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Tampa Bay Rowdies fight Indy 11 to 0-0 draw in season opener

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Good and frustrating.

That about sums it up.

Everything you want to know about the Tampa Bay Rowdies’ opener Saturday night was etched in the final 0-0 score. The goaltending was solid on those few occasions it needed to be. The defense was superb. Still, the Rowdies were unable to score, which led to bits of frustration for the Rowdies at the start.

Despite several chances, the Rowdies were unable to take advantage of a game in which it clearly had the upper hand. According to NASL.com, the Rowdies outshot the Indy 11 12-6 and had an 8-3 shot advantage inside the box. Still, the Rowdies were unable to convert its chances.

“I’m frustrated that we didn’t get three points, but overall there’s a lot more positives than negatives,” Tampa Bay Rowdies Head Coach Stuart Campbell said. “I think we moved the ball really well at times and at the end of it, a point is a point … The only thing — and it’s a big thing — is that we didn’t score. We didn’t turn the domination that we had in possession into goals.”

“We started slow in the first 15 minutes, but once we got a foothold in the game, I thought we dominated the first half. We created a couple of chances but didn’t take them and at halftime, I just asked them to start the second half how we finished the first, and I think we did.”

Besides the scoring chances, the Rowdies also had moments where it passed itself out of a goal opportunity by not being aggressive enough.

“We know that we’re capable of beating every team in this league at home,” goaltender Matt Pickens said. “It’s important that we start off on the right foot. We didn’t get (a win,) but we didn’t lose. … We can pick apart a lot of the game and find a lot of positives. We didn’t give up a lot of chances.”

The Rowdies play in Miami Saturday night before returning home the following week to play FC Edmonton.

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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