Rowdies Salvage a Tie in Home Opener
By Carl Wagenfohr
Saturday's decisive moment: Rowdies midfielder Stanley Nyazambe (white uniform) is fouled by Austin's Joey Worthen in the penalty area. The subsequent penalty kick was scored by Jeremy Christie.
TAMPA - It's been nine years since the Tampa Bay area has had a professional soccer team to cheer for. The long drought ended last Saturday when a sellout crowd of 8,082 welcomed FC Tampa Bay Rowdies at their home season opener against the Austin Aztex at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa.
Rowdies forward Aaron King opened the scoring on a penalty kick after midfielder Long Tan was fouled in the Austin Aztex penalty area.
Austin tied the score on a free kick by Eddie Johnson from 25 yards out, and took the lead on a penalty kick by Jamie Watson after Rowdies defender Rob Valentino was red carded for a hand-ball in a goal mouth scramble.
Playing a man down in the closing minutes, Nyazambe raced down the right side and was taken down in the penalty area. Christie scored the third penalty kick of the game, tying the score at 2 and salvaging a point in the standings and sending the crowd home satisfied.
The Rowdies now head on a three-game road trip to take on the Carolina Railhawks, Austin and AC St. Louis over the next two weeks. The Rowdies next home game is on May 27th against NSC Minnesota followed by a home contest against Puerto Rico on May 29th.
Visit wagenfohr.com/20100508_vsaztex for a photo gallery of the Rowdies home opener.
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