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Rowdies salvage late draw against rival New York Cosmos on Joe Cole’s goal

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Tampa Bay Rowdies head coach Stuart Campbell will admit that his team has far too many draws this season, and far too many of them have come in home games.

On a night like Saturday night, however, it’s not so bad.

The Rowdies came from behind to earn a 2-2 draw with the New York Cosmos Saturday night in a game they trailed 2-0 after 84 minutes. It was a nice salvaging of a point.

Keith Savage forced an own goal in the 84th minute, then Joe Cole scored on a penalty kick in extra time.

“It was a competitive game with two good teams playing with tenacity,” Cole said. “It was a great game for the fans to watch and we showed a lot of mettle, but I just feel like we’ve been on the wrong side of so many decisions. … We don’t seem to be getting any decisions, any breaks, and I don’t know why.”

Cole had a goal disallowed on a handball in the 57th minute, four minutes after the Cosmos took a 1-0 lead on a goal by Juan Arango. After that, Yasmani Duk made it 2-0 in the 67th minute, and the Rowdies seemed on their way to defeat.

But the Rowdies seem to play well against their old rivals, and this finish was a good one, too.

“I was really excited coming into the game,” Rowdies Head Coach Stuart Campbell said. “When the Rowdies and Cosmos clash, it’s a big, big event. There’s usually fireworks and there were definitely fireworks tonight, on and off the pitch.

“The fans kept the players going. They could’ve easily felt sorry for themselves 2-0 down against a good Cosmos team, but the atmosphere in the stadium tonight was probably the best I’ve ever known it. The fans were unbelievable. You guys lifted the whole stadium. Everybody’s got to take credit for that.”

Tampa Bay is on the road for two matches next week, visiting Rayo OKC on Wednesday and the Ottawa Fury FC on Saturday. The Rowdies will be without Campbell and Assistant Coach Raoul Voss in Oklahoma after both were dismissed from Saturday’s match.

The Rowdies will be home again Saturday, August 6 to host the Fort Lauderdale Strikers.

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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