Photo courtesy Matt May / Tampa Bay Rowdies
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – The Tampa Bay Rowdies fell 1-0 to the Philadelphia Union on Saturday night on the opening night of the 2017 Suncoast Invitational as former Bethlehem Steel FC midfielder Derrick Jones scored the only goal at Al Lang Stadium.
The goal arrived with 13 minutes to go as Jones, who was the first signing in Steel FC history before signing an MLS Homegrown contract with the Union midway through last season, broke through the Rowdies’ offside trap on a deft pass by Chris Pontius, rounded the goalkeeper and finished into the open net.
Tampa Bay had a late chance to equalize, but Alex Morrell’s chipped finish was palmed over by Union goalkeeper Andre Blake to preserve the win.
The Union had the better the early exchanges thanks to midfielder Haris Medunjanin, whose creativity made openings in the opening 15 minutes. One of those fell to Jones, only for his shot from 20 yards to fly high. The Rowdies also had chances to use their speed, and almost took the lead in the 20th minute when Darwin Jones’ low cross just failed to connect with former Union player Leo Fernandes.
The second half saw fewer clear chances, but after Pontius forced a save from Rowdies trialist goalkeeper Akira Fitzgerald with 20 minutes to go, Jones struck to give the visitors the advantage. The Union also saw young Academy standout Anthony Fontana force a save from Fitzgerald with 10 minutes to go, but the Rowdies were unable to find an equalizer as Philadelphia claimed a preseason victory against them for a second successive year.
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – The Montreal Impact got the better of a six-goal thriller against D.C. United as goals by Dominic Oduro, Ignacio Piatti and Matteo Mancuso earned a 4-2 win at the 2017 Suncoast Invitational at Al Lang Stadium.
Coming off a tough midweek outing against the Chicago Fire on Wednesday, the Impact quickly grabbed the lead as Oduro opened the scoring in the sixth minute. D.C. hit back eight minutes later through Steven Birnbaum, who rose above his marker to head home a corner kick.
Montreal regained the lead for good in the 21st minute from the penalty spot, however, as a sweeping move upfield after an appeal for a spot kick by United was turned down saw Mancuso be brought down by D.C. goalkeeper Travis Worra. Piatti converted from the spot, and the Impact took the lead to the halftime break.
Eight minutes into the second half Mancosu made it 3-1 as he took advantage of a defensive mistake by United, but three minutes later D.C. pulled a goal back as Patrick Nyarko deflected home a shot by Jared Jeffrey. Montreal wrapped up the win in stoppage time, though, as Anthony Jackson-Hamel – who led FC Montreal with nine goals a season ago – fired home from inside the penalty area.