March 31, 2017 Toronto FC II USL--Tampa Bay Rowdies vs Toronto FC II recap alternate story (from

Three Things: Rowdies 4 - 0 Toronto FC II
By Rowdies Communications, 04/02/17, 9:00AM EDT 

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (April 2, 2017) — The Tampa Bay Rowdies climbed to the top 
of the United Soccer League’s Eastern Conference with an impressive 4-0 demolition 
of Toronto FC II on Saturday night at Al Lang.

Here’s a closer look at the result…

1. Goals, goals, goals
 Saturday night marked just the third time the Rowdies have scored four goals 
 in a competitive match since the start of the 2014 season. Tampa Bay’s most recent 
 four-goal outing was in a 4-1 win over the Fort Lauderdale Strikers in September 
 of last year. In that match, Georgi Hristov scored the Rowdies’ only Modern Era 
 hat trick.

Tampa Bay didn’t need a hat trick Saturday night with four different players all 
finding their way onto the scoresheet. Damion Lowe opened the scoring 
in the 12th minute, Hristov doubled it in the 20th and Joe Cole tallied just 
two minutes later.

Rowdies forward Deshorn Brown scored in the 70th minute, just four making after 
coming on in his Tampa Bay debut.

The win over Toronto FC II marked the Rowdies’ first 4-0 win since 2013.

2. To the top
It’s very early, but the Rowdies have already made their mark in the USL 
by climbing to the top of the Eastern Conference standings. Tampa Bay and Charleston 
are the two Eastern Conference teams to have played twice and won twice to open 
the year. The Rowdies claim the top spot via a +5 goal differential, compared 
to +3 for the Battery.

Of note, the Rowdies have also kept clean sheets in both of their first two matches, 
courtesy of a stifling defense which has required goalkeeper Akira Fitzgerald 
to make just two saves in two matches.

In an interview with the Tampa Bay Times prior to Saturday night’s win, Tampa Bay 
Head Coach Stuart Campbell said, “Right now teams look forward to coming here. 
The pitch is so nice, the surroundings. We want to turn that around. We want 
to make teams dread coming here."

The Rowdies may be starting to turn that corner now, having won their first two 
matches of the season for the first time in the Modern Era. This year also marks 
the first time the Rowdies have won each of their first two home matches. 
Tampa Bay will attempt to go 3-for-3 next weekend when it hosts Ottawa Fury FC 
in the final match of a three-game homestand.

3. Leo’s impact
You can’t help but feel sorry for Rowdies winger Leo Fernandes, who has been 
in two stellar performances but hasn’t scored or tallied an assist yet.

In the season opener on March 25, it was Fernandes’ dart into the box that drew 
the penalty converted by Georgi Hristov for the lone goal of the game.

Against TFC II last night, Fernandes was again impressive without finding a way 
onto the box score. He completed 84 percent of his passes, but managed just one 
shot on a night when nearly all of Tampa Bay’s attackers were clicking 
on all cylinders.

Below, see how effortless Fernandes looks as he races by multiple defenders 
to win the Rowdies a corner kick. Sooner or later, Fernandes will reap 
the rewards of his efforts.

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