ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Matt Horth scored his ninth goal of the season in a 1-1 draw against the Tampa Bay Rowdies on a cool Saturday night at Al Lang Stadium.
Coming off a 2-0 road win over FC Edmonton, Silverbacks Head Coach Brian Haynes did little to change his lineup on Saturday. Grayson grad Eric Ati got his second start in goal with Shane Moroney and Lucas Paulini also staying in the starting 11.
The Rowdies came out attacking and earned multiple free kicks early on, but they weren't able to convert on any. In the 11th minute, Rowdies midfielder Mike Ambersley had the ball fall right to his feet from a corner kick but he sent his shot wide.
The tide started to turn in the Silverback's favor in the 16th minute when Danny Barrera sent in a strong cross that barely missed Rienaldo Navia’s head. Six minutes later, Barrera sent a beautiful free kick towards a streaking Horace James, but Jeff Attinella just punched it away from James’ head.
The Silverbacks finally got on the board in the 29th minute with a goal from Horth. The Rowdies' Eddie Ababio sent a weak back-pass that was picked up by Horth and chipped past Attinella to put the Silverbacks up 1-0.
The Silverbacks would continue putting on the pressure after the goal, with their best chance coming off a James blocked shot that almost bounced into an empty goal before the Rowdies cleared it at the last second.
In the 41st minute, the Rowdies would equalize thanks to a little bit of luck. Luke Mulholland sent in a good free kick that got headed off the top post. In the ensuing chaos, Takuya Yamada got a foot on the ball and a diving Ati couldn’t clear it off the line.
Both teams would create a few other chances before the half but would go in to the locker room tied 1-1.
The Rowdies came out strong in the second half, dominating the first 15 minutes, but Ati came up big multiple times to keep the score level. The Rowdies' best chance to take the lead came in the 58th minute when Ambersley found himself wide open at the top of the box but had his shot stopped by a diving Ati.
The Silverbacks started to come alive in the 61st minute when Barrera used some fancy footwork to get open at the top of the box but sent his shot high. Then in the 67th minute the Rowdies' Ababio was sent off after getting his second yellow card of the match for impeding Horth, who was on the counterattack.
Up a man, the Silverbacks started to push forward, nearly taking the lead after another great Barrera cross. The Silverbacks' best chance of the half came in the 79th minute when Pablo Cruz dribbled his way to the Rowdies' end line and sent in a great pass that just missed the foot of an outstretched Navia.
Down a man, the Rowdies worked hard to slow down the Silverbacks, but as time was ticking down, Barrera came up big again, getting off two quality shots in extra time, but he couldn’t not find the back of the net. The match would end in a 1-1 draw.