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Rowdies lose second preseason game after disappointing start

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Repeat this to yourself. It doesn’t matter.

It is preseason. Practice. Glorified drill work. It doesn’t matter that the Rowdies haven’t won, or that they haven’t scored, in two games.

Relax. Calm down. Take a deep breath.

All is not lost.

Sure, it’s easy to be disappointed in the Tampa Bay Rowdies’ 2-0 defeat at the hands of the Philadelphia Union, the ninth place team out of 10 in the MLS’ Eastern Division last year. Frankly, coach Stuart Campbell wasn’t thrilled with the game, either. The team was far too  robotic in the first half, and it didn’t take advantage of chances in the second.

Ah, but again, it’s only preseason. Just that.

“I was very disappointed in the first half performance,” Campbell said. “We were better the second half, but I was very disappointed in the way we started the game. There was just a lack of play. We were very direct for some reason. We hit too many long balls, which resulted in easy giveaways against a good MLS team. They’ll punish you at the speed at which they move the ball, and that’s what they did.”

If you add in the first week’s 1-0 loss to D.C. United, the Rowdies have now played two games without scoring. Campbell is convinced, however, that his will be a good offense.

“Yeah, I am,” he said. “It’s still early. We had a couple of chances again tonight and we didn’t take them. It’s something we’re going to address.”

Again, in the rehearsal games, a coach is less disappointed in the final result than he is in the patches of sloppy play along the way.

“First, I hate losing, whether it’s a game or a five-on-five,” Campbell said. “But you have to step back and realize the result wasn’t the end-all and be-all. We had too many dribbles. In the second half, we were pretty good at moving the ball.”

The Rowdies try to get their first goal, and their first win, Saturday night against Montreal.


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

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