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Rowdies drill Silverbacks, finish in second

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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.

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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