Rowdies Win 2 at Home
Photo by Carl Wagenfohr
TAMPA - Memorial Day weekend proved to be a successful one for the Tampa Bay Rowdies, who extended their unbeaten streak to seven games by winning back to back matches at home.
It only took six minutes for the Rowdies to get the scoring started in a 3-1 defeat of the NSC Minnesota Stars on Thursday night at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
Gordon Kljestan netted his second goal of the season only six minutes into the match with a superb finish. Long Tan put in another strong performance in the match, setting up Kljestan's goal and scoring one of his own later on in the match.
Tan had a hand in the second goal as well. It was his pass that put Rowdies striker Aaron Wheeler into the Stars' box. With the ball at his feet on the left side of the box, Stars goalkeeper Matthew Van Oekel brought down Wheeler. Van Oekel was disciplined with a yellow card for the tackle and the Rowdies were awarded a penalty kick.
The offense continued forward and made it a three-goal lead in the 26th minute. After playing a part in the first two goals, Tan finally scored one for himself. Coincidentally, the assist was credited to Kljestan, a reversal of the Rowdies' first goal.
The Rowdies faced the Puerto Rico Islanders on Saturday night, and emerged with a 2-1 win after dominating the match while enjoying a man advantage from the 37th minute.
It was Wheeler who got the scoring started just before halftime. Islanders midfielder Joseph Salem was shown a straight red card for an apparent stomp on Long Tan's ankle in the 36th minute. Shortly after that Graham Tatters sent in a cross from the left side that eventually found its way to the feet of Wheeler, who put it past Bill Gaudette and into the back of the net. The goal was Wheeler's fourth goal in five games, and he now leads the Rowdies in goals and points scored.
The decisive goal was an all-Aaron affair, as Rowdies forward Aaron King took a pass in the box from Aaron Wheeler and put the ball behind Islander's keeper Bill Gaudette in the 83rd minute.
With 18 points on the season, the Rowdies remain in second place overall in USSF D2, 2 points behind the Austin Aztex. The Rowdies next travel to Vancouver for a June 6 match against the Whitecaps before their next home game on June 12 versus the Montreal Impact.
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