ST PETERSBURG, Florida (Saturday, May 6) – Phoenix Rising FC fell, 2-0, on the road at Al Lang Stadium this afternoon.
The team is back in action at home at 38th St/Washington next Saturday, May 13 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets for that match are still available here or by calling 623-594-9606.
Tampa Bay took a 1-0 lead in the 10th minute when a one-two pass between Yann Ekra and Ryan Spalding on the left flank opened the door for the Rowdies attack. Former Rising forward JJ Willams took advantage of the opportunity, making a run down the center of the area, where Spalding found him with a perfect cross in the middle of the six-yard box. Williams slammed a headed shot into the far side-netting to give the home side an early advantage.
Rising regained it composure around the 20th minute, earning a corner kick and a second-chance opportunity that Kevon Lambert nearly converted. A few minutes later Renzo Zambrano found Erickson Gallardo with a slick through ball. The Venezuelan connection led to a chance for Eddie Munjoma at the back post, but the Texan could not keep his first-touch attempt on frame due to a sliding challenge from a Rowdies defender.
Charlie Dennis gave Tampa a 2-0 lead just before halftime with a perfectly placed free kick from the top of the box. The Rowdies midfielder chipped a left-footed curler up-and-around the wall. The bending ball tucked neatly into the top corner of the goal, giving Phoenix goalkeeper Rocco Rios Novo no chance to make a save on the play.
Novo made a pair of high-quality saves to begin the second half, keeping hope alive for Rising, but a red card issued to Jackson Conway in the 78th minute made any comeback an uphill battle for the visitors, who dropped its first league match since March 19, 2-0, to the Rowdies.
TB – JJ Williams (Ryan Spalding) 10
PHX – Charlie Dennis 45+1
PHX – Jackson Conway (ejection) 78
Phoenix Rising FC – Rocco Rios Novo, Daniel Krutzen, Kevon Lambert, Mo Traore (Eddie Munjoma 21), Jose Andres Hernandez, Erickson Gallardo (Danny Trejo 46), Renzo Zambrano, Carlos Anguiano (Jackson Conway 76), Carlos Harvey, Manuel Arteaga, Fede Varela (Baboucarr Njie 60).
Substitutes Not Used: Patrick Rakovsky, Darnell King, Alejandro Fuenmayor.
Tampa Bay Rowdies – Connor Sparrow, Conner Antley, Freddy Kleeman, Forrest Lasso, Aaron Guillén, Jordan Doherty, Dayonn Harris (Sebastian Dalgaard 74), Yann Ekra, Charlie Dennis (Cal Jennings 86), Ryan Spaulding, JJ Williams (Felix Schröter 90+3).
Substitutes Not Used: Philip Breno, Tate Johnson, Ariel Martínez, Lucky Mkosana.