Photo courtesy FC Cincinnati
CINCINNATI – FC Cincinnati and the Tampa Bay Rowdies played to a 1-1 draw in the USL Game of the Week in front of 15,227 fans at Nippert Stadium as the hosts hit back late in the first half after Tampa Bay’s early goal. The Rowdies settled well, and took the lead in the seventh minute after forcing a turnover in the FCC half when Marcel Schäfer blasted home his first goal from the club from 35 yards into the right corner. FCC almost took advantage of a Tampa Bay turnover in the 20th minute, only for Rowdies goalkeeper Matt Pickens to come off his line quickly to deny Jimmy McLaughlin at the edge of the penalty area, but the hosts leveled nine minutes before halftime as Harrison Delbridge headed home a corner from the left. Cincinnati almost took the lead in the 64th minute when Matt Bahner slid in substitute Daryl Fordyce, only for Pickens to save low, while Kenney Walker just curled an effort wide for the hosts from a free kick 30 yards out with 19 minutes to go. FCC was reduced to 10 men with 15 minutes to go when Kadeem Dacres was sent off for a dangerous challenge on Tampa Bay’s Deshorn Brown.
7’ – TBR – Marcel Schäfer (Justin Chavez)
36’ – CIN – Harrison Delbridge (Kenney Walker)
Three Things That Matter:
1. After its loss against Louisville on Saturday, Tampa Bay will have been happy to take a point from its second game in a tough two-game trip, and Marcel Schäfer’s goal to put the side ahead in the early going was another spectacular strike to add to the list we’ve already seen over the first month of the USL season. The Rowdies were forced to fight back after conceding not only an equalizer on a good header by Harrison Delbridge, but also strong pressure from the hosts early in the second half, but Schäfer’s influence as a holding midfielder came through as the pivot for the Rowdies to stem the flow in the second half.
2. Going up against the USL’s leading scorer Djiby Fall, the Tampa Bay center back pairing of Damion Lowe and Neill Collins did excellent work throughout the night to keep the FC Cincinnati forward in check. Fall recorded only one touch in the Rowdies’ penalty area over the course of the contest as Lowe in particular shadowed him well, and both defenders were consistently the first to the threats posed by Kadeem Dacres and Jimmy McLaughlin from the flanks to cut out the Senegalese striker’s supply as well.
3. It was only the second meeting between FC Cincinnati and the Rowdies, but with the rising tension between the two USL Eastern Conference rivals throughout the match it felt like a matchup that had a far bigger history than just the meeting in last season’s Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. With Wednesday night’s game ending all square, the anticipation for the second meeting of the season between these clubs on July 6 on ESPNU is going to be elevated at what will be a key juncture of the season.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Marcel Schäfer, Tampa Bay Rowdies – Schäfer not only scored a spectacular goal to give the Rowdies an early lead, but also completed 93 percent of his 43 passes in the game to help Tampa Bay balance the possession in the second half to earn a point on the road.
FC Cincinnati vs. Louisville City FC – April 22, 7 p.m. ET, Nippert Stadium
Tampa Bay Rowdies vs. Charleston Battery – April 22, 7:30 p.m. ET, Al Lang Stadium