 game with the Jacksonville Armada to leave it two points shy in the standings. The Rowdies had several chances but did not convert.
“I’m frustrated by the result,” Rowdies head coach Stuart Campbell said. “We created lots of opportunities. Their keeper made a couple of good saves and we had some bad finishes. I’m frustrated that we couldn’t get the win, especially for the fans who made the long trip up and didn’t stop supporting us for the full 90 minutes.”
Jacksonville scored first despite a man disadvantage. Junior Sandoval scored in the 52nd minute. Junior Burgos scored in the 84th minute to tie.
“It was a bizarre game,” Campbell said. “I almost felt like we were the home team because they were sitting so deep and defending. They were letting us have the ball and that’s where we have to capitalize on the couple of chances that we created.”
Jacksonville goalkeeper Miguel Gallardo made a diving save on an effort from Joe Cole in the 87th minute and watched a Burgos shot dribble just wide of the post in stoppage time. Deeper into stoppage time, Darnell King jumped onto a loose ball in the box, but his first-time effort sailed over the crossbar as the Rowdies settled for a point.
The Rowdies now move forward to Wednesday’s Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Fourth Round match against the Columbus Crew SC in Ohio in a few short days.
Tampa Bay opens the Fall Season against Jacksonville at home on July 2.