Their biggest victory of the season was not enough to catch the New York Cosmos Saturday night, but the Tampa Bay Rowdies nonetheless won a decisive victory over the Atlanta Silverbacks to conclude their spring season.
The Rowdies won 3-0, getting goals from Corey Hertzog, Martin Nunez and Georgi Hristov in the victory. Goaltender Matt Pickens recorded his third shutout of the year.
“We wanted to get into the break with a win,” Rowdies’ coach Thomas Rongen said. “Somewhere in the back of our minds, we talked if we could get to one, two, or three goals up and something happened in the (Cosmos) game, that would be great, but that was not our intent. Our intent was to get three points.”
That much, the Rowdies accomplished. Sure, catching New York would have been nice, but the Cosmos finished with a 3-3 draw against Jacksonville.
The Silverbacks came close to a goal in the 59th minute, hitting the crossbar. After that, however, the Rowdies ran away with it. Herzog scored after a nice pass from Darwin Espinal, who leaves today for the Honduras under-23 team.
Nunez scored on a free kick in the 75th minute for his third goal of the season, which ties him with Maicon Santos for the team lead.
Hristov concluded the scoring on a penalty kick in the 89th minute.
The Rowdies are now unbeaten at home and are on a seven-game unbeaten streak. Tampa Bay finished the spring season in second place, one point behind New York’s 20.
“We put ourselves in a good position going into the Fall Season,” Rongen said.
“We haven’t lost at home, which is great. We’ve got a tough place for teams to play at now. There are a lot of positives from this 10-game Spring Season.”
The Rowdies play Saturday, July 4 to open the Fall Season against the Silverbacks.