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Rowdies give new coach Stuart Campbell win over Cosmos

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There has been a lot for the Tampa Bay Rowdies to forget lately.

A long losing streak. The firing of a coach and general manager. Last place.

Finally, the Rowdies found something to remember Saturday night.

The Rowdies upset a strong New York Cosmos team, 2-0, on Saturday night, giving new coach Stuart Campbell his first victory in America. Campbell, an Englishman, won as interim manager of Bristol in his native country before joining the Rowdies four years ago.

Tampa Bay celebrated its 40th anniversary during the game.

Tampa Bay has rediscovered a level of energy under Stuart, coming from behind in the closing minutes to earn a draw with Edmonton last week. In three weeks, the Rowdies have played the top three teams in the league.

The win allowed the Rowdies to pass Fort Lauderdale and move into fourth place in the NASL Combined Standings. The Rowdies are now three points ahead of Fort Lauderdale with nine matches remaining.

It’s a very tough game because New York came in on a great run of form and they’re a great team with great players,” Campbell said. “We worked hard this week in training and the players have done everything the coaching staff has asked of them. They brought that onto the pitch tonight.”

The Rowdies got goals by Corey Hertzog (40th minute) and Darwin Espinal (76th minute) to lead to their win. The Rowdies did not convert other scoring opportunities.

I’d have been a bit more relaxed on the bench (if we had converted a couple more chances),” Campbell said. “The Cosmos just keep going and they’ve scored so many late goals to get numerous points late on. 2-0 is a tricky scoreline and we kept creating chances, but couldn’t get the third goal. We’d have taken 2-0 before the game.”

The Rowdies travel to FC Edmonton next week.

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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