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Rowdies sharp, battle Montreal Impact to scoreless draw

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Once again, they were scoreless.

But for the Tampa Bay Rowdies, this was better than nothing.

The Rowdies played Montreal, one of the best teams in the MLS, to a scoreless draw Saturday night. And while it was their third straight scoreless game – more than 270 minutes in a row – coach Stuart Campbell saw it as a momentum builder. And a case can be made that in preseason, momentum can be as important as winning.

“We played well,” said Campbell. “From last week, we looked to make an improvement and we did. We had a good start to the game. We were playing one of the best teams in the MLS. For me, I thought it was a terrific game of soccer. I enjoyed watching it. Goals will come.”

If nothing else, Saturday night was the most complete game the Rowdies have played. They had slow starts in a 1-0 loss to D.C. United and a 2-0 loss to the Philadelphia Union.

“It was a good result for us,” said midfielder Frankie Sanfilippo. “This is how you play soccer. Before, we had one good half, one bad. Yes, it’s a tie. But it’s a good result for us. We had a good week of training.”

Forward Tommy Heinemann agreed.

“Under the circumstances, it was good,” he said. “We just have to work on that final third. It takes time. You can’t just throw 11 guys out there and expect magic to happen. But if you know the game and saw tonight, you saw that our flow is better.”

The Rowdies play Friday against USF, then travel to England to continue their training. They open their season on April 2 against Indy.

“I’ve been happy with the attacking players,” Campbell said. “We’re creating chances against good teams and the goals will come.”

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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